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Krys C


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What are 10 things YOU know to be true?

I was interested and intrigued by Sarah's '10 things you know to be true' list exercise, particularly with the pattern she observed in hearing others; that you would continuously see items exact and opposite to your own, items you've never heard of, or thought about before in exactly that light.

I'm fascinated by our definitions of what we consider to be 'truth', and the disputes between our definitions.

So I propose we post a couple lists of our own here, and experience our agreements (and disagreements), learn some new ideas and lines of thought. Personally, I think it best to write your own list BEFORE reading the ones posted here to avoid influence ;)

I hope a couple people will be interested in participating in this miniature project. And, hey, if you see something in someone's list you'd like to ask about, or learn more about, or debate. . .we now have the TED conversation platform to make that possible.

My list:

1. These are the most exciting times in which we could ever hope to be alive which have already occurred.
2. Too often, we allow inertia to control our actions.
3. Everyone should travel.
4. 'Because that's the way things are' is not a valid reason.
5. Whenever you say 'I had no choice', you're lying.
6. It is possible to have an honest and even pleasant relationship with someone you do not like.
7. Loving someone or something heart and soul does not necessarily make it good for you, or them, or it.
8. There are ideas and inventions yet to come which will make into reality what we consider to be fantasy today.
9. Everyone has at least one story worth hearing.
10. My truth is not final.

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    Mar 21 2011: 0 : as a probabilistic thinker, I cannot say I know anything to be 100% true...but I think it's true:
    1 to 4 : 0th to 3rd law of thermodynamics
    5 : If you want to understand the world, you cannot go without science nor skepticism
    6 : You don't need to understand the world to have a good life
    7 : Artificial intelligence will become smarter than human intelligence
    8 : I will die
    9 : I feel connected
    10: This was fun to do
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      Mar 22 2011: I was provoked by number 7.
      What do you mean by smarter? And "human intelligence"?
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      Mar 23 2011: 8 : I will die

      You mean you probably will die :P

      @Anna: He's talking about the singularity - take a look at Ray Kurzweils talks on TED. The exponential growth of technology, he believes, will one day surpass human computational capacity.
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        Mar 23 2011: @ Cory

        Yes, probably

        I'm not a singularity adept... I came to that conclusion independently (well, at least before knowing Kurzweils point of view). I don't agree with Ray completely, but from a computational point of vieuw,

        @ Anna
        I don't see any laws of nature preventing a form of artificial intelligence to arise... If we start to program self learning algorithms, they will, given enough computation power and memory, be smarter than human intelligence.
        By human intelligence I mean (more or less) what we test in IQ tests, or (fuzzy) what laymen think is 'smart'
        so smarter would mean: higher IQ, and better at making decisions that are in function of the pre-stated desires (like happiness, wealth, social status, sexual success, satisfaction, gratification, avoiding pain and injury, pleasures, justice, health,... ,...)
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          Mar 24 2011: What part would emotional intelligence play in this? Could artificial intelligence ever possibly replicate this form of intelligence?
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          Mar 25 2011: But Christophe, I am not sure that all human intelligence can be described with algorithms, for example emotional intelligence (as Lee mentions), empathy, the kind of creative genius that creates mind blowing art....
          ...and if the computers are created by humans, maybe they will be kind of human as well? Or the distinction might become more unclear, what is man and what is machine....
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          Mar 29 2011: Also, could a machine ever truly love? One of the things that makes us most human is our ability to love. I don't think that a machine could ever feel love.
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          Apr 1 2011: Why, might I ask, would you want to live forever? To become some sort of robotic superhuman that would have to live through our progressively darker times? To live forever would be so unnatural and frightening.
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        Mar 29 2011: I don't see how dying could be a "probably". Unless we somehow advance so quickly that we are able to defeat death, which I don't believe will ever happen. And even if it does, I know I won't be a part of it. Like the great Freddie Mercury said, "Who wants to live forever?"
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        Mar 29 2011: I agree with Anna on the artificial intelligence subject. AI may be able to surpass human intelligence in terms of computation - numbers - because that is something that is concrete and absolute, and the machines can be programmed to figure those things out themselves. But there are aspects of humanity, of human intelligence, that I don't think a machine could ever truly possess. Sure, a machine can make art, but, like Anna said, can it really feel it? As humans, when we create or look at a piece of art we can truly feel something, and I don't think a machine could ever do that. We can look at nature, at natural wonders, at other people, and see the beauty in the world around us and feel it. We can create music that can invoke and purge the soul. A machine could play music, but it could never truly understand it without a human brain. The one thing I never understood is why scientists try so hard to recreate the human brain in non-human entities. Why do we need robots that can perform every action for us? We already have amazing robots, why do we need to create something that will one day possibly be able to pass us in computational and mathematical intelligence? We will not be able to distinguish between man and machine, and all of this is just a disaster waiting to happen. The human brain is something that can never be truly recreated - it is too complex and even we will never be able to fully understand our own intelligence. We can feel, emote, build relationships with those around us. Only natural, living life can do this. Robots may be able to to an extent, but never in the same way. There is no such thing as a robot genius or a robot prodigy. But there are human versions of these. Anyway tell me what you think.
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        Mar 26 2011: @ Mark: Exactly

        for example: If I were to hit a wall:
        I assume that there is a possibility that I'm under an unknown drug inhibiting my sensory perception in my fist.
        Or my food contained a neurotoxin
        Or I suddenly became able to ignore pain sensitivity completely
        After I hit it (and got the pain experience)... I could imagine unlikely reasons why the causality could -in principle- be flawed... but most often I treat 99.99999% likely as sure...
        • Mar 28 2011: our senses continually decieve us - that is why truth is so elusive
        • Mar 29 2011: Mark,
          Our "senses" are constructs of our brain, which deceives us constantly, relentlessly. Everything we think we "know" is a product of the filters that protect us from the barrage of information we are assaulted with every minute of every day.
        • Mar 29 2011: Suggesting Blink : the power of thinking without thinking by Malcolm Gladwell as an interesting take on the subject.
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        Mar 29 2011: Our senses don't have a 100% accuracy, and both our senses and our brain are not entirely accurate.

