This is the reason people literally couldn’t care less 81



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Right now there are hundreds of thousands of people living in appalling conditions in refugee camps. There are people being tortured, ethnic minorities being killed, children being used as weapons in a war they didn’t start.

Why is it that we can know about these horrible things but feel more appalled about a politician taking his family to Uluru on taxpayer money?

Well, scientists now say we may be hard-wired to care less about horrible things that happen overseas or in the distant past because getting all worked up about something you couldn’t change served no purpose in day-to-day survival for our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Research into seven different societies around the world found that people relax their moral standards when judging actions that happened long ago or far away. We also find it easier to condone wrong-doings committed by prominent leaders.

This troubling finding helps to explain why a blind eye is often turned to atrocities that occur abroad or are sanctioned by influential individuals, according to the study in the Royal Society journal Proceedings of the Royal Society

UCLA’s Daniel Fessler and colleagues looked at seven societies – two large scale and five small scale – from around the world. To test moral judgments, the scientists produced a series of scenarios where harm was caused – for example, a man battering his wife without provocation or a man cheating a stranger in a market transaction.

Participants were then asked to evaluate the action in terms of how good or bad it was, then they were asked to evaluate it in the event that it happened locally, that an authority figure said it was OK, or that the action took place a long time ago.

Findings showed an “overarching pattern” among all societies where people were more able to accept the wrongdoings committed in another place, in the past or under instruction. They call this “moral parochialism”.

The researchers theorise that the evolved mental mechanisms that lead to moral outrage were designed by natural selection for local settings – there aren’t many benefits for getting angry about things that have no local implications in a hunter-gatherer society, for example.

The authors say the findings could help explain why humans tend to turn a blind eye to atrocities taking place far away, and that this knowledge could be used to turn this around.

“The solution, it appears, is to send the message that, in the 21st century, when technology both allows for communication over vast distances and creates the potential for actions [such as climate change, nuclear war, etc] to affect us all, we are all one community. The mindset of our hunter-gatherer ancestors will not serve us well, and communication technology allows us to feel connected – we need to harness that for good.”

Would you like to see less “moral parochialism” and more caring about what happens to our fellow citizens? 


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  1. Distance seem to promote indifference but when those same people try by hook or crook to escape the the appalling and dangerous conditions to come here, we scream..GET OUT AND DON’T COME BACK. We need to become a more caring society, because if we don’t we will degenerate morally

    11 REPLY
    • Teaching them how to fish is a better solution.
      Would you be prepared to have 4 illiterate starving traumatised potentially violent people in your area. .?..home

    • I would agree with that Michelle, we can’t take them all but there are other ways we could help and yours is a good idea, I have refugees in my area, they are very quiet people, they are just trying to adjust and live their lives in a new country

    • Many are coming for the wrong reasons, if Australia was in the same mess as some of these places, I would stay and fight to fix the problem, not just run away and hope somebody else gives me a life!

    • Do you know what percentage are genuine , I am curious that this argument is brought up but I never hear what percentage of people are coming here for the wrong reasons. I am not trying to be argumentative…but I like to hear facts not anecdotal claims about refugees, because this I have met have been wonderful people

    • No idea Gale, I would like to think that many are genuine but I will be honest and admit I really don’t know but it is the genuine ones fleeing from oppression I think we need to help. I have met some wonderful people too who are grateful to be here

    • Thanks May and Libbi, I thought that the majority of refugees were genuine, I just get sick of hearing the old argument about the wrong reasons

    • I think that’s a bit of a myth about refugees wanting to live on welfare. I would want to see genuine proof of that before I believed it.

  2. I think it more likely to be that it seems unfixable. We have been trying to help them since I was a very young girl. With all the rich mining companies over there it’s hard to believe things just don’t seem to improve.

