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larissa green

junior copywriter, TED

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In an individualistic world where autonomy is a requirement for human-involvement, should conversation be mandatory?

As a 23-year old female, working at TED with amazing people and amongst the greatest of minds, I find that when one introduces themselves to another, our personal walls dissolve rapidly. From watching speakers cheer each other on during auditions, and watching the personal connections develop in such short time, it's almost as beautiful as watching their brain's dendrites connect all sorts of seemingly impossible things during presentations.

However, walking around my neighborhood of South Williamsburg, my soul burns when the eyes of my peers pierce it with their unrivaled fervor of judgement and apathy [that I secretly hope is false.]

Within all of us, young and old, is the drive and will to connect--so why do we give blank stares to the glow of our phone, instead of smiling back at the faces across from us? Why do we put so much weight on assimilating to the standards of others in order to feel accepted?

I want to ask the TED community to start a conversation where we can all be honest about how we generally feel speaking to others in public. Because, as a former journalism student turned creative-writing graduate, I wonder if we would all be happier knowing that everyone we pass by is a potential friend, lover, or soulmate.

We tell our most painful secrets to strangers in stream-of-consciousness outbursts, but refuse to communicate wholly with the ones closest to us. Why?

Why do you choose anonymity or intimacy?

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    Jun 15 2012: You know that little voice in your head? The one that says "head down, be safe, don't do that, don't talk to strangers"? That voice is what keeps people from interacting.

    People are afraid:

    -Of being rejected
    -of being robbed
    -of finding out your missing something
    -of looking strange to others
    -of how they sound
    -of you
    and
    -of themselves

    People who don't smile at strangers are scared or do not have respect.
    • Jun 21 2012: reach out in the darkness
      reach out in the darkness
      reach out in the darkness and you might find a friend...

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