        Being error prone is not a problem. From cybernetics we know that on an error prone machine or channel we still can have accurate information transmission (or nearly accurate.

        You know a visual illusion by analyzing it in different ways. you find logical inconsistencies by applying logic. You learn about the deceit through knowledge, other tools and other measures,...
    • Mar 29 2011: I agree on No.5, we can never learn about the world with sicence if this world was not designed in a scientific way. But we could reason out from that fact that there is a super intelligent being above this world which we can not fully learn about because of our limitations. BUT (again), there is a great possibility to understand much of "it" if it reveal itself. It did.
    • Apr 6 2011: I while back I think I saw Dennet on Ted talking about conscience and a bit about how the nodes inside the Internet looks a lot like the network of nerves inside our brains, what do you think about that, is Internet alive, can we communicate with it :)?
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        Apr 7 2011: I think the internet pretty much behaves as an organism... And there are parallels with the brain...

        BUT, most (probably all) agents (with highly developed intelligence) on the net are human. They feed from and to the net. So the bigger creature (hive), is constituted by us...

        I think there are already replicons and quasi-life like entities on the net (computer viruses, worms, trojans,...) but they seem very primitive...
        I have no idea whether there are already surviving, replicating and mutating colonies on the cloud, but I gather they might appear...

        The algorithms on the net are getting smarter, and our communication seems to have filters, so we are already directed by the net towards the things that might interest us, and give us pleasure... But still, most of this is done by humans, not algorithms...

        But see if this works:
        "HEY INTERNET, IF YOU READ AND UNDERSTAND THIS, COULD YOU LET ME KNOW AND MAKE AN APPOINTMENT FOR A CHAT" (I would try to find proof to see whether it's not some clever person tricking me though... )
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          May 2 2011: "HEY INTERNET, IF YOU READ AND UNDERSTAND THIS, COULD YOU LET ME KNOW AND MAKE AN APPOINTMENT FOR A CHAT" (I would try to find proof to see whether it's not some clever person tricking me though... )

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      May 2 2011: For #7 I would say that AI will definitely surpass us in logical intelligence. The programing used for it is based on logic and will continue to be. However, there may be ways in which humans will remain more intelligent. Such as emotional intelligence as others have stated. Also things that have no relevance to anything but us. Then again if humans start using 100% of our brain capacity who knows?

      "The algorithms on the net are getting smarter, and our communication seems to have filters, so we are already directed by the net towards the things that might interest us, and give us pleasure... But still, most of this is done by humans, not algorithms..."

      If there is AI what will it direct us to see?

      Can we program a universal stop code now?

      Can we program a question into AI that all AI knows it to be answered in one way? That way there could be a tell of if an AI is associating or if it's a human? (this could be the proof you seek when the internet responds to your request for a chat)
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      May 2 2011: I have a problem with #1

      Do you have a way around the self-defeating nature of relative truth?
      Saying that all truth is relative is a non-relative statement.
      Also do you believe there is no objective truth and that people do not have the means to discover it, or do you believe that x proposition can be both true and false at the same time or at different times?

      Sorry I'm not bashing your views or anything I just tend towards the absolutist/hardline/moderate skepticism side of the debate and interested in your respose :D
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          May 3 2011: Sorry if I was if my scentences were confusing in anyway but no the counter-argument to relativism I was attempting to express was a logically self defeating statement that resides in relitivisms core argument. Basically relativism contends that all truth is relative and that there is no such thing is an absolute statement/law/universal or maxim or that any absolute statement/universal/law or maxin is false or is not the only truth. In turn does this not make the core reletavist proposition (that ALL absolute statements are false) false by it's own definition? My appologies if that was hard to follow. Conciseness has never been my forte.

          Secondly I agree with you about falsifiability and I assume you are using that argument under the same conditions of Karl Popper.

          However, I do contend your final statement that "x proposition can be both true and false at different contexts and times. This statement justifies almost anything as culturally relative. For example, William Wilberforce put forward a bill for the abolition of slavery twice, first it was rejected, then it was accepted. A culturally relative condition Wilberforce was wrong in opposing slavery in the first place but was subsequently right when the bill was accepted. I just do not understant how ,logically, a proposition can be both true and false.

          Another example: The world was once believed to be flat and under the context of the time (and your condition) the people of the world were correct in believing that the world was flat, this was the truth. However, when people migrated to the belief that the world is round somehow belief in the world being flat would be false.
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      May 2 2011: What is the counter for the argument that every argument has a counter?
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        May 2 2011: I love your question Thomas!

        All life is a paradox, except the part that isn't.
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          E G 10+

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          May 3 2011: that's very very right : all life is a paradox.
        • May 4 2011: Wait! All relativism is relative and all absolutism is absolute right? Yes paradox, but even more than that. I do honestly belive that both of those categories are inherently false. Things do change as Pab points out, there is truth that is finally true. We understand as humans what we understand. However that doesn't make it true, only understandable. Truth is out there. It does exist outside of my own understanding of reality. Living in the paradox is not easy, but it is finally put, very satisfying.
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        E G 10+

