SOCIAL CONTACTS, OPPORTUNITY COST, AND THE 5BUCKSFORCATARACT CAMPAIGN

My Top Neural Dances – Codex purpureus Rossanensis and the Good Samaritan – Tonight, it’s either Quantum Mechanics or Soccer – And, Finally, here is why you should support the 5bucksforcataract Campaign

For a couple of year now, there has been 2 major ideas dancing all over my brain cells. I have thought about them so persistently that a failure to act on those neural dances will be quite sad. It turns out, the manner we think about ideas has a profound effect on us.

How to throw a party (specifically, the opulent ones on Friday nights)

The first idea is the psychology of social contacts, and I will try to summarize the idea in a sentence:

You will feel emotionally guilty to throw opulent parties in your downtown apartment any Friday night, when you are surrounded with thin-legs-fat-tummies-Kwashiorkor-ridden-neighbors. (Even if you happen to be Idi Amin)

Unfortunately such emotional guilt evaporates under the enormous heat of highly concentrated riches; in certain places, say Silicon Valley.

Matt Damon in his 2016 commencement speech at MIT intimated this: when we live relatively in (and surrounded by) comfort, we lose a lot of data – very, very important emotional data. We generally don’t give a damn about what is happening elsewhere (beyond the occasional commentaries in our sitting rooms, of course) no matter how many tragic news we listen to on CNN after work.

This is an apparent emotional energy flaw; it seems it’s the way we are wired, and as a matter of fact, almost inescapable. But this got me thinking: does this make the golden rule less sacrosanct – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?

And, of course, one of the greatest commandment our Lord Jesus gave: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). And fortunately for us the definition of the neighbor was not left open for too long, thanks to the documentations by the physician and first-rate-historian, Dr. Luke and, of course, the Good Samaritan himself – “Indeed enemies can prove to be neighbors and compassion has no boundaries”

Rossano_Gospel_GoodSamaritan
The 6th century Codex purpureus Rossanensis illustration of the Good Samaritan (Wikimedia Commons)

As Christians we believe the teachings of Jesus Christ (or at least we should), and since obedience is the sole manifestation of believe – At this point, friends, I began to have goosebumps.

Let’s switch gears.

My First Economics class in High School

Opportunity cost: I heard about opportunity cost in my very first Economics class in High School. And it’s applicability since that day struck me to the core. Everyone understands its practicality intuitively (at least to some extent), however having a name to grab any idea is not only endearing but can be very illuminating, such was the feeling I had.

An opportunity cost (as you might know) is the cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action – that is, asking the basic question what will I give up if I  take a particular action.

If I decide to play soccer tonight the opportunity cost (OP) that is, the value of the next-highest-valued alternative use, will be reading the book –The amazing story of quantum mechanics by James Kakalios. More explicitly, the OP will be the energy spent playing soccer plus the pleasure I forgo by not reading quantum mechanics.

Quantum_Machanics
My OP for Tonight’s Soccer Game

This simple example might have revealed how elusive opportunity cost can be and as such we can state without any exception:

                                              Behind every decision lies (at least) an OP.

Applying this to the question — how best do we give?

Peter Singer’s words are best: “if we can prevent something bad without sacrificing anything of comparable significance, we ought to do it”

Here is a very good example: According to the Guide Dogs of America, it cost approximately $42,000 or more, to supply one blind person with a guide dog. On the other hand, it could cost as low as a $100, to restore vision to a person blind with Cataract in developing countries. 100 bucks!

A back-of-the-envelope opportunity cost analysis, will leave you dumb-founded. Here are some OP in this case – the excitement of (at least) 420 cataract patients; the economic and the socio-psychological impact of reviving a blind patient in the context of one, the individual two, the family and lastly the community at large.

Friends, these costs are very huge!

This lead to the 5bucksforcataract campaign I launched on GoFundMe about 2 weeks ago (Link Here): With the idea of 2000 people crowdfunding the treatment of 100 cataract patients with just $5.

If our emotional energy has failed us, should reason and faith?

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2 thoughts on “SOCIAL CONTACTS, OPPORTUNITY COST, AND THE 5BUCKSFORCATARACT CAMPAIGN

  1. Bifarin M.T says:

    This proposed cataract surgery project can then be tagged ” My neighbor, myself ” making effort to put a smile on somebody’s face.

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