TED Conversations

Phillip Beaver

Citizen, Humankind


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What are your essential requirements of humankind—what do you need to live in peace with your fellow humans?

Anticipating my eighth decade, I am one in 7 billion; a minnow in an ocean. Yet, I feel humankind includes me and needs me, much like a hand needs its fingers (borrowing from Ralph Waldo Emerson). Neighbors and people in other countries make me feel important; but members of political regimes seem a threat.

Humankind seems preoccupied by diverse nations. Yet, when I meet people in other nations, they seem like me--simply wanting to live in peace as “I” see it. Each “as I see it” does not seem as far apart as our nations influence us to feel.

I wonder if it is because we have no forum to share what we, individual humans, would like to receive from the rest of ourselves: humankind.

Often, when people propose peace or unity, they invite “the truth,” faiths, reason, prosperity, conformity, an ideology, and other objects that 7 billion people just cannot address. I invite thoughts about what it takes to live in confidence, despite the un-knowns humankind faces.

I think I need:

Enough rest and sensible food supply
Exercise, talk, reading, and writing
Use of most of my earnings and confidence any taxes are used for humankind, not an elite few
Security to care for myself and loved ones
Opportunities to meet with other humans who want to visit with me.

Perhaps “security” is the broadest of my five concerns. It involves many issues, such as, the rule of written law, lawfulness as common as obeying traffic signals, freedom of thought, ordinary protection of my home and property, medical care according to the risks I choose or take, environmental protection, and work opportunity commensurate with my contributions.

Without attention to your nation's governance, what would you require of humankind? How could you feel confident that you are as independent and significant as a finger on a hand--so essential to humankind?

Revision 1. July 2, 2012, Rev 2 in last paragraph July 8.


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    Jul 3 2012: It seems to help if you have a formidable defensive capability and not too asymmetric in terms of power
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      Jul 3 2012: Sounds playful enough; on par with live and let live.

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