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        May 3 2011: Thomas :....... the argument itself
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    Apr 8 2011: 1. We are such small pieces of an unimaginably complex system.
    2. We aren't as important as we think we are.
    3. We are pretty amazing none the less.
    4. Everything I know to be true is just an imperfect reflection of actual truth.
    5. Nice people don't finish last, they just aren't as worried about being first.
    6. Forgiveness is better for your health than revenge.
    7. A degree is a piece of paper, and paper alone does not an education make.
    8. You can control very little of this life so take advantage and follow your dreams when ever you can.
    9. Travel is an amazing teacher.
    10. We shouldn't shelter our children from failure but instead give them the tools to learn from it and emerge better for it.
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      Apr 9 2011: lovely..and wise
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      Apr 9 2011: Stephen, I was pondering nr 2 today, because participating in TED conversations has become a kind of addiction to me. But my fear is that I like it so much just because I feel important when I post here. And fool myself into wasting time trying to boost my ego.
      So here I go posting this fear as well and pretend that it is important ;-))).......
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    Mar 26 2011: 1. Mid-morning television worldwide sucks.
    2. On a sunny day or a dark night, I'd go for a regular Atheist-Joe to lend me a helping hand 'cause religious people have imaginary friend(s) and apparently so do the lonely 5-year-olds.
    3. The Luxembourg park in Paris is the place to be on a sunny Saturday morning - a book and a cup of coffee (they also have free public wireless to make things even better).
    4. Plosives are always lateral before a lateral in English.
    5. Learning is fun but UNlearning is good for you.
    6. Fear is good but only if you are being chased by an animal, a hateful human, a zealous priest or a survey taker.
    7. I will never stop trying to be better at whatever I do and constantly feel I could have done more.
    8. Clothes-wise, cotton beats polyester anytime.
    9. BigBang, thank you for accidentally giving the humans the opportunity to exist - your random act of kindness will not be forgotten. ^^
    10. Move away from the computer and stop surfing the net already. Procrastination is bad for you and you know it's TRUE that you have something better or more important to do!
    • Ben B

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      Mar 31 2011: The survey taker in number 6 made me laugh, thank you. And procastrination ... I confess ...
      • Apr 4 2011: I think we all confess < yet I excuse every minute that I spend on TED, it is good for your health>
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      Apr 1 2011: awesome list
    • Apr 4 2011: Sanja, Thank you for the reminder in point 10
    • May 2 2011: Acting on the advice of point 10 right now. See, you've done a good deed!
  • May 4 2011: 1. Everyone wants to be happy.
    2. Almost everything is cyclic. Seasons cycle through winters and summers. Moods cycle through joys and sorrows. Economies cycle through recessions and booms, states through war and peace.
    3. People are very complex.
    4. We all sit on gigantic hoards of memories. Random stimuli in the environment cause random memories to surface.
    5. Everyone develops some sort of "philosophy" based on what life throws at them. This forms the basis of every decision they make.
    6. Most people have suffered.
    7. Cynicism is for cowards who won't dare hope.
    8. Consistency is very difficult.
    9. Habits are tough to kill.
    10. Nobody seems to know where happiness hides. But some theories seem likelier than others.
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      May 5 2011: Skanda, I do not think anyone else has pointed out your truth #2. Its a good one.
      I like the feistiness of #7!
    • May 5 2011: Skanda, I so agree with Debra about your #2. It sounds strange to some western thought that time and history move that way, but get out of those cultures, and most other societies have some form of cyclical time. I could go on & on about this one! I like #3 also, because it reminds us that all people, everywhere, are more than just biology or sociology. It also reminds us to be careful in judging the motives of others.
      • May 5 2011: Thanks for your comments guys. I'm always fascinated by how far you can go when you start looking at things this way. For instance we have planetary systems, with planets revolving around stars. Zoom into matter far enough, and suddenly you're looking at analogues of these systems (in the form of electrons whizzing around nuclei).
        • May 5 2011: Everything, well almost everything is fractal in nature. I am convinced of that. The cycles are just how we see them.
  • Mar 28 2011: 1. When I travel, even if it's just a day trip, I'm happiest.
    2. People are pretentious for believing that they will every truly know, without a shadow of a doubt, whether or not there is a god or some form of higher power/being.
    3. We are so much smaller than we would like to make ourselves out to be.
    4. Education is the key to almost everything.
    5. Society, politics, etc will always be flawed because we as individuals are flawed, and when you put a bunch of individuals together, their flaws escalate with each new person added.
    6. We are all hypocrites.
    7. We hardly ever learn from our history, and therefore we are playing the same basic game now that we did 1,000s of years ago.
    8. We are overpopulating the Earth, and hardly anyone wants to deal with it. If we look at our population growth in the past 100 years, and then think of those dots as insect (cockroaches, for example) population growth instead of human population growth, people would freak out. We are the said cockroaches to the rest of the species on the planet.
    9. I know very little, and it saddens me.
    10. What is "the truth" to me today may not be "the truth" to me tomorrow.
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      Mar 28 2011: I love 4. Education is the key to almost everything. In India, where I am from, it is one sure way, that people can make a break from the lower economic segments and towards a better quality of life
      • Mar 29 2011: Exactly. I'd say your example of India is true for the rest of the world.
      • Mar 29 2011: To fear the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
        • Mar 30 2011: That may be a truth for you, but it is not for me.
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          Tao P 50+

