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In the wake of the holocaust, Hannah Arendt used the phrase "the banality of evil" to describe the tendency of ordinary people to obey orders and conform to mass opinion. These "terribly and terrifyingly normal" individual actions make up atrocities

Many have trouble communicating their experiences with fear and pain. Not only do we often lack the actual language to express what is going on, but we find barriers to communication at every turn -- barriers to empathy and being understood.


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Mira commented on Self-Administered Interviews

Great updates, Ann!

Hi Mel + Frank! What an interesting concept! Have you heard of Harvard's Project Implicit? This might seem unrelated, but I think there's a connection... They do research to measure the effect of our implicit biases towards certain people and social groups. Their sister site Project Implicit Mental Health measures the biases held by people with mental illness and the effect that treatment has on these biases. They have a tool called the Implicit Association Test.

The test can measure certain association that run under the surface of our conscious mind -- "thoughts that exist outside conscious awareness and conscious control." Check it out -- the research they do is scientifically rigorous and very interesting.

So, why is this relevant to your idea? They have found that people that associate themselves more with the word "death" than the word "life" are more likely to commit, or attempt to commit, suicide. This is not all that surprising. BUT, they found that the outcome of the test, predicted future suicidal behavior BETTER than the therapists's prediction, the patient's prediction, and past behavior.

Okay, so I'm finally connecting the dots... Just like the fact that children's drawings are known for honestly and transparently communicating their feelings and experiences of their situation, this test could be another great tool to understand what people are feeling beyond what they are willing to say. We could identify the strength of the association between a person's community and negative emotions (fear or violence) compared to positive associations (peace and happiness). This would be geared towards adults, and clearly not feasible for many situations, since these tests require a computer. But we could realistically have these tests set up at refugee camps or centers for displaced people.

Sorry for the long message! Just thought it was worth mentioning!


Mira commented on Self-Administered Interviews

It would be great if there was infrastructure to support turning this information into actionable data. Just like there are certain diseases that are "reportable" -- meaning all cases must be reported to the government for epidemiological tracking -- it would be great if we could have certain situations/issues, like sexual violence (just like in Joshua's Stop Mass Sexual Violence concept) or institutionalized discrimination or oppression, be reportable to an international agency like the UN.

I can see this working especially well in refugee camps or shelters for displaced people, where there might be existing networks to track the issues from certain regions or communities.

Turning information from these cards into data means that we might be able to see trends and identify red flags earlier.

To extend the illness/disease analogy, early detection is the next best thing to prevention :)

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Given you've been such an OpenIDEO champion, we'd love it if you might join our quest to walk millions of miles for wellness, together:

I love this! Will definitely download the app and start walking!

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