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 18 2012: Yeah , that group is called "religious people". I feel like an outcast. I am part of 2% in my country (Romania) that are atheists.
    Am I the crazy one ? The majority is always right so I must be out of my mind. But still , I can not help it , I do not believe in this myth or any other for that matter. Christopher Hitchens said "God is like a north korean dictator" ... sounds about right.
    So no , it did not make me a better person , it made me an outcast , just me and "Wilson".
    • Aug 18 2012: You're not crazy. There is no God (and if there were, he would be making a mockery of the brain that he gave you, which by all accounts, is telling you that there is no evidence of God).

      Take heart. It may not get better, but you are not crazy. There was once a time - this is just one example - when it was legal in the United States to own other people, to own slaves. I know horrible things still exist in the world, but my point is that there had to have been people who thought they were crazy during the times of slavery in the U.S., because they looked around and no one seemed to care enough to do anything about the fact that people owned slaves.

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