          • +1
          Apr 4 2011: 'Your belief in God is merely an escape from your monotonous, stupid and cruel life'
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          May 2 2011: kinda harsh there Tao, to each their own. I'm sure you could easily be cut down for beliefs you hold dear.
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      Mar 29 2011: You are very wise, Monica. I especially love numbers 2, 4, 9, and 10. All are so true. As to number 2, I've been doing a lot of "soul-searching" lately in the way of religion, and this is what I've come to find. People can say that they do or do not believe that there is a God or gods or any kind of higher power, but no one really knows or will ever know. My heart wants to tell me that there is a God or gods or something up there, but my brain tells me that there isn't, that there can't be. And I've come to find that the brain is often a more reliable source than the heart, as cynical as that may sound. But I really don't know, and none of us do. I don't know if it makes people pretentious to believe that they do know though. If they are preaching what they believe and will listen to no other opinion, then maybe, yes, but I think a lot of people are raised with it so strictly that they can't break out of that mindset that there is or isn't a higher power or powers of some sort. That's what bothers me the most about religion - that hardly ever do we get to decide for ourselves what to believe. The people and societies that raise us decide, and it's so difficult to break free from that.
      • Mar 29 2011: Why, thank you. :) I'm pretty young on here compared to most of the members, so I really appreciate that compliment. I have actually had the exact same thought process when it comes to religion. My heart wants there to be a God, which, because I grew up in Christianity, means there will be a heaven, therefore I will always exist. I will not cease to exist. Basically, that my life will not just be a little speck in time but rather that I will continue to "be". However, my head says this is most likely not the case, and I am merely a mortal being, as much as I'd like not to be. As far as being pretentious, I mean that in a way to say that we as humans both collectively and individually think we know more than we actually do (generalization), and to say that any single human knows with certainty whether or not there is a god (or gods) is giving human knowledge and placement in the universe too much credit. Then again, you could get into the theory of knowledge and look at how people know what they know and one could argue that it's not pretentious of them because of the ways they know what they know, but that would be a discussion way above and beyond the character limit on here. And, when I say people are pretentious, I mean that in an idealistic, philosophical way. I don't actually look at my religious friends and go, "Wow, you're so full of yourself and your confidence in your beliefs of God. How pretentious of you". I completely understand what you mean when you say people can't break from religion. I'd say Western religions are more geared towards not allowing people to make up their minds than Eastern religions, but I'm sure both have the characteristic of "this is what is true and this is what you'll believe" to a certain extent. I mean, they have to after all, because they're organized religions.
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          May 2 2011: "but that would be a discussion way above and beyond the character limit on here" made me chuckle. I agree with you entirely that we think we know so much more then we possibly can with what we actually know for sure. Also there are people who truly know there is a god, people such as the pope. Just as there are people who truly know that there is not. These people evaluate all their knowledge and it proves to them that they are correct about what they think, but I'll give that they are pretentious.
    • Mar 29 2011: on No. 10, do you mean you may not think stealing is wrong, but you'll change your idea when your money is stolen?
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        Mar 29 2011: I don't think she means that. But there are certain things that we consider truths now that may not always be truths. The time's are always changing, and everything has the capacity to change. Even if you took your example of stealing - in the future, for all we know, stealing could be seen as acceptable. It's not likely, but we don't know that it won't ever happen. I think more of what she means is that we may believe we have a certain knowledge about something, but that may one day change. For instance, centuries ago people believed that the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth. These theories have since been disproved, so what people used to believe was the truth is no longer the truth. What we call truth can often be just an opinion or belief that isn't necessarily even provable, but that people feel so strongly about and trust in so faithfully, that we don't even realize that it may not be true.
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        Apr 17 2011: No, I don't think she means that. I think Monica means that, as you grow and learn you leave the door open to revising you values and beliefs and have the courage to change them when you know they need changing.
    • Apr 4 2011: People are made of their experiences: often people do not question what they are raised to 'know' until they are faced with extreme loss whether percieved, threatened, or actual

      Remember with your number 2 question the power of example: we limit ourselves by judging the ability of another to change their world view/ a mind stretched to a new idea can never go back to it's original shape (famous quote by someone I'm bad with names) What took a while for me to really learn is the power of seaking first to understand, often people hold beliefs that they do not realize they carry that may be unrational and they dont see it until they say it and then try and rely on that belief at a later date.

      #10 and overall
      Congrats you are growing and doing a fantastic job of dismissing all that you know and challengingallthat society makes us believe, some day you will find that truths are meant to be everchanging but a solid set of personal values will keep the integrity of your changing beliefs and you will not be cast as a hypocritical like you see the world right now because you may value something but it is teething you honor more than that one thing you dismiss in a prioritization of those values. You are never wrong for doing what you value as long as your values are not based upon a fleeting emotion like anger, personal happiness and even pleasure.
    • Apr 4 2011: Monica, I admire you thoughtfulness in point 10
    • Apr 6 2011: I agree with number 7, but if you think about it it's not really that surprising, is it? You can read something somewhere or have it taught to you but in reality, I find that the most important stuff I learn comes from my mistakes. I mean, we only live for 70-80-90 something years and the further you go back in time the shorter this span gets, how're we supposed to learn so many of these things when we reboot ourselves all the time?
      • Apr 16 2011: That is a very interesting way of looking at things! I've never really thought of that before. Thank you for your input. :)
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        May 6 2011: I agree. History has not to be a just subject, it has to be our DNA re-codification tool. Ancient cultures knew that passing knowledge through chants and stories leaded to better generations. We do not even talk about our own past mistakes to our children, worst being caught talking about our ancestors' mistakes. Recognizing to your children that we are fallible is a good start. Even better when we learn to ask for forgiveness from them.
    • May 2 2011: Hi Monica
      You are right about #8 (you may be right about several others, but I'll just address myself to the number concerned :-) Albert Bartlett says it well in his talk 'Arithmetic, Population and Energy'
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      May 5 2011: Hey Monica
      Although it has some merit I disagree with #5. One cannot look at the world's most powerful and harmful dicators and say flaws escalate with the more individuals involved. I believe in respect to most governments the root of ignorance or ill will comes from a select few and is perpetuated by group thought/ mob mentality. The larger numbers would certainly increase the strength of an idea, but for the most part one's individual flaws don't attribute to the flaws of a government.

      Very great list though!
    • May 6 2011: Totally with you on #1. I feel an incredible sense of calm and purpose when I'm traveling as well.

      Maybe it stems from a sense of detachment. There's not as much commitment to the people/places we encounter on journeys, so we aren't distracted by injecting ourselves into the mix. Kind of like watching a movie. Lots of people enjoy watching drama. Not that many (that I know) enjoy being in the midst of it.

