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Hope Quotient

I will hold a charity raffle for the unit naming rights, btw.
  [vote for,

I'm in favour of hope. It springs eternal, like a slinky on an escalator. But I'm also in favour of quantification of emotional responses, not just to allow for commoditisation and analysis of employees of multi-national conglomerates, but also to give a sound basis for online personality quizzes. Unfortunately, hope is extremely difficult to quantify. Well, until now.

Scientific rigour would ordinarily demand that a solid experimental proposal is drawn up and put into place. Here, though, it may be more sensible not to engineer the required experimental environment because for this quantification we need an ostensibly or actually abducted child.

By way of background, some months ago a girl of about 3 years of age was abducted from her bedroom while on holiday in mainland Europe. The girl's parents, understandably distraught, engaged in a Europe-wide publicity campaign in an effort to make the abductors' activities impossible, the idea being that if everyone recognised the abducted girl, she would be more likely to spotted by a member of the public. To this end, chain emails were generated, television appearances were made, popes were visited and, most importantly for our purposes, poster images of face of the unfortunate child were distributed, for caring souls to put up in the windows of their homes, shops, cars. These posters provide the means by which hope can be measured.

The process is simple, though perhaps time consuming: determine the date on which these posters were put up and then determine the date on which each of the caring souls went to their windows and, with heavy heart and eyes foggy with futile tears, carefully removed the picture from the glass, removed the blu-tak from the corners, not looking here, working by touch so as to avoid a glimpse of the child they have abandoned for dead, and rolled the poster up tightly and placed it gently, almost reverently, in the recycling bin, atop newspapers, cardboard tubes, junk mail. The time lapse between this initial act of hope-filled assistance and the grave withdrawal of support gives each person's hope quotient and, when all the data is collated and adjusted for the no-hope knee-jerk "she's dead" pessimists who never tried to help, you will have a means of calculating a mean or average hope quotient, against which you can measure, by means of handy online quizzes, yourself and others.

calum, Aug 17 2007

Missing white woman syndrome http://en.wikipedia...hite_woman_syndrome
[calum, Aug 17 2007]

slinky + escalator = Infinite Fun http://www.threadle...r_Infinite_Fun#zoom
threadless t-shirt. [jutta, Jul 30 2008]


       //like a slinky on an escalator// - isn't that simile reserved for "futility"? (by the International Metaphor and Simile Standardisation Organisation)
hippo, Aug 17 2007

       That depends on what you consider the purpose of the slinky to be: its movement to the destination, or its movement irrespective of destination. It's a quandry.
calum, Aug 17 2007

       Hmmm - Zen slinky.
hippo, Aug 17 2007

       if I weren't so lazy, I'd post a moebius slinky
po, Aug 17 2007

       but you are, so you won't
hippo, Aug 17 2007

       Was there a reason why you didn't link to the story?   

       hippo, hmmm - I might now!
po, Aug 17 2007

       [po], the reason I didn't link to the story is because I am not so much interested in the facts of the story than I am the dates of the up-putting and down-taking of the posters.   

       [Anathema Device], there is no rant here. I'm not angry or owt, like. I just had the thought as I walked my unchanging route to work this morning and saw that one ground floor flat dweller had taken down his or her poster, apparently having given up hope long after many other individuals and businesses.
calum, Aug 17 2007

       The problem I see here is untangling a concept like 'hope' from an event like 'happening to catch the eye of the media on a slow news week'.   

       Personally, I feel the joy of the slinky is more in the travelling than arriving, so a slinky on an elevator would be much more joyful than hopeful - pleasure present, rather than pleasure deferred. "As happy as a slinky on an elevator" would be a much more appropriate simile, imho.
moomintroll, Aug 17 2007

       I understood that [calum], I was curious how it affected your theory or quantification.
po, Aug 17 2007

       [moom], he said 'escalator.' it makes a pretty significant difference in mental image, i think, to exchange an 'escalator' for an 'elevator' in this context.   

       slinkies aside, why are we measuring only on lost children? why not on the lottery as well?
k_sra, Aug 17 2007

       [po], well it'd didn't affect it as such. It merely inspired it. I'm also keen for this not to come up on searches relating to the missing girl, as the idea is not *about* the girl in any way - I didn't want the wider internet jumping to the conclusions about my motivations that I knew the good people here wouldn't.   