    1 REPLY
    • True Linda this has been this way since I was 13 I got involved with it back then Now 70 nothing changes

  3. The World needs to get its priorities right, suffering shouldn’t happen in this day . Rich get richer and poor get poorer

  4. Well yes we as individuals can not make a great difference because the problem has become so big. But a country like Nigeria has changed their trible thinking into more democratic thinking and is a thriving nation now………

  5. Birth control may help towards fixing – if that’s not in place then money will do nothing

    3 REPLY
    • Totally agree. I have been saying this for years. The women don’t have the right to deny the man so the just keep having poor little babies. Need to have an implant for birth control. But of course the Church and the do gooders would never agree to this so it goes on.

    • Totally agree Pauline, I have been saying for years that is the only thing that will make a difference.

    • My thoughts exactly… When you can’t look after or feed the children you have….Stop having them.

  6. They keep banging on about starving children in all these certain countrys,, they have invented items too help starvingchildren,, its called CONDOM & THE PILL get these people educated on sex it happens every else in the world,,, condoms don,t work on a broom handle,,,,,..

    3 REPLY
    • A lot of these countries a Catholic . The religion bans condoms and the pill. Maybe we need the Catholic Church to wake up.

    • Yes, the wrong people are breeding… The ones who can’t afford to look after their children……..& the stupid ones….

  7. I thought it was because of the Godless society we live in ? Bring back 10 Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer and stop persecuting the Christian Church who do great deeds of charity and aid.

    1 REPLY
    • I’m godless and I have more empathy and feeling for asylum seekers and refugees than most of my Christian friends.

  8. We, in the first world, have to learn to live simply, so others might simply live. However, we have become addicted to our affluent lifestyles, and we are unwilling to abandon affluence. The Abbott government has cut aid again.

    2 REPLY
    • But whose retirement plan does money hand outs fr other countries go to.. instead of helping refugees. These in camps r t real refugees not boat pple

  9. It’s all about control and input, locally in our community, our town, our state and our country we feel that we have a modicum of control and input as to how things are supposed to be, therefore we care………elsewhere is just that, somewhere else!

  10. 35 years ago I was appalled at the sight of starving children in Africa on TV and donated money to help. 35 years later and things are much worse and to my mind this is because the conditions that cause the famines and wars are still prevalent, BUT the populations are growing more and more. It becomes overwhelming – the number of starving children in the World – and people become complacent as there doesn’t seem to be any answer except population control and this will never happen.

    2 REPLY
    • Yes, thirty five years ago I did the same……. They need to stop breeding…..The whole world does…..

    • mike here-said it before but 35 years is nothing, my mother was putting her spare pennies away for the starving kids in Africa way back when I was a pre-teen, I’m now 66. Agree with Michelle in the previous answer, give a man a fish & he eats tonight- teach a man to fish & he eats every night.

  11. Help those who help themselves-use our donations to help, not administer.

  12. Children have been starving in Africa for ever as well as India and they still keep breeding children to suffer the agony of starvation ,its not the rest of mankind that is at fault ,now they are coming to a house near you too ruin our lifestyles ,and idiots here want to double the intake to 40 plus thousand ,we cannot sustain that quantity or we will all start starving .

    7 REPLY
    • What is unsustainable is the lifestyles of the Western world, in particular the elite.

    • I worked as a cabinet maker and builder i am not the elite ,i aslo made kitchen as a business i would and did charge people by the lifestyle richer people i would charge a little more ,people who were poorer i would knock the bill down ,so me elite no ,40 thousand people a year would ruin this country without doubt ,you on the other hand might be rich enough to cop it.

    • I never said that you were the elite. I didn’t think for one moment you were. The Western world as a whole live very well, we have big houses , big cars, and big appetites for consumers goods. That is unsustainable.

    • Were suppised to go forwards not backwards and thats what we will be doing ,i agree that we create too much waste and my rubbish bins have less in them than 15 years ago ,we had two children part of witch was because you dont need five children ,you can teach them more of worldly things and my children have been all over the world

    • In my mind going forwards is not getting more stuff, it’s getting more knowledge.

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