TED Conversations

Terry Torok

Founder at Angel Producers, Founder at Live from Earth


This conversation is closed.

Why were YOU were born?

What is your Why and How are You? So what if it matters... The why can be a wild discovery about yourself, an interesting moment when and if, you discover it... and very amazing if you will share it here. [thank you]


Closing Statement from Terry Torok

{sorry, a last minute iphone edit placed an inadvertent extra "were"} Some people believe the most important day of thier life is the day you discover WHY you were born. The individual true stories below relate to the power of parenting and being at peace with (or without) the pursuit of the "why". I was inspired and amazed by the open sharing of each story of Why. And Why not, when you considered the interesting people who participated! Thank you.

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    Feb 10 2013: As a child... I remember everywhere my Dad went... I would see faces light up... I never have seen him have a negative thought about another person...

    Recently... He celebrated his 80th birthday... and... We had a card shower for him... He received 140 cards... One Childhood friend commented on my facebook page... that the reason all the kids love and loved him... was because he made them feel special... It's true...

    It is really easy to lift someone... especially when you are looking for the best in them... and... that one very important lesson my Dad taught me... makes my life beautiful... "Since most learn by imitation... they need models rather than critics..." -unknown

    Although, there are over 45 projects I have planned.... I would say that the reason I was born is... I hope that each person I meet will have the opportunity to see the mirror reflection of their own beauty in my eyes...

    that really is the reason I was born...
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      Feb 10 2013: ...
      Re:markable Hal, thank you for this. Thanks for great fathers too. {i had one loved by everyone} It seems your dad had the gift of being truly INTERESTED in people, and thus he was truly INTERESTING, and made everyone feel special. Strong and true, thank you for a perfect reflection.
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        Feb 10 2013: Thank you Terry...

        It was my privilege!

        May your brilliant work, voice and vision continue to expand and prosper... and... Illuminate the World around you!
  • Jan 27 2013: I like to think my reason is my own but it isn't, I'm not here for me. Lives are leaves on a tree of stories, they go back and back all the way to the root of humanity, we all fall eventually making the ground furtile for yet more stories. We all touch each other even if we don't know it and for me that's the why, my story isn't just mine it belongs to my mother who loves me, to my farther I've never met who might wonder about me sometimes. It belongs to my grand-dad who I nursed in his last years and to the bully who picked on my in school and emailed me a few years back to apologize and explain his own growing pains. And now it belongs to you as well, just for reading this.
  • Feb 9 2013: In my late teens I had a breakdown, and after coming around I began seeking answers to questions about life's meaning and how I fit in it. After several years of this, I eventually found my calling serving the needs of individuals with mental and develomental disabilities. The purpose of my life is to directly or indirectly assist others in their growth and development through love, patience and empathy.
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      Feb 9 2013: I am feel very lucky you contributed this Steve... thank you. Noting my son is developmentally disabled, [short on language and motor skills, strong on love and motor sounds!] and i thank those beautiful people that choose to assist special needs people... for some of us, and perhaps you too, it chose us. So thank you immensely for what you do. I hope someday I could support you in your path and we break through the ceiling of limits...

      From my son, I receive tons of love and a deep lesson in patience and perserverance ever day. What a gift. And man, thank you for yours.
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      Feb 10 2013: Empathy, patience, love allow us to live in a better world

      Hi Steve:) We are all here for a brief time and living this life is about give and take. We provide a service we get paid. That enables us to give money to someone else and get food and shelter for our family. The person who got it then can give it the same way, everyone's basic human needs are met forward. Through give and take the most fundamental requirement for being HUMAN = DIGNITY is preserved. At first glance a special needs person seems like a taker not a giver. And it is only after spending time with one that we learn that they are the ones who give without taking anything from this world. They are here to make us better humans, maybe even help us get our wings and become Angels ;-) I wish everyone would sit through watching this entire film: " An Infinite Tenderness(Une Infinie Tendresse)1970"-

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    Aki N

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    Feb 6 2013: I like this question :)

    This might be too poetic or abstract, but when I think about why I was born, my thought spreads and go beyond every aspect like cultural, social, historical, scientific and in the end I would say....I was born "because I'm a part of a flow". I don't know where the flow starts and where it ends, I don't know what the "flow" is, but it's huge, I feel it's moving, a flow becomes a flow since it moves, it moves, that's why I was born and will disappear, as everything does.
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      Feb 6 2013: ...