      I guess that's the charm of traveling. For the duration of your trip you become a witness.
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    Mar 20 2011: I am a troublemaker (that verity is off my list):

    1 - God does not exist (not the way the quasi-totality of people expects)
    2 - There is no such thing as omniscience
    3 - There is no such thing as omnipotence
    3 - There is no black and white choices in life, only an "infinity" of grey shades choices (possibilities)
    4 - Most humans have to power to control their own life
    5 - Most things are only a matter of perception
    6 - Statistically, life exists outside Earth
    7 - There is too much people on this planet and it's burning the resources on it
    8 - I will change the world, one step at the time (by changing the people around me)
    9 - Nothing is impossible
    10 - Life is wonderful (if you perceived it the right way)
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      Mar 21 2011: Prove it, Michael.
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        Mar 21 2011: It's senseless you can't prove a negative just like you can't prove that God is a giant omnipotent marshmallow.
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          Mar 22 2011: You are right.....you cannot prove a negative but there is a lot you can't prove...,.......that makes somethings more reasonable to believe. May be I am wrong and I will give you the benefit of a doubt, but why the sarcastic remark about a giant omnipotent marshmalow ?
        • Mar 22 2011: It is possible to prove a negative through induction. In this way, god can be proved not to exist, because his existence is in itself would be contradictory and illogical.
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        Mar 21 2011: Trying to proved the non-existence / or existence of a concept (God) created by mankind is illogical.
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        Mar 22 2011: Because it makes as much sense as a giant omnipotent human.
      • Mar 22 2011: Interesting how it is assumed (and probably rightly so) your challenge was the statement about the non-existence of God. I'm currently reading "The God Instinct". Think that book would be a real challenge for you Helen. Try it ;-)
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          Mar 22 2011: Very keen observation I would also like to point out that it's Interesting how the only list that mentions God has a "prove it" comment under it. Just like the only scientific theory which refutes creationism is violently being debated, all these things are interesting, lots of interesting things in the world.
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          Mar 22 2011: to Joseph van Eijdhoven............Thanks for the hint I am always eager to learn. I have read "The History of God" and am now reading "The Case for God" both by Karen Armstrong, a TED contributor whose "Charter for Compassion" and I am trying to live it
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      Mar 22 2011: Nothing is impossible? ...except omniscience and omnipotence?
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    Apr 9 2011: (1) I think, therefore I am.
    (2) I have erred, therefore I am liable to error and will probably err again.
    (3) Any conclusion I draw is subject to #2, and is therefore tentative.
    (4) In light of #3, humility is a fundamental responsibility.
    (5) Actions are far more important and revealing than words.
    (6) Uncertainty is scary, but we must make peace with it because it never disappears.
    (7) The truth is always more complex and nuanced than we first think.
    (8) Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to act in spite of fear.
    (9) The most important thing you can teach anyone is how to learn on their own.
    (10) The "meaning of life" is to live.
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    Mar 28 2011: 1. Life is not fair.
    2. Exploring is essential.
    3. Parents teach, grandparents instill wonder.
    4. In nature, it's not about you.
    5. Awful things happen in a beautiful world.
    6. You will win the lottery the day God picks the numbers.
    7. Do that which borders on uncomfortable.
    8. Peel away the layers of socialization and propoganda . . . and that is who one is.
    9. Hope is the last resource for happiness.
    10. One measure of my live is the dogs I have loved.
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        Mar 28 2011: Ah, ye of little faith. Children don't care if the person on whom's lap they sit listening to a song about birds is not respected.
  • Mar 24 2011: 1. Everything is possible through the Lord
    2. Television is NOT a good babysitter
    3. You don't need a destination with a motorcycle
    4. It's ok to cry
    5. The best foods for us are the ones God created with minimal "help" toward his design
    6. Love solves anything
    7. Most people don't enjoy being told what to do
    8. Art is everywhere and anything
    9. If you lose all material things, it's OK if you still have the mind that got them in the first place
    10. The meaning of life is finding your gift, while your purpose in life is giving that gift away.....
  • Mar 23 2011: 1. water's clear
    2. also blue
    3. reflective
    4. or cloudy
    5. wet
    6. liquid
    7. solid
    8. gas
    9. powerful
    10. falling from the sky in brooklyn.
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    Mar 23 2011: That's a nice exercise. It made me think for a while. Here's my list:

    1. Not everything that is true to a human being can be said, shown or proven.
    2. When you see things in their interconnectedness, beauty arises.
    3. Often we get ill because of unexpressed potentialities.
    4. On personal matters, while your head can only suppose, your heart knows.
    5. Great sorrows open the door to beauty of some kind.
    6. The real problem of modern man is how to live or become sane within the asylum.
    7. A good way to get the best out of others is to give the best of yourself.
    8. Progress without spirit is a form of barbarism.
    9. What others think of you is their business, not yours.
    10. You need to find who you are. If you fail this, it doesn't matter what else you find.
  • Mar 23 2011: 1. I will never be perfect
    2. I must be happy with that imperfection, as it suggests there is always room for self improvement.
    3. Science is the art of admitting you don't know something, and striving to find that truth.
    4. Part of me doesn't mind being stuck inside working instead of being in the park.
    5. Music is beautiful.
    6. If i thought dedicating my life to music were a vaible option, I would.
    7. Mangoes are delicious.
    8. My engineering degree is 4 years of learning how to make educated guesses.
    9. The only things we should ever truly care about losing are our family, our friends, and our health. all else is inconsequential.
    10. My only limitations are those I set myself.

    hmm, just noticed no.10 and no.6 are contradictory, will have to think about that.
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      Mar 24 2011: So, I misread your #3 as ART is admitting you DO know something and striving to find that truth. And it's rather true also :) Maybe even in combination with what you really wrote. Thanks

      ha! your note at the bottom made me smile :) (pst... go for it!)
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      Mar 24 2011: Very fun, agreed on #8 completely. My starting point for students in my STEM class is usually, "What did I not learn in engineering school that I should have?"
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    Mar 20 2011: 1.- Absolute truth is the most relative of all possible truths.
    2.- Loving does not mean owning.
    3.- The boundaries of our imagination are traced by the education we were able to receive when kids.
    4.- Life is risk. No risk is equal to no life.
    5.- Security in life doesn't exist. It is an illusion that can easily turn into obsession and make us give up some of the best experiences of our lives.
    6.- Knowledge is the master key of our freedom.
    7.- I'm the owner of my own silence.
    8.- We are slaves of our own fears.
    9.- It is not richer who have more, but who needs the least.
    10.- Some fine day I'll die.
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    Mar 20 2011: Truth is based on the premise that something is false. Something must be false for the opposite to be true. What we know now could change tomorrow. The truth could become a falsehood. Hence the only thing I know to be true is time and change. The rest is all an evolutionary distraction.
    • Mar 20 2011: I promise you that 2+2 will never equal 5. Even if you are convinced it is so, it doesn't change anything. No matter what you think, thinking doesn't make things true or false. Time changes a lot of things but the things that are really actually true will always be true. The laws of the universe never changes. At least not to our knowledge.

      Also, maybe I've misunderstood you, but I think that "something must be false for the opposite to be true" can be a bit misleading and confusing. 2+2=5 is false but it's not the opposite of 2+2=4 which is true.
      • Mar 20 2011: The opposite of the proposition "2+2=5" is not "2+2=4". The opposite of "2+2=5" is "2+2 is not equal to 5", which is true.

        Qazi it totally right about the statement "something must be false for the opposite to be true". But in order for the statement to be right, you need to define the opposite beforehand. There are no absolute universal laws that govern the universe. The math/physics laws of the universe are a result of our limited interpretation of the universe, based on a number of assumptions and constraints.

        You are saying that "the laws of the universe never change". Maybe they don't, but we'll never know, as we don't know them yet and according to Godel's Incompleteness Theorem*, we never will.

        * = Any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. In particular, for any consistent, effectively generated formal theory that proves certain basic arithmetic truths, there is an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable in the theory.
        • Mar 20 2011: Ah, good point with the 2+2 thingy! Still, there's a lot more possible false statements than true ones. I thought Qazi made it sound like some sort of balance between true and false. I just thought it created some confusing implications.

          I haven't really read anything about this subject but I disagree that math is a result of our limited interpretation of the universe. There is just no way 2+2 will ever equal 5. Rather, "our interpretations is a result of the universe", of the laws of physics and of evolution. Truth is truth, no matter if we're around or not. (Tough I feel like I'm arguing against an argument you're not making here...)

          Maybe we will never completely understand the universe, we're always going to have to assume some things, but I'm pretty sure we're closing in on something. And there are things that we actually know to be true. Yes, some people would argue against that. But what good would believing that nothing is true ever do? Not that I don't think these questions are important or interesting but I just feel like saying that "maybe the laws of the universe will change tomorrow", "maybe nothing is certain" will just get in the way of any practical understanding of the world.
      • Mar 20 2011: @Vilgot Ok, I'm with you that we need to use whatever knowledge we have, take some things for granted and build on those. I'm just saying that truth is totally subjective and is only valid under specific assumptions.

        For example you propose that "2+2=4", which however is an idealization. In the universe round numbers do not exist. When you measure for example the voltage of a 2Volts battery you will never get 2. You can only approximate it by 2. The true voltage of the battery is unknown due to noise, disturbances, energy losses etc. So taking two batteries of 2Volts and adding them up does not mean a total voltage of 4. We only *assume* that the total voltage is approximately 4, but the "absolute true voltage" is unknown. In order to know the exact voltage you will need to measure the energy of every single electron that passes through the wires, which is impossible (quantum theory). Therefore in real world "2+2=4" does not exist, only "approximately 2 + approximately 2 is approximately 4".

        So I believe, math and any math equation is an idealization of a specific real world phenomenon, and bound to an error. It never describes exactly the phenomenon, which means that it is never "absolutely true". The implication of this is that the universe will never be fully described by a theory. Perhaps approximately but never absolutely. Any truth will always be subject to failure. Can I prove this? No, but Godel did.
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          Mar 20 2011: And it is good to know that Godel did prove that (or at least that someone did, I had forgotten his name, but remembered the concept).
          If one wants to be a real scientist one has to learn to live with approximates, theories that somebody else can prove are wrong. Science is, in a way, just a way of telling stories, just like art. It many times, but not always, uses other media to do that than art, for example math.
          Every given moment in existence is so vast, so complex, so filled with energy, form, movement and matter, that there will never be a story that can be more than a glimpse of it all, whether the story is told by a scientist, religious mystic or an artist.
          That glimpse blows us away.
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          Mar 21 2011: Many problems with math, here are a few of the top of my head one is the problem of induction, math is not subject to induction. You can't inductively prove 2+2=4 because it is always going to be 4 so if it is not subject to the external world then where does our mathematical knowledge come from and by what circumstance can we define it as true knowledge. This is the problem which is outlined by Immanuel Kant.

          Aristotle's problem is is a different one, it goes along the lines that each proof can only be proven true by the contents of another proof or it ultimately bumps up against something that simply cannot be the subject of proof but it is necessary for the process of proving, in other words axioms or self evident truths which appear to have no proof or sufficient cause.
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          Mar 21 2011: I wish I could tell you more about Godel's theorem but my mathematical knowledge is not that high up there I just know he was a fascinating man.
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        Mar 21 2011: If I do not have 4 in my world, 2+2 can never equal 4.
      • Mar 23 2011: of course tautological statements must be true, did you really prove anything? the nature of these tautological statements (2 + 2 = 4) is bullshit, thats whats under suspicion here, not the conclusions of the premises.

        the conclusion of the premise 2 + 2 = 4 is true

        the premise 2 + 2 =4 is not true.

        big difference.
  • May 22 2011: Here goes...

    1. Losing most of my ego and that huge chip on my shoulder sure has made life's journey more enjoyable
    2. Alcohol has the power to turn each of us into really bad decision makers. I have never woken up and regretted staying sober the previous night, but I can't say the same about the opposite.
    3. There is no such thing as a bad child, but there are far too many bad parents in the world.
    4. Racism is the epitome of "ugly",
    5. It appears that in many cases "Blind Faith" causes people to also lose sight of tolerance, humanity, wisdom, empathy, and the ability to learn.
    6. Coffee should get a "thank you" or at least a "shout out" at most awards acceptance speeches. ...Ahhh it is such a wonderful thing.
    7. Obesity is the plague of the 21st Century in this country.
    8. Way too many people take themselves far too seriously.
    9. Ralph Waldo Emerson kicked way more ass than Arnold Schwarzenegger could ever hope to.
    10. Reading my #'s 2 through 9 tells me I need to keep working on that ego and chip on my shoulder. That was quite an unexpected outcome!!
    • May 31 2011: I like #1. I'm convinced (intellectually at least) that ego is not very good for happiness and that letting it go is probably a good idea.

