TED Conversations

Nigel Bamber

Head of Structural Analysis, Caterham F1 Team

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Have you signed the Charter for Compassion, and if not, why not?

The Charter for Compassion was opened for people to affirm in November 2009.
I signed it last night, and was the 88390th person to do so. Tonight it is up to 88429.
Nearly 1/2 a million people have watched Karens' TED talk announcing the Charter.
So why haven't more people signed it?
Perhaps you didn't know about it? I've only just found it out of over a thousand TED talks. Perhaps you watched the talk, but were too busy to look at the charter website? Perhaps you took a dislike to Karen?
I hope there wasn't anyone who didn't sign because they are opposed to the idea of compassion!
Maybe you are a non-believer and thought it was only a religious thing. It's not.
Read it. It asks you affirm a principle which is at the heart of secular codes of morality as well as religious ones, a principle which may be hard wired into our brains.

So have you signed it? Have a look at the charter itself (ignore the talks, all the other stuff on the charter website) and if you can't sign, please tell me why. What would have to be different for you to accept it!

There are 1.2 million TED community members. Let's see if we can give the charter a boost and stand up and be counted in the process?



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  • Jul 26 2012: Sorry Nigel.

    The Charter's intro claims it to be above ideology, but it's filled with it.

    Karen says[?], "...we should help make religion a force for harmony."
    To me, "force-&-harmony" stink of a oxymoron.

    Is this gonna end up being another Law (read: "battering-ram)?
    I get the impression that it's saying, "Join our clique, have more power, be cool; because you [little-old 'you'] just aren't important-enough to help on your own."

    I don't believe ANY religion has compassion at its center; I believe they all have a God at their center. This Charter would see those Gods displaced!

    The emoticon on their web site: I believe that's a dark-magic sigil, (or closely-tied to one).

    Karen says "Let's revive the Golden Rule." What is the Godlen Rule: "Do unto others as you'd have them do to you." It seems to be fairly/very close to perfect - (but not good enough). Even the Jewish Torah on One Foot: "That which is hateful to you, do not do..." ...well, seems antithetical to define good "in the negative."
    Perhaps it's egotistical for me to search for something better than TGR, but I search.

    I did try to look around the site at "acts" to do, but found it hard to find anything useful; may try again later.

    The definition(s) of "charter" seem chock-full of legalistic spirit; hardly the stuff of "compassion."
    All-in-all, it tastes too One-World-Governminty.

    Perhaps I am merely reminded of the United Nations Something-Something on the Rights of Children; which I found to espouse "not enough rights."

    I WILL (merely) continue seeking a better life for me & others, without the help of this Charter.

    Edit: I just got to read the rest of the responses - {wow} lots of "No's". I feel bad for you now. Had I known before, I would've been so thorough.
    But it's good to see that you're trying to put it to use out there, and didn't "just sign the Charter." Hope you help others.
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      Jul 26 2012: Hi Steve,
      I'm sorry you don't feel able to sign. A lot of your objections seem to focus on the surroundng information on the charter site, rather than the charter itself. I do agree that the arguments in Karens' intros and talks have holes in them, but I felt that the charter itself offered a good tool for the religious and non-religious to find common ground. That's why I asked people to focus on the words of the charter and not the surrounding noise. I saw the logo as the mathematical symbol for infinity, but perhaps that's my scientific background showing through.
      I don't think that God lies at the centre of all religions as there are several religions that don't have a deity :-)
      I do see compassion as being a common thread that could give all people a starting point for peace.
      I've just got my first signing from Lawren above, and this made me feel extremely positive. It's this mutual movement of optimism that I feel the charter could generate, instead of being a clique. A sense that instead of feeling "why bother when everyone else doesn't" people could feel "I'm not the only one that feels this way". Cliques are exclusive, whereas the Charter shouts out to people to be included.
      We've all been stitched up in the past by the small print in legal documents so perhaps calling it a charter brings some of this baggage with it. Perhaps it should be called the Promise, and sealed with a virtual handshake or a kiss. Having to always look carefully at the small print has made us all cynical. Is it possible to look for the good in the charter words themselves, without worrying about being trapped?
      There are a lot of NOs here, but at least no one has said that Compassion itself is a bad idea. :-)

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