      Perfectly Poetic Aki, thank you. I have been often been accused of being too esoteric and abstract... somehow it all makes perfect sense in my head (!) My friend and TEDster Jeff Walker described certain life moments in similar terms as... collective flow, heightened by moments when humankind is aligned in emotion and energy.... when you feel it or help create it, you can help guide a flow in a possible and positive action.

      My only thought on you, or any of us disappearing... perhaps the flow continues, and even for those in another time, it's like sound that never actually disappears, it quiets by a reduction equation... IF true, we might as well make a beautiful noise on this one ride... IF not, then we might as well make a beautiful noise on this one ride. It's a great moment in history to find, humans kind. thank you for yours Aki.
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        Feb 6 2013: I think the idea of times of great collective flow and synergy is often called the zeitgeist, though it is a different use of the term than the movement and movie that also use that label.
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        Aki N

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        Feb 11 2013: Thank you for your comments, "never actually disappear", yes, we might be able to say so in a way when we think that every creature is dissolved and goes back to elements which are a part of natural circulation. It reminds me of "immortal jelly fish" called Turritopsis nutricula, which is transformed into the polyps of a new polyp colony so theoretically, never die. But I think "content"of jelly fish (sorry I don't know how to say biologically) is exchanged and never same as the one before, so it may be "different individual" then definition of immortality throw questions to us.

        I didn't know the word zeitgeist. Actually the movie looks interesting. I will check it out, thank you.
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      Feb 9 2013: Congratulations on Fatherhood, with respect, it's all good. Craig, thank you for deciding to make this contribution. Even though we are in control of decisions, they don't all come with ease do they?

      Nothing like a new child to to awaken new thought... even if, it's 3 AM.
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        Feb 10 2013: Dear Terry,
        Anybody ever tell you the life experience would "come with ease"?.......guess I missed that memo...LOL:>)
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      Feb 10 2013: Craig,
      Kudos to you for realizing the wonderful gifts children can bring to us simply by "being" children...very curious, open, trusting, honest, and unconditionally loving. We can learn SO much from them about how to truly "BE" in the life adventure. I agree that being aware of our ability to make choices is very powerful! Well said my friend:>)
  • Jan 17 2013: I was born to survive. Simply surviving the first 6 minutes of my life on earth has had implications for me that will last my whole life: living with physical difference, learning how to deal with pain and face its true source, discovering, after years of closing myself off to the world, that opening yourself up gives rich experiences and beautiful relationships with others, even those that last but a second.

    I was born to learn from my survival, to explore all the lessons it has offered me, and to then share what I've learned with others. Rather than wish I had gone on to another plane, which I have spent some of my life thinking, I am now grateful for this opportunity to be here and humbled by the lessons I am learning with joy.

    I was born to help others through my experiences, and to be constantly reminded by the experiences I have to stay open-minded, thereby creating more positive energy in the world. My mum told me recently that I'm a happy person and I agree. I was born to be happy, and when I am happy, that happiness spreads to those around me!

    I was born to connect with others, to share ideas, and challenge people in the way they think. And all because I was born! It's exciting to think about really!
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      Jan 17 2013: Hannah this is beautiful, you are amazing, you absolutely must be a great connector, you are a perfect conductor of happiness, thanks for orchestrating these words, excited to know where your life is leading!
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    Feb 9 2013: Wonderful Q, Terry--

    I'm reluctant to say I 'know' anything in any absolute way. Which maybe informs my 'Why' I was born. But, here's what I've got:

    I expect my 'Why' is to use my abilities for perceiving, seeing, assessing and communicating the intersections where axiomatic dissonances and connections merge, or could. And use my 'puzzle'-solving abilities to conceive ways to maximize this 'rare space.' I tend to look beyond, around or underneath what everyone else sees--it's more interesting for me to seek what isn't known. There is often such rich illuminations in these lesser-observed or trod vistas--often quite profound. In them I find deeper, more authentic patterns that offer untapped if not more elegant answers. As these come into sight, I feel compelled to share them with others in ways they too can perceive and act on them.

    I suspect my purpose is to be a bridge to other views and ways of different people, environments and experiences. There seems a spiritual element in this all. It draws me in, erases fears others might have and 'fuels' me in unexplainable and transcendent ways.

    In fact, I've experienced a palpable 'awakening' of this all. Until the last decade or so I was far more instinct-based, much less conscious of it. But during a transformative time around 2000, I began intentionally orienting my work/life/spirituality around my 'purpose, passion and predicament.'

    Purpose hints at my "Why," of course. Passion gets at my "How," somewhat. When I feel compelled in an "can't hold back," way to whatever. Predicament also addresses "How," It's where I live, what stages my family is at, our relative health, financial status, etc. As well as my current abilities: what I'm credentialed, qualified or able to do, given numerous variables.

    Most gratifyingly, I'm increasingly aware of much 'evidence' of my 'Why' and 'How,' via 'too-coincidental' coincidences and others' resonant observations. All inspire me to 'go with- and grow with it' all.

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      Feb 9 2013: Wonderful and insightful answers Andrea - thank you... if your are a bridge, then a very gracious, elegant one that connects in many directions on many levels. [something we could use in NYC when the GWB backs up]

      Do you find that your awakening occurred because you simply gave yourself some devoted time or permission to focus on you? or was it a longer journey of discover while life pulled you in many directions?
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        Feb 9 2013: Ah! The GWB would be a great challenge: nice and tangly, with bonus of many grumps thrown in. Reminds me of when OWS backed it up. I'd have loved to wade in and bridge cars with CEOs and protesters with placards. But that's over, so, I'll offer this: I like trudging through deep snow in my Sorrels, too: what fun it would be to mediate Manhattanites on the GWB this coming Monday a.m.

        Now, to your Q.

        I've always been reflective and curious, so some of this I've been aware of for some time, particularly the spiritual and passions for seeing deeper/beyond and bridging diversities. But I only began engaging this all with intention when my second child was born, three months premature. At the time I was in the corporate world, consulting after having left the tech-company I'd founded shortly after my daughters birth, two years before. I had to drop everything for my son's care, which included being 'quarantined' with him at home, to protect his frail immune system.

        I was pretty sure I'd go crazy from the stress and lack of mental stimulation, and shared this with a friend. She suggested I use the time to reflect my bigger picture more deeply. I'd been doing so in fits and starts, but hadn't quite been able to put it all together. She suggested I read Parker Palmer's "Let Your Life Speak," which I found insightful and empowering.

        What came out of all this was a new career as a journalist--it connected a Passion (writing) with my Predicament (family needs). Purpose was less defined, except that I was committed to insuring I snuck empathic human connections in my articles. A profile I did on a civic engagement guru seduced me into community organizing. I sought him later on an initiative I led. The work was idealistic if not overly-so, but I was smitten. A leading thinker in the field covered my work in a book.

        As I read his "Citizen Solution" all came into clarity, fully opening my eyes, mind and heart to my Why and How--and to ongoing iterations of both.

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      Feb 10 2013: ' Purpose, passion and predicament.'

      Thank you Andrea for your inspiration , Great to see you :) Long time!!

      I like your 3 'P's and the inspiration in the way you 'found' your way... When I was about 9 years old, I learned something that shaped my concept of 'predicament' and planted a question in my mind, which I am still searching for answers to. The book I read was a biography of Vincent Van Gogh. He had purpose and he had passion. He was a highly empathic purposeful person (initially trained himself to be a priest). He was capable of feeling essential beauty of life and even transferring that passion through his genius to others. And despite the fact that everyone "gets" his art 80 years afterwards, he was unable to make himself understood in 'real time' (during his time on earth), which put him in a 'predicament' that did not support his own life. So the question that has been in the back of my head, all these years, is what could Vincent Van Gogh have done to live a decent full life?
      I look forward to hearing from you and Terry and others here and if this thread is closed then in another:-)
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        Feb 10 2013: Juliette,

        Good to connect here on TED, again. And, thanks to Terry for 'getting us here' with a great Q.

        This Van Gogh 'predicament' is indeed worth pondering, Juliette. I wonder how his path might parallel others. Steve Jobs comes to mind. Of course, his passion wasn't most specifically art, but it most certainly was in the realm: design that conveys essential, transferable empathy--via consumer products. The upshot for Jobs: he usually was paid--while Van Gogh wasn't as well.

        I also wonder how our host, here, Terry might answer this thought re: Van Gogh. Terry, from what little I know, has translated similar energies via his 'day job.'

        All this reminds me of 'Citizen Professionalism' a word and practice developed by my first (and still) civic engagement advisor, Bill Doherty. This reframing of purpose/passion with predicament more specifically understood as ones profession, blends vocation with avocation with community. In other words, taking ones' professional skills and abilities a 'step further' into civic endeavors which one is passionate about and supporting them with ones' professional gifts.

        Here's a couple of essays I wrote on the themes:

        This one addresses how Bill himself practices it, as a therapist/leader: http://dynamicshift.org/archives/coaches-time-to-train-citizen-fathers

        And, this offers examples from his Citizen Professional Center:

        Finally, as for Van Gogh, I wonder how he could have 'conspired' (perhaps did) with artists and producers like those covered in Lary May's The Big Tomorrow: Hollywood and the Politics of the American Way. Van Gogh, of course, might have been more interested in European politics.

        May shows how artists and others in creative fields parlayed their purpose and passion into their predicament during the Great Depression. They demonstrate wonderful ways to if not be 'understood' in their times, to at least impact them.

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          Feb 11 2013: Thank you Andrea for sending me your wonderful link. I don’t even know where to begin describing my joy of it’s discovery. What a great resource!! You are a deep thinker and a very talented writer. I know I will be referring to your words and spreading them around on and off TED. (already did today!) Your perspective is refreshing, quite timely, and inspirational.

          Bill Doherty & Brad Fiedler are both amazing men!! Reading about “citizen fathers” is like reading that a new river is flowing into a desert valley. The lag in development of consciousness in this area, was becoming discouraging & I hope “Fatherhood Project” is sharing their teachings with the world.

          Dynamic shift - is the most pressing need of humanity right now. Which brings us right to Steve and Vincent. Steve was able to open a long forgotten ‘door’ that no one else had opened before him, he built a ‘bridge’ and left it for the rest of the world to cross. I often think of him in my head and keep bouncing ideas off to figure a solution for Vincent:-) It is like we are all built with both sides of the brain, but we have been trained and educated only in one. Kind of like an engine with two cylinders in which only the left one has been firing for the past few hundred yrs causing us to move very inefficiently and not always forward in direction.

          Its been a pleasure talking with you all on the TTB....down to the last ‘minute’... I look forward to ‘seeing’ you again soon and continue our co-creation of a solution for Vincent!

          Meanwhile this is for magical Brad;
          (I am sure he has already watched all videos Nick Vujicic)
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        Feb 11 2013: Juliette --

        You are a light of energy, thanks for you kind words and your 'shares' of mine wherever you feel they might add something.

        And what a delight to connect the Brad story with Steve's powerful story. I can't wait to share the link you sent to him. And, meanwhile, will send another you and Steve might like.

        This one about David, a young man with serious neurological damage, and serious leadership skills-- on the basketball court, of all things:


        All best!

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    Feb 2 2013: ....

    When and IF you discover or believe WHY you were born, does it drive HOW you live your life...?

    [Thank you for your thoughts and thumbs above and below...]
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      Feb 4 2013: Hi again Terry,
      To follow up on my previous statement regarding WHY.........

      "Does it drive HOW you live your life?"

      I don't feel any sense of being "driven".....unless we're talking about being in the drivers seat! The idea of how and why does not drive me.....I do feel, however that I am in the drivers seat of the life experience, with many choices along the life journey. The ideas of how and why do not drive me, I drive the ideas of how and why...make any sense?

      What I stated previously:
      "... it all depends on how I choose to use each and every moment in the life adventure. From the time I was a wee little child, I always had the feeling that life was about learning, growing and evolving as an individual, while contributing to the whole. I have always felt like an explorer....adventurer....observer in the life experience, while also actively participating. That idea embraces every single moment of my existance on this earth school. To me, it really feels very simple:>)"

      I like exploring the life/death cycle with curiosity, and I feel good about not knowing some things, because that adds to the adventure. When we "think" we have all the answers, we (humans) sometimes stop the exploration, which, in my humble perception, causes life to be less interesting:>)

      Thank YOU for the questions Terry, which cause us to ponder:>)
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      Feb 5 2013: Your question :) or 'assignment' maybe a more fitting word :) I am 'working' on it :) Thanks :)
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        Feb 5 2013: yes... thank you for this Julliette... it starts with a question, or an adventure assignment, letting curiosity seep through the rocks for sure. Invite our subconscious to consider the concept. In my experience, answers occur... likely unexpected in timing and insight. I'll be right here...
  • Jan 25 2013: My mother had more than 17 miscarriages before I was conceived, so my birth was received with great enthusiasm and excitement. I know I am here for a special reason. All my life I have been a generous person, with my love, joy, possessions....however, I have also been looking for reciprocity to my generosity, which, to tell the truth I have found lacking. It is until this period in my life that I have come to realize that I am here to GIVE, and that in giving I have actually received immense joy and satisfaction. I am the founder of a kindergarten and elementary school, so I have been fortunate enough to give love to many students who have paraded along 20 years the school has been around. Children are so spontaneous with their love and feelings, it has been a blessing to be amongst them and to GIVE them my love and understanding.
    My husband died eight years ago, and since then I have been trying to figure out a new life without him. I has been a tough journey, but one that has allowed me to grow in unimaginable ways.
    Now I know that I was born to GIVE, without any expectation whatsoever. I am one of those fortunate people who has been given the virtue of generosity, so I am here to give, and that is and should be enough.
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      Jan 25 2013: Lillian thank you for your contribution here and in life... what an amazing journey- I would love to know more about the school you are a founder of, and how one might contribute... reinventing life pushes us to the edges of our comfort... a place to call on creativity and activity... It is true that Leaders Give, and Givers Get... thank you for your leadership and being a founder... it's tough without a partner to lean on, emotionally, spiritually, motivationally... and really hope that generosity flows right back to you in ways of joy and abundance... please let us know about your school too !
  • Jan 21 2013: I was born because it made sense at that time to have 2 kids.

    Social pressure sometimes gets to me and convinces me that I have to be special, that I need a purpose, that I'm going somewhere, but I have come to find that looking for a purpose didn't make me happy.

    My life has absolutely no purpose, and that's the way I like it. Although I have to fight everyday to stay real. Some might call it a purpose, but for me it's pure survival. It's moving my consciousness from my brain down to my guts.

    Thanks for opening this discussion and taking the pulse of TED fans.
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      Jan 21 2013: omg, I think this is one of the starkest, plainest, and truest identifications of reason-for-being. hilarious and RIGHT! : )

      i was born because my mom and dad believe in the chinese zodiac and needed my symbol to "balance the household" lol (more common than ppl realize...)

