TED Conversations

Linda Taylor


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Before I die I want to...

I thought this was a very inspiring talk. I think the responses that the artist was able to elicit brought forth both the humor and drama of the human experience. I thought maybe we could continue what Candy Chang started.

So please, how would you finish this sentence:

Before I die I want to...


Closing Statement from Linda Taylor

Thank you all for sharing your goals and dreams. May you all be blessed with their achievement.

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    Dec 2 2012: No offence, but it is a brutal question. It is important, if not ultimate, but it's brutal and should never have been asked.
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      Dec 2 2012: I have a couple of question because your response is so intriguing. Why is the question brutal? Do you really think that the category of brutal questions should never be asked?
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        Dec 2 2012: I find your question brutal because it is totally devoid of delicacy. It reaches to some personal depths which are generally better left unexplored unless someone reveals them without being asked.

        I find such questions of very little use, as hardly anybody is able to answer them truthfully. Not because they are liers but simply because their understanding does not reach so deep.

        And mainly because of this, such extremely personal questions (not delicate and therefore brutal) should not be asked.

        The issues they touch should come out on their own, or via delicate questions.
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          Dec 2 2012: Thank you Jedrek. I guess as an American we are more brutal than most. It is not uncommon for us to ask these types of indelicate questions. But we also use humor to address awkward questions.

          The reader is allowed to take the question as deep as they like. In Candy's video one of her respondents said he 'wanted to be arrested for piracy.' He was in full pirate costume.

          I do appreciate your honesty about the question.
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          Dec 7 2012: Jedrek,
          I agree with Linda, that the participant can take the question as deep as they like... or not...it is a choice.

          I don't think you can honestly speak for "someone", "anybody", "their understanding", "they", "their".....

          You are speaking for yourself, and perhaps there is something "brutal" there for you personally?

          You have the opportunity to participate in this discussion or not my friend.

          Before I die, I want to continue truly living, which embraces exploring all aspects of myself, the human experience, and all those I share the experience with.

          Good question Linda:>)
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      Dec 3 2012: The notion that there are questions that should not be asked troubles me. I understand the need to ask them with concern and respect for the person expected to answer. But not asking?
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        Dec 3 2012: There is a difference between not asking and not asking directly, and this is my whole point here. You do not ask people you meet 'what is your sexual orientation?' right in the face. There are many ways to learn it.
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          Dec 3 2012: I think a lot of people on the planet are not interested in thinking about it as they are more interested in just living day to day, i would say 3/4's of the planet is of this opinion, i know many who will never realize their dreams. Life is harsh and death is always standing behind you, i've never met anyone who has ever outrun him but yes Jed there are rituals of communication that take time. Just stating the hope of doing something doesn't fully convey the full richness of listening to someone talk to you about it in person.

          I've got to buy another phone as my old one crapped out, i'm loathe to get one as i'm feeling kind of released, the world has taken on an uncertain quality about it. It's rather refreshing not knowing.
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          Dec 3 2012: I believe I understand your point Jedrek.

          Not everyone needs to ask everyone else every possible question. But the power rests with the person asked, not the person asking. You don't care for Linda's question and can choose not to answer it whereas others feel differently.

          We each deal with comments and questions in forums such as this however we wish, but I can't think of a question that will offend me solely because it was asked. Many I won't answer, including many that will make me think less of the person asking. But none I'll take offense to.

          BTW, the Candy Chang "Before I Die" talk Linda referenced is worth seeing.
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          Dec 7 2012: Jedrek,
          There are a couple notable differences in the example you give.

          1. There are many different sexual orientations, so one might wonder why one asks that question "right in the face", as you say.

          2. This question was offered on a forum, and you have a choice whether or not you want to participate. The question was not put to you personally...."right in the face". YOU chose to engage in this discussion, and you have the opportunity to end your participation at any time....it is a choice. I suggest that you started to participate because you are curious?
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        Dec 7 2012: That is the point. I started to participate because I was curious and wanted to answer it, but like I said - the answer to this question lies so deep that it really takes an artist to express it. Otherwise, what we say is simply banal. My answer to this question would be somewhat simiar to yours, Colleen, but do not take any offence if I say that what you said a couple of lines above is banal. Because it is. Every time we try to answer a question like this (or 'what is the meaning of life') we simply make things sound shallow and unimportant. To use a nice metaphore - It is the feeling you get when you undress and put on your swimming glasses, but the lake turns out to be only ankle-deep.

        That is why I say that such questions are simply better left unanswered. Or answerd indirectly by artists.
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          Dec 7 2012: Well Jedrek, if you wanted to participate because you were curious, hang in with it my friend!

