Mitch SMith

This conversation is closed.

It all keeps getting better and better and better!

Since I joined the TED community to listen to the best thinkers on planet earth right now .. it has occured to me how lucky I am.

This is not the first time I have realised this .. I have observed my disproportional luck through every stage of my life .. what is this?

Sure, I have a certain amount of intelligence, but not so much more than anyone else.

Sure, I have had a lot of pain and sadness, but still - I am here. How could that be?

Look at this guy presenting 3 methods to relieve the world of the curse of malaria .. many people will recieve his blessing as if by magic.

http://www.ted.com/talks/bart_knols_cheese_dogs_and_pills_to_end_malaria.html
http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_mcdaniel_cheap_effective_shelter_for_disaster_relief.html
http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

Please share your experiences of almost metaphysical luck. I am sure I am not the only one.

Closing Statement from Mitch SMith

Many thanks all who have contributed!

You have helped me develop my understanding and appreciation of the inherently positive and hopeful energy underlying this life.

The speakers on TED are exemplary of this principle.

I had hope that more would share on thier own extraordinary experienecs, but this is probably more feflective of the way I framed ny question that the responses.

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    May 15 2012: I don't know that everything gets better and better, but I feel great joy when I see the energy and effort going into social action work, expressed on TED but also in places like OpenIDEO, as well as lots of innovative, interesting design work in the creative arts. What I think is key is not to let any one place become your only window into the world and never to lose sight of the fact that there are giant problems in our world, causing a lot of pain and suffering, that to those who are suffering do not feel like they are getting better and better.
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    May 15 2012: Mitch,

    Ted has begun to open my mind in ways I never knew my mind could "open". I see so many different speakers and commenters. The Ted community is my school away from school. I often find myself with head aches from having my brain constantly at full blast from all the amazing ideas floating around on ted. I think I have started to realize my personal identity through Ted. I also found that Ted consumes a lot of my leisure times as well as my time that I am supposed to be working, but I don't regret it. I am beginning to think more critically and a combination of things in my current life have opened up my mind. I am both in a lot of pleasure and in a lot of pain from having ideas race through my head. It is like the Tedx Speaker Elizabeth Gilbert: http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html
    These ideas just fly in and out then disappear from my mind. So disheartening at times, but more filter through after that other thought. I think my subconscious mind is beginning to surface more now as well. I am having things happen that have never happened before these past few months. This is both the good and the bad, but I want to associate these events with the Ted effect and your metaphysical luck working its magic. =)

    Thanks for reading my thoughts. =)
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      May 15 2012: Hi Derek,

      There is no doubt about it. Exposure to TED changes our brains. Things only seen in glimpses of intuition, and things that have puzzled me for years have begun to coalesce into an elegant wholeness. From this basis, i am better equiped to understand the world I live in and make more balanced decisions for myself and my community.
      By taking time to fully understand these speakers our brains are improved by the inherent plasticity .. it makes us more intelligent.
      The downside is the addictive affect. But is it adiction? Or is it the thirst of a seeking mind finally at the well of wisdom after crossing a desert of ignorance?
      I think there's a hidden danger in the contunuum of text communication. Text is a revisable comms medium that expresses an idealised autobiographical self (proxy). It can easily drift from reality if not grounded in regular face-to-face comms. However, The growth of the medium may have the power to shift social reality enough to overcome cynical mindsets .. and the fear of violence.
      For myself, I have found the need to balance online activity with physical work and direct social interaction.
      It helps to use TED as a reward after the necessary work of the day is done. It's a bit like swapping junk food for fresh fruit.
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        May 16 2012: Beautiful imagery there Mitch. The 'desert of ignorance' has felt way too long and this 'well of wisdom' is quenching my thirst. I will possibly build a town around this well and I am sure that I can count on this well to continue to flourish my town. This is the best oasis I have yet to find, and I think I am content with staying. =)
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          May 19 2012: Hey Derek - thanks for that link to Elisabeth Gilbert!

          That connects the dots a bit for me.
          In my early musical carreer, I did write some poems about the Muse .. Elisabeth's talk brought all that back to me after all these years, and now I understand why the notion of intellectual property is so repugnant to me.

          I wrote:
          I sit on high mountains,
          And in deep oceans,
          I wander valleys and rest in blue glaciers.
          I run in green jungles
          and talk to stars.

          I sit behind your eyes as life comes shining in
          and smile
          and smile
          and smile


          This reminder is very timely for me right now as I quest for my next creative step.
          I am so grateful you did this for me!

          This is the mystical luck I am talking about.
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        May 19 2012: Mitch,

        I am so happy I didn't assume you already watched this Tedx. Often times I think "everyone watched this Tedx....". LOL.

        I am happy to be to share pertinent information with a genius like yourself. =-)
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          May 19 2012: LOL!
          My Genius likes what you said - it's sitting in the corner smiling like a loon!

          I am reminded of Buchowski's poem "We the Artists".
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        May 20 2012: I couldn't find "We the Artists" the poem online....just found a short excerpt. Is it a long book of poems by any chance or do you have a site you could direct me to? =)
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    May 20 2012: Well Mitch, before we take such an initiative , we need to investigate the side effects of having such a medicine as we are very well aware due to different climatic conditions we are from, not everybody will respond to that pill the same way.
    We need to take our research on that or contact Mr Bart Knols on the same, meanwhile the cheese idea can be implemented . But we need to get this via the right channel so that it reaches out to the masses in the right manner.
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    May 19 2012: Dear Bharath & Mitch. Thanks for keeping this conversation going. Your kind words about my work are much appreciated. The 'magic pill' as you call it came up in my mind when I attended a lecture given by someone else. I have learnt that it is possible to be in constant 'out of the box' mode, by constantly looking at the world around you with your subject (in my case malaria) in mind. That is the key towards finding novel ways of tackling problems, whatever they are.

    Indeed it is true that you need to be passionate in order to succeed in this. But then I find that most people are passionate about something (even when they don't always show it), so this should bring about more creative solutions.

    The pill was presented for the first time during my TED talk, in the hope that it would trigger a response from pharma companies and/or foundations like the Gates Foundation, to explore the potential of this drug with my team. Although we had some enquiries, nothing big has come forward yet. Perhaps this is too out of the box for them...

    I would be thrilled if we could test this drug on a small scale someday, to really see its impact. But we have a long road to go, that will be costly. For now, I remain optimistic that we will succeed in this...
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      May 20 2012: Hi Bart,

      I understand where you are at - such things as the "magic pill" will undergo rigorous testing before the national authorities release it. That is far from easy, and often when these things come up for consideration, there will be some competitor lobbying to get the preference - and commercial advantage.

      What I will do is to start a petition on a local open-loby website to see if something can be done within the Australian federal health budget. Ross river fever is not as prevalent as malaria, but is still a big issue in the agricultural river economies of NSW and Victoria. I will have a think on this - some technical background info would help - along with some key arguments to present?
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    May 18 2012: Well Mitch,
    I don't know so much about Malaria. I have been a typhoid patient myself , and believe me I felt so close to death .When I was in a bed ridden state , I started to think how many typhoid patients (coming from poor family background) like me would have lost their battle with death and that when I decided to make TED as a platform to create more awareness.
    I have even planned more than 1 TED talks worth 6 to 10 minutes so that people don't close the TED talk window (even though its useful) simply because the society is so busy with other equally important stuff so that they don't spend too much time watching a 18 minute video (though I felt most of them are an eye opener video).
    As far as population control is concerned ,Lets take China for example .This country has developed so well and it is so systematic that it always makes me wonder whats lacking in my country(India) to be as good as china??
    I guess we need to be patient , strive towards our goals and never expect too much out of it
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      May 19 2012: But I am saying that we don't need to be passive and wait .. patient, yes, but there is an edge of confluence, mystical "luck" that overcomes our turpitude and allows us to move beyond, to teh next challenge?
      An impossible window - an improbable goal that is achieved against the odds .. the catch-22 that is overcome .. Bart Knolls is engaged in just that .. slaying old demons that once cowered us and made us turn away.
      I suspect that it is the passion that allows this magic, but .. well .. what do you think?
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        May 19 2012: Definetly Mitch,
        According to me,Passion and Patience go hand in hand . If one is passionate about his or her own work , patience is gonna come automatically .No wonder Bart Knolls was successful in discovering that magical pill ...
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          May 19 2012: Yes,

          For Bart, so far so good.

          We can enter in his passion and lobby our governments to bring his work on board and get some results on the ground - he still has more that needs to be done before this work fully comes to our world. And it takes no more than writing a note to your health minister.
          PAssion must be matched by action.

          THis thread is delivering a lot of insight to me - and I thank you and all who are contributing. And I am sharing it as it comes.

          Passion comes through us, but it is for others. To share passion is to be passionate.
          It takes only a few people united in passion to overcome anything.
          The flame of being. No one owns it - we burn together and are not consumed.
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    May 17 2012: There will always be challenges in the world; there will always be hardship born of unhealthy competition and selfishness; but we should contribute our bit to the provision of relief to those who are worst hit by misfortune, sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the sake of some other person's comfort at the expense of ours'.
    A little difference usually makes a difference.So if we do our best in love,it will get better;and will keep getting better.
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      May 19 2012: Many thanks Feyisayo.

      This is all well and good, I agree with some of it, not all. But are you not willing to answer my question?
      Are you apologising for not having a near mystical experience of luck?

      For instance, I was once in a hideous car accident and escaped it with barely a scratch, I cut into a live power cable (assuming it was turned off) and was presented with a shower of sparks that was quite pretty and burned a hole in the knife, but was not electrocuted, My heart failed through fribulation, I was dead 5 minutes and came back to life. I was questing to make a new carreer making flutes, I had no idea how to do that, and met, by chance, one of teh leading flute makers in the world in a country pub.

      Come on guys - have you not had magic like this?
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    May 17 2012: Well Mitch ,
    All I can say is life is our greatest teacher and the setbacks we face in our life are our biggest lessons . We need to believe in the simple law of nature and that is how like minded people automatically connect irrespective of the countries we come from .
    We got this amazing technology called Internet and we need to harness it the right way, connect to the right set of people and bring about a global reform in the most peaceful way .

    Cheers,
    Bharath
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      May 17 2012: Hi Bharath,

      I think we need to be a bit careful about the word "nature". and also "belief".
      Just lately, I have come to see belief as no more than a dynamic topological framework for sorting sensual data into survival related information - and that this information is no more than the object/causal landscape over which we cast Beyesian predictions to determine optimal survival outcomes. In other words: we believe whatever gets us what we need .. and perversely, what we want. And all that saves us from total self destruction is the capacity to empathise. In ither words a human is not a human - a human is nothing more than a part of a community - and it is the community that is selected, not the individual.

      LOL! No simple way to put that .. but the elements of it are almost too simple to say in words.

      I just watched Chomsky do a lecture about the evolution of language .. he took 2 hours, and I think he got it wrong.

      What the internet does is to accelerate social evolution - unfortunately, our biology is not well equiped .. and I will argue: has not been well equiped from the time that social evolotion became the new vector of selection 50 thousand years ago.

      When you say harness .. I think this cannot be done .. the internet, in its present form is a commons. This may change, but I hope that people are beginning to realise that all of community is a commons - we as individuals are just here for the ride, there is no harnessing that any individual can do. I argue that any harnessing done by an individual outside his/her primary minimum advantage at the expense of the community will de-select him/her from the gene pool over time if it is attempted to impose such harnessing on on the community.

      Just find a place to grab on as best you can and hang onto your hat.
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        May 17 2012: Well Mitch ,
        All I can say is its gonna take me ages to write a response something like that. You have understood things so much better than many of us might find it harder to explore .
        As human beings , we always have the habit of looking what is simple . So I guess we have for facebook and TED through which we can share a lot of our stories and find the most simple solutions to all problems in life . Lets go and explore with an open mind and things will obviously get Better and better and better !!! :)

        Cheers,
        Bharath
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          May 17 2012: TED does this to you after a while.

          But I think there's a danger in the 18-minute talk.

          Most of these speakers are presenting a small snapshot of thier life's work.
          In the comments, I see, time and again, posters who only see the speakers presentation style and can't get beyond it to the substance. I suppose there is value in that, but the art of discourse never leaves politics.

          But the act of reaching out often opens doors to understanding.

          For instance, the work of Bart Knols will have lasting impact on the quality of life for people in malaria-prone regions.
          But his work will be lost and forgotten if it is not given the crucial support he needs to get those discoveries implemented. So rather than just listen, we should write to our political representatives and get some funding and implementation programs going.

          But you have to do even more than that - you have to consider what malaria actually means. This disease has supressed humanity in parts of the world for a long long time. Releasing them would be a great thing, and on the other hand, thus released, they would change the global economic and political landscape. It also changes the philosophical landscape - diseases like malaria have kept human population down .. but now with over population, we have to balance our quality of life with quality of environment - this is almost equal to pure evil in the minds of some who see population regulation as "eugenics".
          You see, there is a big problem with having a neural network system as our primary cognitive organising system - neural nets tend to classify things as this or that with nothing in between. And our old villain Hitler associated population control with racism .. now everyone sees the subject as evil - not withstanding that almost everyone at the time thought the same stuff as Adolf.
          And then on the other hand (if you had 4 hands .. foot perhaps?) there are those who want to keep malarial districts supressed - a vulnerable victim.
          Balance
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    May 17 2012: But Mitch what about the good old days? Remember when the wars were real wars and you got to go whether you wanted to or not and an ingrown toe nail was potentially fatal? Today the worst thing the papers can come up with is mortgage stress. I would assume that if mortgage stress is your biggest worry that means you have plenty of food and clean water and you're not dying of some disease. But for some reason we don't like being told how good we've got it. People are strange! (When you're a stranger faces look ugly when you're alone)
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      May 17 2012: HI Peter - thanks for your observation!

      I agree - there is some kind of trade-off between personal existential comfort and magnitude of cumulative genetic risk.

      All I can say is that everyone, by now, are quietly getting themselves into positions of advantage that are not imidiately obvious. Some of these strategies will pan out, most won't. In this post, I am gently hinting to those who see what I see, some options. And perhaps get some criticisms that have mutual benefit in the long run.
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      May 17 2012: Yep,

      Nothing stands still. In my life all things are getting better.

      I might point out though that the task is one of balance.
      antibiotics, sewers, anesthetic, running water and soap have great benefits and improve our lives imensely, but all of them have diminished returns of over-done. The task is to keep the antibiotics effective and not produce multi resistant organisms, reclaim the nutients from our sewers that should be returned to the soil and not dumped as a toxin into the oceans, use anaesthetics judiciously, not as an answer to the necessary pain of life, conserve teh water that we so often thoughtlessly flush down the drain, and not destroy our skin antibody population through over washing.
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          May 17 2012: I have to admit my advantage in this conversation.

          Through personal experience I find that:

          Antibiotics have a recovery period that is not published openly - it takes about 6 months to re establish the propper biotic gut balance after a full course of antibiotics to control minor infections that the body would overcome in due time, with due dilligence from community.
          We are encouraged to go home and take pills so we can be back on the floor giving our work away to exploiters in the least time - at the expense of our own auto-immune system - that leads to greater personal discomfort in the long run.

          Sewars stopped the leakage of pathogens into the water table, and yet, we are ready to frac and mine deep into the water table - thus overcoming the advantage of sewars. ANd that in our early solution to water-table pollution, we throw away all our expelled nuitrient into an ocean that finds it toxic - instead of returning it into the soil. This makes it necessary to use more oil and bio-deposits to replace what we have taken - the return on that is now driving us into unknown dangers of GM - any of which could extinct us within a few years for lack of long term testing. The answer? STOP WASTING THE POO! arrr DERRRRRR!!??? how stupid are we?

          Running water - this is so obvious .. do you really need an education on the obvious?

          Aenaesthetics .. ask yourself - is the person who wakes up the same person who went to sleep? Ask some aenesthetists .. get enlightenned. Aenesthetic is a process of drowning neuroins in noise .. noise is an essential part of neural topological development - there is no way a fully aenesthetysed person who wakes up will be without serious destruction of their neural topology - those who wake up are not the same person as those who went to sleap .. is this not murder at least as egregious as abortion? DO we care? Who has asked before this?

          Soap. I use soap once a month - and never on my face. I get no pimples, and far fewer viral infections.
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          May 17 2012: Please don't get me wrong - I am an intelligent human - I go where my survival lies.

          More and more I find it necessary to withdraw from the common delusions.

          This marginalises me, but .. at least I will be accustomed to fewer people - and that is the way the unballanced method of the psychopath is pushing us.

          Hey ho - I'll be OK - it will be far harder for the comfort-junkie.. I don't have a lot of hope for them .. It saddens me, but I will go where survival is - it is my duty to my children.

          It is geting better and better for me.

          I posted this to give support to those who also find it better and better.

          And to share the "magic" of what is needed for this kind of improvement for all of us.
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      May 15 2012: Humanity needs to get on vacation from itself.
      Applying "survival of the fittest" against each other is a brainwash job that's been going on since the agrarian revolution.
      Humanity has its strength in empathy and collaberation. Anything that works against this is destructive to our true evolutionary advantage - i.e. stupid.
      The speakers on TED demonstrate a very important thing to us all - every single one of them has "work" but not a single one has a "job".
      A human posesses only one thing - his/her work.
      Whatever/whoever you work for gets the benefit of that work.
      If you are working for someone else, or if you are working for money, those things and people get your advantage - it is vampyric.
      One must sertiously question who or what is getting your advantage - if it is not your work, then your effort is being drained.
      How does one move away from "job" and towards one's "work"?
      simple - you do your work by doing your work.
      SOmetimes it takes a while for the transition.
      But as you begin to do your work, almost mystical things come into your life to ensure you can continue your work .. then after a while, you will have no need of a "job".
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    May 15 2012: Hi Mitch

    Speaking to the idea that it keeps getting better and better,

    I felt so "lucky", fortunate listening to Peter Diamandis' TED talk Abundance is our Future
    http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_diamandis_abundance_is_our_future.html

    Here is an excerpt:
    And the conversation I had with Dean Kamen this morning, one of the great DIY innovators, I'd like to share with you -- he gave me permission to do so -- his technology called Slingshot that many of you may have heard of, it is the size of a small dorm room refrigerator. It's able to generate a thousand liters of clean drinking water a day out of any source -- saltwater, polluted water, latrine -- at less than two cents a liter.The chairman of Coca-Cola has just agreed to do a major test of hundreds of units of this in the developing world. And if that pans out,which I have every confidence it will, Coca-Cola will deploy this globallyto 206 countries around the planet. This is the kind of innovation, empowered by this technology, that exists today.

    We are "luckier" than we have ever been before!
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      May 15 2012: HI Aneesa,

      Many thanks for the contribution!

      Yes, I feel we are blessed to have TED - the observations and contributions of these greate thinkers and do-ers helps give us all perspective and a basis to develop more effective world views.

      What I am looking for are examples of near-mystical luck from personal experiences.
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    May 14 2012: @Mitch - Thanks so much for your kind words. For the record: Although it is my passion to come up with completely novel tactics to curb the menace of malaria, all of what I do would not be possible without working with a great team of people. Energy, drive, passion, enthusiasm, and making a difference in the real world of mosquito-borne diseases: these are our core values. I really hope that funding agencies will be as enthusiastic about these ideas as you are...

    If I would have had more time during this talk, I would have presented our invention how we transformed a flower pot into a fantastic weapon against dengue mosquitoes, how we can use a fungus to replace nasty chemicals for mosquito control, how we can use psychology to improve the use of bednets against malaria, and so on...

    Again, thank you for sharing this.
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      May 14 2012: Hi Bart,

      You have no idea how deeply honoured I am by your reply.

      I am just this little man, You have delivered magic to this world beyond anything I could imagine.

      I suspect that your passion has empowered you. My talk .. If i get enough life to do it, is to allow 7 billion people to find what you have found in a big way, and I have only done in little ways.

      I salute you, and this gives me hope ... that little guys like me are only the beginning - it gets soo much more .. just look around and be honoured by our beutiful servants - like you, who take off their pants to get our attention to demonstrate how we all must proceed.

      THere is no controvacy . it just is. And human passion makes it so.

      We are in good hands, and it is more light than dark whilever there are such as you committing, and going down the endless dark holes to deliver back to us 7 billion, the light you have found.

      We wil not die. You have ensured that time is on our side.

      I salute you lucky man.

      I will promise to help you in my little way.

      Mitch
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      May 14 2012: Just a heads-up Mr.Knols. Adjacent to Mitch's post there is one which begins, " Why Kill Mosquitoes?" You might find it entertaining. Thanks for your valuable labor.