Look what came in the mail today. My very own Bosworth Moosie!

Fotor Moosie 3 smMoosies are something special in the world of spindles. The whorl is turned from moose antler. In Jonathan Bosworth’s hands this becomes the heart of an incredibly well-spinning spindle. If you don’t know about the Bosworths and their spindles, take a look at the flickr group. People have posted some great pictures of Moosies, in particular. I chose a  Bocote wood shaft for my Moosie, and it is absolutely perfect.

And if the arrival of the Moosie wasn’t enough excitement for one day, there was Baylor football. I finished the raglan increases on my Adele’s Legacy sweater while the Baylor Bears took Oklahoma to school. Go Bears!!

Fotor Baylor Game

And in the news . . . I came across an interesting article this week that addresses what I talked about in this post—the way we can be moved to action by the hardship of one person yet become more and more detached as the numbers of affected people increase. We see so much—online, on TV, through travel. The world is small. But it’s also huge. I’m constantly trying to figure out how to get my mind around both sides of this.

The article I read this week refers to a study that looks at why we begin to disengage when we are confronted with tragedy on a large scale. The researchers believe that something in the way our brains work demotivates us from trying to help anyone in the face of not being able to help everyone. They believe that the two things are related and that our brains push us to action when it’s a matter of responding to one single person or one out of a small number but that we are wired to pull back when we’re confronted with the idea of helping one out of 10,000. We are motivated by what they call “perceived efficacy.” There are so many—what difference will doing one small thing make? They point out that this is “nonrational”—it doesn’t make sense to refuse to help someone we can help because others are out of reach. But over and over again, it’s what we do.

My thought had been that we help those closest to us as opposed to the masses of people far away because of some kind evolutionary holdover connected to defending the home cave. This research puts a different spin on things, though. Doing nothing because we know we can’t do it all says individuals don’t matter. Not a world I want to live in. Some little person will wear the sweater I am knitting today, and that will matter. Take that, reptile brain!




  1. Do you think that the same theory would apply to voter apathy? I am drawn to the connection since we just had our mid-term elections and so many people don’t vote, saying “it doesn’t matter, what’s one vote?” I wonder if this all sides of the same coin. Thanks for turning me on to the Bosworths, by the way. Now I have wheel lust again. <3

    • melinda

      That’s very interesting, and I do see a connection there. If this study is right, the idea of “perceived efficacy” is hardwired into our brains and is something it takes a conscious effort to overcome. The researchers propose a few different things that humanitarian relief organizations might do to help prompt people to action in the face of large scale disasters. They mention things like featuring individual stories alongside the big picture information to trigger people to think more deeply before just turning away. Perhaps some of the strategies they suggest would be worth a try with voters as well.

      I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to check out the study or not, but I find it interesting that the authors include a kind of postscript in which they apply their findings to the way the U.S. government and the United Nations have responded to the situation in Syria so far. Fascinating stuff.

      RE: the Bosworths, you’re welcome. 😉

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