      Out in the field I find it's hard to actually do though. Let's say for instance, someone slights me. I don't respond. Is it because I'm letting go of my ego? Or is it because I simply couldn't think of a "comeback"

      How do you reconcile "losing ego" with the pressures society exerts on all of us to "stick up for ourselves"?
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      Jun 3 2011: I enjoyed your thought provoking list, Jason.
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    May 2 2011: 1. Everyone has a story of hardship to tell. I am not that special.
    2. To discover your passions you must do; then do: and then do again. Each time something different.
    3. 80% of success is showing up; the other 20% happens which is magical. Just a minority of people choose to show up.
    4. Innovation can happen anywhere, in any form and by anyone.
    5. Whoever says "trust me my word is my bond"; I don't trust!
    6. If goods cross borders, then armies won't.
    7. Answer to a better world, give a damn about someone else other than yourself.
    8. People in developing nations are naturally entrepreneurial. They don't need social entrepreneurship. They need access to global markets.
    9. We are all born terminal. Which means...next truth...
    10. Live with passion; Learn with passion and you will lead with passion.
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      May 2 2011: Love #4, I think #5 is wise, Love #6 and #7.Thank you Sanj
    • May 4 2011: Sanj..passion is a great word. It throws us back to feeling something so very deeply it hurts.
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    May 1 2011: 1) We are smaller than we think we are but we are more powerful than we think we are
    2) Love is overrated i.e. it’s being used too much for too many things
    3) We’re all looking for something, rare are the ones who know what they’re looking for and even more rare are the ones who find it
    4) We take too many things for granted
    5) The world is too superficial
    6) It can happen to everyone
    7) Mankind will extinguish itself
    8) You are your worst enemy. If the sky is the limit you are your own sky
    9) Everything is temporary, everything is subject to time
    10) The world needs religion(s)/faith in something
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      May 1 2011: Love #1, #4 and #9.
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      May 2 2011: Sure hope you are wrong about #7
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        May 2 2011: Let's hope so but I'm afraid I'm right. The world isn't in balance, we all know it yet only a handful of people do something about it.
        Somewhere it is in our nature to be auto destructive, we always want more and bigger even though we know we don't need that.
    • May 4 2011: I really like #1, #3, and #10. #1 becasue that ruth does place us in context. I like #3 because in the journey of life many just wander, but they know there is something out there beyond themselves. I like #10, not just for "means of social control", but because it does express a true universal. Everyone does believe something, everyone trusts something. The real question is what you believe in and what do you trust.
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    Apr 19 2011: 10 things I know to be true:

    1- everyones has one special gift they can give to the world that noone else can, its a shame some never bother to try and find theirs
    2- the sunshine and sea breeze can make good days out of bad
    3- When you die, ur dead
    4- love is a word used too much too mean too little
    5- I believe in the idea of being a 'global citizen'
    6- its often easier to do wrong than to do right
    7- money doesnt make u happy, but not having it can make u sad
    8- Men are from marz and woman are from venus
    9. I know what i said, I have no idea what you heard
    10. Mothers are priceless
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      May 1 2011: I agree with #9 ... what we say doesn't matter as much as how it is heard.
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      May 2 2011: #1 true. #9 funny #7 I'd have to disagree, I have oft been completely broke and sometimes homeless. Money isn't a factor in happiness, without it you find other joys in life. Some of the things that bring me the most pleasure, such as very deep thought, I don't know if I'd be very into if I had money to distract me.
  • Apr 12 2011: 1. The Beatles were the best ever.
    2. I love a cold beer. Well, many cold beers, in fact.
    3. Chips and salsa are fattening and I don't care
    4. Reruns of Seinfeld still make me laugh.
    5. We all gonna die sometime. Enjoy yourself until then.
    6. I have the most beautiful wife
    7. I have the most beautiful daughters.
    8. I love a good steak.
    9. John Lennon died way too soon.
    10. The Cubs will win the world series in 2011 !!
    • Apr 12 2011: We agree on many things Jim, and I believe your word on your family. However, as a born and raised St. Louisan I must take issue with number 10 (go Cardinals!)
      This is a lovely thread all, I've really enjoyed reading it!
    • May 2 2011: George too
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      May 2 2011: I loved #7- I wish a you a long and happy marriage- You are clearly already on the right track!
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    Mar 24 2011: 1. Somthing exists
    2. Only 2 things can be known to be true.
    3. See 2
    4. See 2
    5. See 2
    6. See 2
    7. See 2
    8. See 2
    8. See 2
    10. Douglas Adams is a GOD!
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    Mar 24 2011: 1. Every drop of pain is exceedingly valuable and precious beyond words.
    2. Children are the best at showing honest emotion
    3. If I put a piece of pizza on the counter and wait a million years it will be a very old piece of pizza but not have become a new species
    4. To teach effectively, I must remember that it does not matter what I know, it only matters what I can effectively communicate and give my students
    5. We are not nearly as strong at teaching math and science as subjects to be appreciated and enjoyed on a continuum as we are with music and art, thus the abundance of those declaring "I don't like math." No one says, "I don't like music."
    6. Collaboration will one day be its own subject taught in secondary schools.
    7. We underestimate the abilities of our own brains dramatically
    8. There is evil and there is good and one day good will win
    9. Not everyone likes me
    10. Enough people like me
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      Mar 24 2011: Mary, I love the hopefulness of #8.
    • Mar 24 2011: I love this Mary, especially number 1, 9 and 10 oh and 8.... actually it is all great!
      • Mar 24 2011: Toni, I agree with you
  • Mar 23 2011: I woudln't be able to answer your question because the epistemological qualifiers are too rough, so let me just say "what i think", heres what i think

