Last month, Ben Hale (Colorado) published an article in Slate, “The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola,” that emphasized how the disease piggybacks on human impulse to physically express care and affection for the sick and dying. Inspired by this article, Karin Tamerius, M.D., created a A Day Without Touch, a fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to help them combat the spread of Ebola. Tamerius writes:
I decided to create the A Day Without Touch Challenge after reading a Slate essay in which philosopher Benjamin Hale argues that the most terrifying thing about Ebola isn’t its virulence or morbidity, but the way it “parasitizes” our humanity by preying on our most human impulses to touch and care for one another. Put simply, the piece changed the way I think about the epidemic. Now, whenever I cuddle my boys, hug Bob, or just pat a friend on the back, I am reminded of the devastating effect the disease is having in West Africa. The idea of losing the ability to touch and be touched has made the humanitarian crisis real for me in a way it never was when all I had were statistics.
Today is the official launch of A Day Without Touch. You can go to the site and make a donation, create a fundraising page of your own if you wish, and read updates from Tamerius as she chronicles her own “day without touch.”
M.A.D. Philosophy is an occasional series here at Daily Nous that highlights philosophical work that Makes A Difference to what is going on in the so-called “real world.” If you have a suggestion for this series (self-nominations are welcome), please send it along to [email protected] for a later installment.