TED Conversations

Phillip Beaver

Citizen, Humankind


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An international equivalent of “We the People” could provide goals toward peace for humankind.

Each of us is part of not only our family and culture and neighborhood and city and area and country and continent and globe but is part of humankind. Borrowing from Ralph Waldo Emerson (The American Scholar, 1837), humanity is composed of independently acting individuals, “just as the hand [is composed of] fingers, the better to answer its end.” If humankind succeeds, each element of humankind succeeds; each continent, each country, each area, each city, each neighborhood, each family, and each individual.
It seems most individuals just want to be free to live in peace. However, it seems no leaders help the people. Could it be that failure to recognize a few common goals prevents humankind from achieving the peace it deserves? If so, what goals should the people adopt and require of their leaders?
“We the People” seems defined in the Preamble to the US Constitution as people who wish to fulfill seven secular goals: unity, justice, tranquility, defense, prosperity, liberty, and continuity. Continuity would maintain the progress for future generations. The list is small because some goals are required by the stated goals; for example, justice and liberty require responsibility. So far, it seems America either lost or never accepted these noble goals. But there is nothing wrong with humankind helping one of its elements.
Considering the possibility of shared goals, could most human beings agree on the seven goals of “We the People?” What additions or deletions would be needed for agreement?
With a few shared goals, the elements of humankind could find paths to fulfillment.


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  • Jun 19 2012: Hello Phillip,
    OK, then let's start a We The People international website with a format similar to TED, apologies to TED if too similar. The participants would be people in many nations talking directly with governing officials of various levels of participating nations. We the people, would talk to 'we the officials' and share ideals, goals, and dreams. Would we learn something about each other and perhaps then open a pathway to what you desire in your conversation?

    The idea is to allow common people anywhere to be linked to officials of nations. Instead of the hurdles of international protocol and politics, you'd have comments and concerns directly from the hearts of people. Sell this idea as a benefit to mankind. It could be true that those government officials who would not participate would likely not be interested in what's good for humanity. Think about this and take a long view, beyond your grandchildren. What is the main attraction in your suggestion? This is what would be your main selling point.

    Anyone who is truly interested in betterment of mankind will not let personal goals interfere with what is best for all. What changes for good are possible?

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      Jun 19 2012: Hello, Mark, and thank you for the inspiring response.
      I am curious as to why TED would not seem a good vehicle for the effort. It seems to me they would create a whole new branch if there was widespread interest. Perhaps at some point a TED manager will comment on that issue.
      Addressing your idea:

      My principle motivation is to act on my perception that most people just want to be free to live in peace and help find a way to achieve what should have been easy. Secondly, I want to learn what other people think of the seven goals used to define “We the People.” The idea, that We the People International could become a forum for communications with heads of governments, is excellent and yours. I will give some thought to trying to help your idea become reality. My first thought is to appeal to TED.

      As we have seen historically (especially in the actions of many leaders of governments) not everyone “is truly interested in betterment of mankind [and] will not let personal goals interfere with what is best for all.” This is the greatest challenge I see in carrying the ball with your suggestion. What if you fulfilled your idea?
      Back to We the People:
      I have pondered and written about “We the People” for some ten years and think it is so powerful that global attention to it would naturally change things. For example, if non-Americans started challenging America to follow a minority, We the People, Americans who strive to fulfill the seven goals, America might reform, and the world might benefit.
      Thank you for your ideas, and stay after me. I do want to make something happen.

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