    1. life is nothing but matter in motion
    2. everything i believe say and think is based off personal experience + books
    3. emotions are the underlying motivational factor behind most actions
    4. virtue and power are the same thing in the ultimate sense, a study of pleasure and pain and its relationship to action.
    5. character is possible to both create and discover because we have plastique minds.
    6. mirror neurons allow us to simulate other peoples worlds, so communication isnt out of the blue its via simulation.
    7. faces have intrinsic value, i dont know why.
    8. death is unexpected, so appreciate life because its short.
    9. our adaptive unconscious is more powerful than our waking conscious if we can shape it through our decision making into smooth pattern recognition.
    10. we lie to ourselves.
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      Mar 24 2011: Will you explain 'smooth pattern recognition' please? Thanks :) great list!
  • Mar 22 2011: 1. Initial passionate love has little to do with the health and/or longevity of a relationship
    2. We all have a predisposition (or lack thereof) for happiness – some of us have to work harder for it than others
    3. My monthly cycles has a huge impact on my mood
    4. Little kids just want to love. It breaks my heart to see a little kid struggling with the confusion of loving a parent who mistreats them.
    5. Accepting things as they are and appreciating the small good things makes for a happier life
    6. We inhibit ourselves – nerve is what holds me back from living a better life
    7. Breaking up is hard but always worth attacking head-on. If it’s got to happen, be brave and do it now.
    8. Most people are doing the best that they can
    9. No child deserves meanness by adults
    10. Life events do not alter your level of happiness long term (marriage, money, kids, etc.) You are who you are and happiness comes from within.
    • Mar 23 2011: i agree with your point on happiness. most of the time we think we will be happy if we have money, fame and success. doing so we miss all the small good things that we have. i think thats one reason why people are unhappy.
    • Mar 23 2011: i dont know where you get the concept of little kids who struggle with confusion of loving their parents who mistreat them but this is so true. this confusion turns out to be costly when they grow up. i can relate to this with my personal life in some way. i am so glad that u wrote that because it kind of helped me to understand why i find difficult to get away from people even though i know they are using me. thanks
  • Mar 22 2011: 1.) The answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42.

    Everything else stems from that. ;)
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    Mar 21 2011: There are only two things I know to be true:

    1. I was born.
    2. I will die.

    Everything in between is a matter of perspective.
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    Mar 20 2011: 1. The way I see things are not the way they are, they are just the way I see things.
    2. The truth is impermanent - it changes with time, growth, and circumstances.
    3. There is a variance to the issue of lying - we all do it in some form
    4. We are missing many distinctions and enough vocabulary to speak robustly about the truth and lies. The absolute black and white terminology we use to declare if there is a truth or a lie (you are honest or a liar) is not ample to get to the heart of whatever is truly going on.
    5. The opportunity and right to travel deserves to be held equivalent to our right to be educated.
    6. Kindness is non-negotiable.
    7. We are bearing witness to a huge shift in consciousness is currently occurring and being expressed in the Middle East and Africa.
    8. Guilt does not serve us well.
    9. Philanthropy extends beyond giving money and its our responsibility as citizens to give back.
    10. We all have a right and responsibility to live a 'good' life.
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    Mar 20 2011: 1. There is no skill more worthy of practice than the ability/propensity to imagine how other people feel in their circumstances.

    2. Knowledge is exceptionally necessary and beautiful; but knowledge is just one subset of character, which is even more valuable. The gap between knowledge and character is the difference between knowing the right thing to do and consistently doing it!

    3. Uncomfortable actions and uncomfortable truths are a big part of life, so it's unwise to be too comfortable.

    4. Our lives are entirely what we make of them, and entirely what we are dealt. The two billion of us currently with internet access have been dealt a beautiful hand.

    5. We are all roughly 99% genetically identical. This perspective can make human history, our present circumstances, and our daily interactions all the more tragic, beautiful, or interesting.

    6. In many cases, there can be no peace without justice and no justice without genuine understanding. (This is why #1 and #2 are so important!)

    7. Learning is biological, not rational; we're mammals, not machines.

    8. Real life/truth is emotional, interdisciplinary, and experimental.

    9. If you want something done, do it now -- tomorrow never comes!

    10. Sarah Kay is a brilliant, inspiring young woman who I'm sure we'll all see more of in the future. I really like this project!

    Thank you all for sharing!
  • Mar 20 2011: 1.is a number
    2.is the number after 1
    3.is the number after 2
    4.is the number after 3
    5.is the number after 4
    6.is the number after 5
    7.is the number after 6
    8.is the number after 7
    9.is the number after 8
    10.isn't the number after 10
    (Warning:These facts are only true in a number set where only integers or natural numbers exist with the exception of fact 1.)
  • Mar 20 2011: 1. There’s no shame in asking for help. There are some things one should never do alone.
    2. The laughter of your own child has power over the worst day you’ve ever had.
    3. Belief in magic, fairies and toys coming to life keeps you young.
    4. Marrying your friend makes for a fantastic marriage.
    5. Things that cannot be done in a day: 1. Build Rome 2. Learn to play the piano 3. Speak a foreign language 4. Potty train a 2 year old.
    6. You can go home again.
    7. There is no amount of training, book reading or attending of classes that will adequately prepare you to be a teacher. It’s a different view from the other sides of the desks where you have to stand with 30 pairs of eyes on you just waiting for you to say something pithy.
    8. Starting smoking is the dumbest thing one can do. Ask a smoker if they regret starting and you’ll get the same answer.
    9. Obsessing over one thing will destroy all other things in your life.
    10. Mel Brooks is a genius.

    I know it’s supposed to be a list of ten, but I can’t help myself.

    11. Starring in a musical or wearing tights for a Shakespearean play will not make you gay. (I have to tell my students this all the time)
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      Mar 20 2011: Number 2. is true for me also, number 11. not so sure, I practically fell on the floor when my acting school said we had to ware a dance belt.
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        Mar 20 2011: i liked number 5... it's true for all of us i hope