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Jordan Reeves

TED-Ed Community Manager, TED Conferences


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What's one lesson you find super compelling?

If you could put a megaphone to the ears of the world for just 5 mintues, what's the one lesson you would teach. It doesn't have to be serious, but it can be. It doesn't have to be about math, science, literature, or history, but it can be. It just needs to capture the minds of your audience.


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    Apr 21 2012: Empathy is the single greatest strength of humanity.
    All else is a side-show.

    We need to know a little more about advantage - how much is actually necessary, and at which point personal advantage degrades humanity.
    • Apr 21 2012: Mitch, I just read an article about a study that shows those who have the greatest advantages are the least empathetic. I, too, wonder at which point personal advantage degrades humanity. When does personal advantage become a sense of entitlement, then superiority?
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        Apr 21 2012: Hi Donna, it appears that yes, they have the greatest advantage...........but appearances can be deceiving.

        In the long run, you reap what you sow.
        • Apr 21 2012: That saying, you reap what you sow, draws upon the belief that there is an after life, or a belief in Karma. Both of these beliefs, each of which are unproven, has created a degree of passivity within humanity to not hold accountable the people responsible for commiting inhumane acts. Imagine how much more proactive humanity would be in seeking to hold the inhumane to account if humanity believed this life that we live, on this planet we call home, was the only one we had. The time for leaving it to some unproven supernatural force must come to an end because the deterent doesn't work on psychopaths and we're letting them get away with unspeakable horrors because to many of the none-psychopathic masses still believe in the heaven/hell/karma of reward and punishment.
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          Apr 21 2012: Roxane Paczensky,

          You took my simple idea in my head and you completely expanded it. Thank you!

          I too agree with your idea, but I feel that it is true when they say "bad habits die hard". Does everyone have the ability to realize how this belief of after life or Karma is not a good excuse to let certain bad deeds go unpunished or has society not evolved in that direction to allow these ideas to be removed from social institutions?

          I too believe in a possibility of an after life or Karma, but I find it to have stuck with me.
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          Apr 21 2012: Roxane and Derek,
          The phrase..."you reap what you sow", can also describe what we do while here on this earth......can it not? I observe that energy flows through us as individuals, and as groups of individuals all the time. So, in that respect, the energy that we send out to others, often comes back to us, don't you think?

          I send out loving energy just because it's enjoyable, and I agree that the stories of heaven/hell have NOT seemed to work too well regarding people's behavior. I really like being HERE...NOW, and I prefer to spend my time in the moment, rather than worrying, or wondering about an after life, heaven/hell! Based on my experience here on earth, what I send out to people often comes back, and I believe that is simply the flow, or balance of energy.

          That being said, I agree Roxane that the phrase often sends the message of afterlife or karma, and we CAN change our perception of the meaning...can we not?

          I agree...change is sometimes difficult, and certain habits "die hard", as you insightfully say. I believe society HAS evolved in the direction of change. Just look at how much we are discussing this issue here on TED? We now have the technology to connect with one another, and I believe people are evolving to the point of wanting to think and feel for themselves. This may contribute to creating more accountability in our world?
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          Apr 22 2012: Oh Colleen,

          Your words are touching, and I believe you have pointed out the fact which was right in front of me. =)

        • Apr 22 2012: Agree @Colleen -
          Tho perhaps often connected to spiritual thoughts @Roxane, "reap what you sow" has clear applicability here and now in our daily lives - in our interactions with each other - its just the 'Law of the Farm'. Plant wheat in a field, and then try to harvest corn... :)

          Or to come full circle with @Mitch's original thread comment, I can't be apathetic about people around me, and then expect empathy when my challenges come.
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          Apr 23 2012: Derek and DW,
          The idea is right in front of ALL of us. Now the thing to do is for each and every one of us to act on it..."BE what we want to "SEE" in our world. What we focus on expands:>)
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        Apr 21 2012: Hi DOnna.

        YOu have to go back and back and back .. and realise that all true change is a great big majestic swing that the whole planet participates in.

        RIght now .. the planet is watching kenly to see if there is anything humanity can save of itself.

        We will decide for her.

        Our gift of empathy is very worthwhile - no other creature in our knowledge has expanded potential agency so far into reality.

        My intuition is that she (our planet) will allow a little window through for our gift, but all the game-players (sociopaths) and destroyers (psychopaths) just won't make it through.

        It's hard right now in this period of transition, but be of good faith - comfort is not our friend, games are for cheats, and teh balance will be imposed.

        We will need a margin of comfort - the measure is one-year of supply. THat supply is looking a little bit more than it was a few years ago - but the minimum advantage threshold is the absolute definition of the human.

        Don't look to the supermarkets .. me and my friends made sure there is only about 2 hours of supply in the chain.

        Don't live in a city - this is a place of game-players - who are just instants away from losing. They have no idea how vulnerable they are. Their skills will not be needed in a very short time.

        Empathy is all that the planet wants from us.

        Be honest, sharing, emapthetic and loving.

        Be ready for a lot of sadness.

        There is nothing wrong with sadness.

        Tears wash away all stains.
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        Apr 21 2012: Sorry Donna, I had to highjack your reply button to explain my comment to Roxan.

        @ Roxan...YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.....(I am not shouting....I'm just putting it in big letters hoping you visit the page again and see it.

        You reap what you sow is a life principle....not a death and afterlife principle.

        I was addressing Donna's comment on a study that people without empathy "appear" to get ahead. And I replied, that you reap what you sow. They may appear to get ahead....but not in the long run....the long run being next week, next month, next year, next job, next relationship, next decision...

        If someone lacks empathy, you cannot expect others to be empathetic to them. Here is another life principle at work.....you treat others as you would like them to treat you.

        If someone disrespects his employees, and degrades them and is condescending, he doesn't have to wait for the afterlife to reap what he has sown. In this life, he will sooner or later reap what he has sown.

        It's like a crooked mechanic. He might get away with his shinanegans for a while, but, eventually he'll lose his customers. His reputation will be damaged, and he might even get in trouble with the law......who knows, he might end up on the other side of a 20/20 hidden camera investigation.

        A farmer does not wait for the afterlife or karma to reap the fruits of his labor that he has sown. And we, do not need to wait for karma, afterlife, or any such things to realize that there are consequences for our lack of understanding, empathy and love towards our fellow human been.

        The time is now, not later.
        • Apr 22 2012: Heh - didn't see this comment @Mary. Would have made mine above unnecessary :)
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        Apr 23 2012: @Donna (et al)
        Here is a simple parable about empathy and advantage:

        Jim and Bob were 2 nomadic hunters looking for something to eat.
        Jim was crouched by a big rock.
        On the other side of the rock a rabbit also crouched nibbling grass.
        Jim could not sense the rabbit, the rabbit could not sense Jim.
        But a hundred meters away, Bob could see the rabbit, and could see Jim.
        Bob made teh symbolic guestures to Jim: "RAbbit : Rock : Other side"
        JIm received teh message and could now "see" the rabbit in his perception.
        He lunged over the rock and skewared the rabbit.
        Jim and Bob both ate that night. Their empathy had fed them both.
        AS they cooked, a woman was attracted by the delicious smell and came to the cooking fire.
        Jim and Bob shared the rabbit with her. And they each became aware of sexual desire .. and a potential rivalry.
        The next day, Jim was on station by the rock, and Bob was on watch 100 meters away.
        Bob signalled "Rabbit : Rock : other side".
        JIm responded by lunging over teh rock with his spear - but it was NOT a rabbit!! It was a bear!"
        JIm was shredded by the bear, and Bob returned to the campsite to mate with the woman.
        The next day, Bob went out alone and caught no rabbits. And teh next day .. nothing.
        The woman left his camp in search of a better provider. Bob became weaker and eventually starved.
        With empathy: Humans 1, Rabbits 0
        Without empathy: Humans 0, Bears 1
        Bob got sex, but it didn't do him much good in the end.
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      Apr 21 2012: I love your idea about the "advantage" subject. History is ripe with lessons - what happens when advantages are allowed to accumulate. When done right, such a talk could even help explain why our bodies have been programmed to self-destruct ... in order that we don't outcompete our offspring, and to give them a chance to do better than we did.
    • Apr 21 2012: I cams in to say a better understanding of emotions and feelings. Empathy is at the top of my list. I think putting lables and names to them helps to understand and creats a want to help and understand others.

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