Reservations about the ice bucket challenge

Raising money and awareness for ALS by participating in the ice bucket challenge is all the rage. The meme of the moment.

The premise is simple. We donate in a public narcissistic self-flagellation and then challenge three people we want to see do the same through our congratulatory video broadcast disseminated through FB, Twitter, YouTube or otherwise.

On the surface it is fun. We see our friends, relatives, celebrities business and religious leaders all enduring discomfort to raise research money for a debilitating and down right scary disease . In the back of my mind I wonder if the increase in donations to ALS was more accidental rewards by making a public spectacle of ourselves than actual intent to support a cause via the mighty dollar. Regardless its working. Why care about the motives?

I will take a moment and clarify. I am not making a judgement one way or another on the challenge or those participating. I look at life a little differently than most and always ponder the why, examine the words (they matter) and stew in my juices reflecting whilst observing life.

Then I heard about this psychology dity from the No Agenda Show podcast. iTunes No Agenda Episode 646

Past good deeds can liberate individuals to engage in behaviors that are immoral, unethical, or otherwise problematic, behaviors that they would otherwise avoid for fear of feeling or appearing immoral.

http://wat1224.ucr.edu/Morality/Monin%202010%20Compass%20on%20Moral%20Licensing.pdf

It vaguely follows a belief I have held that no one is truly altruistic in their deeds. Rare is the person who acts without agenda. Without self interest. This paper takes it a step further and proposes our good deeds are merely providing us with the belief/comfort/right to do wrong in the future without guilt. We care more about appearance than actual deed. A slant on the proverb “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” possibly?

I do not know. When it comes to man, we are as bizarre and diverse as it comes. As soon as I think I understand, the more I learn I have no idea.

I donated. I did not do the ice bucket challenge. I am not calling anyone out. My motivation is simple. I just thought this was good cause to support to give myself something to feel good about. A morale boost, a self pat on the back and individual high five.

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