       [k_sra], because some people don't hope to win the lottery but everyone wants little white girls to be home safe. >link< It's a question of amplification: once the data is gathered, it can be adjusted on a per-circumstance basis but only hope for missing white girls manifests itself in physical (and therefore easily measurable) ways.
calum, Aug 17 2007

       //This is something of a rant, however well-meant.// [Anathema Device] off topic... Bakery newbie observation - hmmm?
xenzag, Aug 17 2007

       nah, you're not a noobie, AD.
po, Aug 17 2007

       Your light is shining brightly.
xenzag, Aug 17 2007

       we have a miners trapped in a mine story. The number of days, or hours it seems is the variable in this er...equation.   

       Add a few for media attention (as per calum's link) and then you should divide by the number of current media covered suspense filled crises...   

       This is a very cynical approach to current events. is it not, calum?
dentworth, Aug 17 2007


       "like a slinky on an escalator"
nuclear hobo, Aug 19 2007

       There is a smart part in the whole strategy, the indirect measuring of anything -'hope' in this case.   

       Anyway, as people develop newer research strategies, they realize old methods stand because there is a reason behind them to stand alone.   

       Stastistical 'outliers' should be taken into (or out of) account. Namely, addiction behaviours, manias, etc. You wouldn't apply 'hope' to someone's scribblings on his diary about themselves being hunted by aliens, would you?   

       Anyway, you also pointed out an interesting 'frustration resistance' method already in use by employers worldwide. Scientific work, counter/booth/person-to-person based jobs, and a limited list of tasks cause more incidence of the 'burn-out' syndrome than some other jobs, on average. This is true for physicians and health care employees in general instance. So, if it's hard to measure 'hope', maybe statistics could help calculating 'frustration' = 1-'hope' difference. The same limitations apply to it, but measurability would be wider. (Even subjective 'mood' measurements like 'I feel better' or 'I felt I was let down' anwers, which physicians get from depressed patients all the time, would be valid on a qualitative scale.) Take an example: suicide would add to frustration counter, whereas recovery from depression would diminish that very counter. As I mentioned, there are plenty of social inquiries about that, featuring not-so-naïve questions like: -Are you stressed on a daily basis? -Do you keep practising your hobbies regardless of your unemployment/employment conditions? -Are you happy (is your self-esteem low, so-so, or high)? For qualitative scales to be trusted, here goes an example on chronic pain. (cut-off 0-4 nuisances) 5-6 -> more than usual 7 -> very painful 8 -> can't keep my lifestyle because of this pain 9 -> almost unbearable! Gimme the most powerful painkiller you've got! 10 -> Over-dose me with morphine right away!!!
mayihave, Aug 19 2007

       [dentworth], I don't feel it's a cynical view, no. Narrow, perhaps: my efforts to focus on a single manifestation of this sorry tale, to render numeric the feelings of many necessarily meant that the wider and more nuanced picture had to be discarded, and the way I phrased my idea lacked a seemly amount of grace. Still, for what it's worth, I think she's dead but I don't mock or scorn those who hope harder or longer.   

       //It seems to start as an emotion yet reduce into an equation over time: 'have I given enough hope to this?//
Do you think so, [Anathema Device]? I think (without any great understanding of the human race in general) that the loss of hope is a purely emotional response - a collapse under the weight of detached reasoning, rather than the cold, conscious analysis you describe. Maybe I'm still a romantic at heart.
calum, Aug 19 2007

       Or it could be that we are just as shocked but also aware that anything we give gets diverted to other places and so we don't give.
jhomrighaus, Aug 19 2007

       Not giving a response or giving a low-threshold response is a response, too. So, instead of hope, which is not often thought of, what we actually do is, well, we live: that means we are exposed to stimuli, and, the phenomenon of a diminished response for a constant stimulus is called 'tolerance' or 'habituation'.   

       In fact, some people DO believe there is an eternal life after our mortal life, so they are in 'HOPE of deliverance'... So to speak, they accept frustrations during their lives because / for the sake of a 'better day' which might -or might not- come to pass. Actually, they have developed a high level of tolerance to frustration. The more you think about this, the more you realize how important psychological processes are, and the way they outline our behaviours. Thanks for keeping on annotating.
mayihave, Aug 22 2007


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