Friday, August 03, 2007

When confronted with the extraordinary

Why does it seem, that when confronted with the extraordinary, we choose to run and hide?
I heard a fantastical story on the BBC World News radio programme this morning. Someone is apparently dropping envelopes and packages of large amounts of money around Tokyo, Kobe and Kyoto - in bathrooms, public spaces, post boxes and from the sky. Included with the money is a note that asks the recipient to do "something good" with the money.
Instead, people are getting scared and turning the money in to the police. At first I thought this was a really fabulous social artwork (although a very expensive one). Others interviewed for the program suggested they thought it was maybe a gimmick for a new tv game show (which would be too bad). You can read the story here.
So why is it when confronted with an opportunity to take a great deal of money to 'do something good' people instead run scared and give it to the police? And what would happen in New York City? What would you do?
I am pretty sure I would in fact do something good with the money. But it would be also frivolous and fun. It wouldn't be donating to some organization or cause. Maybe I would buy lots of candy for a group of kids. Maybe I would just get a huge number of balloons and tie notes that say nice things and release them in the city. Or hire a band to march around Wall Street... I don't know but I think it would focus on bringing smiles to the faces of people.

No comments: