TED Conversations

Carter Harkins

Chief Storyteller, Harkins Creative

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Is there an indispensable person or group in your life with whom you frequently disagree? How has this made you a better person?

The culture wars rage on every day in the news and in online comment threads. We hurl invective and criticism without regard for the fact that most of this kind of "discourse" actually only causes each of us to become further entrenched in our ideas and beliefs. At worst it can push us into even more extreme positions, believing that the emotion we feel justifies our deeper schisms.

Maybe you have been lucky enough to have a person or group who has taught you the value of disagreement in the presence of real engagement and commitment to understanding. If so, I hope you'll share how this kind of interaction has strengthened, sharpened and equipped you to argue and disagree in world-changing ways, in ways that foster community and overcome ignorance (your own, as well as the other's).


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  • Aug 15 2012: A thought...
    I learned something from an older sikh gentleman a few years ago. He taught me that the best name for those people who frequently frustrate and confound us is "teacher".

    The thought process being that they are teaching us patience, understanding, calm, and empathy... I very much like this concept.


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