TED Conversations

Casey Christofaris

Owner, CS3 Inc


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Is evolution/religion/everything a self fulfilling prophecy?

What separates us from the rest of species? Recognition of self right? Some will want to argue that there are other species that can recognize self. But then you need to ask well do they recognize self do to our experiments and what we have defined as self recognition or is it innately in them? So is it that we recognize self because of them through evolution or do they recognize self do to us? A bird called the magpie is self aware using the mirror test. It’s easy now to look in a mirror and say yep that’s me, but it’s a million times harder to say that this is just a visual representation of trillions of moving, living, self-replicating entities.

This is the principles that I would like to use in defining self fulfilling prophecy:
Robert Merton's concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy stems from the Thomas theorem, which states that "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."[2] According to Thomas, people react not only to the situations they are in, but also, and often primarily, to the way they perceive the situations and to the meaning they assign to these perceptions. This causes people to have negative viewpoints. Therefore, their behavior is determined in part by their perception and the meaning they ascribe to the situations they are in, rather than by the situations themselves. Once people convince themselves that a situation really has a certain meaning, regardless of whether it actually does, they will take very real actions in consequence.

So we are just a bunch of self replicating entities that have evolved in to a self recognizing being. Will history keep repeating its "self"?


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      Nov 8 2012: Good day Carolyn,

      We are the personal drive, personal choice is the only free will we have, it is this personal choice that can not be measured. We are the multiverse. And we can get out of this philosophical lock down, but is going to take the largest lets agree to disagree conversations ever. Debates can be ended, but see it more as a dance of words then an argument of mind.

      I hope this helps, let me know if I need to better explain my words
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          Nov 8 2012: Good day Carolyn,

          Never be afraid to say what is on your mind. I promise you I am not here to try to attack you or your beliefs. Unfortunately we have to have something similar to the agree to disagree argument.(I am certainly not suggesting that this is the only way or path, just a way a path.)

          I never like to talk in absolutes but it almost has to be a black and white conversation/debate. Because that is one of the longest debates since the "beginning of time". Much like this, which came first the chicken or the egg? The universe has been having the same argument/conversation; which came first light? or Darkness? The interesting thing is that neither of them can exist with out the other, you cant have creation with out destruction. This argument can be seen throughout history as black/white, red/blue, us/them, positive/negative. However as far as intent in the end process is peace, which can be seen as harmony. The interesting thing about perspective and peace is that one's definition of what is peaceful will never be seen the same way. I personally think that going out to shoot a gun is very peaceful, but many could/would see this as violence. So it about finding peace/harmony as defined in the individual.
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      Nov 8 2012: Carolyn, you perceive this debate to be a philosophical lock down. You perceive that Casey wants our experiences to be different from what they are. But that's the point. There is no lock down unless we perceive it. Instead of experiencing our own expectations of reality (what it should be in the future based on what it was in the past), we should experience reality as it is NOW.

      Here are two wonderful TED talks on this issue. Some people find Dan Dennett's talk disappointing and irritating - but that's only because it does not fulfill expectations of these people which is the point of his talk.


      And here is another talk suggesting to stay "in the moment":

      Now, to the question, what our life "should be". The answer is in what our life "is" - a cycle or a combination of intertwining cycles. What I seek in life is to understand what these cycles are and keep them flowing without interruptions - blood, oxygen, nutrients through my body; balanced income and expenses in my financial life - hoarding is bad, debt is worse; mutual care in relationships; balanced rest and exhaustion. Balance is harmony. We should not deliberately strive to be something we are not. We should always remember to return to our "self". To me, that's the formula for happiness. Life for the life's sake.

      I love the phrase from "The Lorax" movie: "A tree falls in the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean."

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