          I have seen many of your comments, and you are good with expressing yourself, so try not to be afraid to do so. We are all going to die....it is not a mystery.....so I don't understand why you perceive it as "brutal"......and I respect your feelings. If you want to share that, I would like to listen....if not....it's ok.

          You say my comment is common? Ordinary? Perhaps that is true because I am a common, ordinary person. I'm not offended.

          I like your metaphore....I agree!

          What I have discovered in these discussions Jedrek, is that sometimes comments may start on a rather banal level, and if participants want to, the topic grows in depth. I often put out the first thing that comes to my mind, and build on that....make any sense?
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          Dec 7 2012: @Jedrek and Colleen,
          Candy Chang is an artist and I think the point was so the topic can grow in depth.

          Personally, I want to learn to ride a motorcycle before I die. Been wanting to do that for 25 years. On my list for this summer.

          I think the question is about goals. Long or short term is ok. They can be grandiose or small. It is just to inspire reflection.
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        Dec 8 2012: I keep my fingers crossed for your dream to get realized this summer, Linda. Sorry for being so acidic around your question.
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          Dec 8 2012: Observation.....you seem afraid, rather than acidic.
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          Dec 8 2012: Dear Jedrek,
          You gave my comment a thumbs up, so you agree? I'm wondering if you watched
          Candy Chang's video?
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        Dec 8 2012: I have just watched it. It's not my type of talks.

        For Christ sake, when you go out to the public keep your sob stories to yourself. Or if you do tell them, make sure you're strong enough not to cry. It makes people feel awkward. For my part, I am unable to feel the same emotions as the speaker and it makes me feel dumb if I am not crying as well. One usually makes some kind of a stupid face which makes things even worse.

        By the way, the results of the experiment were, well, ordinary to say the least. Some answers were serious (banal) some were funny (a comedian is much closer to reality anyway) but what did we find out from them?

        Life is really profound and serious but its seriousness is eluding people.
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          Dec 8 2012: I understand Jedrek....we all have different preferences regarding what we choose to watch.

          If your advice is for me, I will take it under advisement. The reason I share my stories is to encourage and support other people with challenges they are facing. Crying is not a bad thing, in my perception....I don't mind crying. I think people have a choice to feel awkward....or not. I respect your feelings about crying. You are not "dumb" Jedrek. Because of your comments, it seems like you are a very insightful person.

          I think we found out EXACTLY what you say....some answers were serious, some funny, some ordinary...etc. We are all different, and we all address topics in different ways....don't you think?

          I agree...life is really profound and serious. My mom used to tell me that humor is just as serious as other "serious" aspects of the human "condition", and I believe that to this day:>)
          Maybe that connects with your comment about a comedian being closer to reality?
          I appreciate your response Jedrek....thanks:>)
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          Dec 8 2012: "Life is really profound and serious but its seriousness is eluding people."

          I think I understand now our differences. For me only a tiny part of life is seriousness. Most of life is joy and laughter and love. But that is simply how I see the world. The seriousness part is merely to sustain the rest.

          I really appreciate your response. It is not one I would have envisioned and I enjoy seeing the world from a different point of view. Thank you for the opportunity to see the world through your eyes.
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      Dec 8 2012: Dear Jedrek,
      I just watched a documentary about Warsaw (where your profile says you live), the history, death and devestation that happened there. I'm wondering if that knowledge impacts your worldview? I don't need to know unless you choose to share that with us.
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        Dec 13 2012: In a nutshell: my worldview is probably more affected by the winter weather here than the knowledge obout the history of the city.

        It is good that you ask, however, because your question made me realize how little does history affect our daily actions and thoughts. I know it's bad, and that if we do not learn on our mistakes the history will repeat itself (they say it does anyway), but what can we do?

        If you are in Warsaw next time, I'll show you around, Colleen.
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          Dec 13 2012: Thank you Jedrek for your reply and kind offer. Perhaps someday, before I die, I will visit Warsaw, which looks very interesting and beautiful. The closest I have been is Switzerland, Germany and Russia.

          It appears that our weather is comparable, although it is warmer today where I am...33F and sunny. It appears that Warsaw is 19F and cloudy. I live in the north-east USA close to the Canadian border, in Vermont.

          I believe that certain areas in our world have certain energy....and perhaps our history contributes to that feeling? The documentary I mentioned was about the beauty, construction and re-construction of Warsaw, as well as some of the sad history. As I watched the parts about the beauty, which I appreciate, I also felt aware of the sadness. Maybe that's because it had just been presented to me in the documentary.

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