      my walking around in life thinking i'm "special" and need/have a "purpose" is just because said parents did a great job in the early years of convincing me of it.
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        Jan 21 2013: I always look forward to your comments Genevieve, thank you and now I can thank your parents too, they apparently plotted the zodiac perfectly... I find that you balance most TED talks... Maybe our need or belief that we have a higher purpose is a flash of fantasy, a flash of insight or a moment of truth... {i can't put "special" and "purpose" together, without thinking of Steve Martin in "The Jerk"... but his "special purpose" was the tool in procreation, a theme which continues to reoccur here and apparently everywhere} Maybe being born out of love and or passion, is a jumpstart... but then again occasionally I get the privilege of hanging out with second gen. child soldiers, some of their starts in life, were tragic at best, yet many manage a drive to live at a level of purpose, not just for themselves, which would seem enough, but also to live for others... Sorry, this was a departure from where I began, which is, Thank you, for you and the Zodiac you rode in on... ;-)
      • Jan 22 2013: I like your point, Genevieve ! My parents got a c-section appointment on the 4th day of the 4th month, with some kind of 4th dimension non-sense in mind ... to make matters worse, I became left-handed. pfffff
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      Jan 21 2013: Thank you Kamlesh, know and no social pressure... appreciate the pulse, which is pumping pretty loud, awesome thoughts.... the art of life appears processional... It's the bee & honey thing... think your headed somewhere, then at 90 degrees, you might become aware that you are pollinating part of the planet... and you didn't plan it. The buzz in our head, and the direction we head, are often not the same... just my gut, but you have a very interesting mind... appreciate your thoughts.
      • Jan 22 2013: Yeaaaaah, bee & honey, I never saw it that way before.

        I used to be obsessed with my role in this world. Every encounter was a chance to transform a life, to help reduce the amount of suffering within a person. I really thought I could influence people to become more happy, and I wanted to do it fast. Then I realized I couldn't gage where each person stood in their spiritual process, so I couldn't control how fast a thought would sink in, or if it ever would.

        So I'm learning to let it go. I'm basically trying to shut down the buzz in my head, because as you say, it's usually misleading. I remain aware that I have a role in this world, as does every piece of energy surrounding us, but I accept that I have no idea what it is. It can be scary at times and make me feel like I'm skidding, but then I look around me, and find pretty much everyone is skidding unconsciously.

        Thanks for your insights Terry, I really appreciate. Have fun with your show.
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          Jan 22 2013: this is a most honest insight - you put it right out there... thank you... feel like you read my head, but said it better)
          You never know when a 'peace' of information lands with someone, or yourself... My highschool music teacher once blurted out something profound to the class, it didn't hit me untill after college, I tracked him down to tell him years later to thank him... he was like, "I said that?" ... "yep" He said, wow, I really needed to hear that right now.
          I'm not sure if the bee has a good buzz in its head, but I hope so... should be high on all that pure pollen... lot of people talk about the butterfly analgous to people "giving back" starts as a catapillar into total consumption until munching 10x it's weight, then goes into a shell and a fantastic transformation... emmerging as a butterfly, and as the analogy goes... now able to "give back." So you can be a consumer, live large, munch away, maybe experience a transformation and give back and share your good work. The analogy is all cool, until a big bird consumes the catapillar. (oh s%¥t)
      • Jan 22 2013: then the taste of the caterpillar will be so disturbing the big bird will become a vegetarian, revealing the purpose of the caterpillar
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    Jan 21 2013: I was born to experience living; that's how I define being alive. Do I know my greatest speciality that will contribute greatly to the world? No, but I also don't think that's a reason for living. Right now, I live for an understanding. It's a rather simple concept, but it's limitless. I live for an understanding to know why the world works as it does, what is the great driving force, what makes a person a person, why do we think, how do we think, what causes us to think certain things, what is the fundamental essence of what we are and why is it that? I love physics, I love neuroscience, I love philosophy and I love art. They are not the reasons I live, though. I was not born to learn about these topics. I was born to experience them.
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      Jan 21 2013: ... amazing and beautiful words... just as are you, thank you Kim. And thank you to those who contribute next...
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        Jan 21 2013: Thank you for the compliment :)
  • Jan 11 2013: The only "why?" I can think of is because I was told to.
    I have a very clear pre-earth memory along with being able to remember and describe my birth.
    Sounds crazy, I know, but I was "out there" and a voice told me, "go down there."
    I clearly communicated that I did not want to.
    The voice (mental or vocal, I don't really know which) said, "Go. It's only for a short time."

    A reason for that has never been revealed to me.
    It's almost over now.
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      Jan 11 2013: I have never heard someone "speak" to this experience as you have... remarkable, thank you for amplifying the voice...
  • Feb 9 2013: Yes, my purpose is to save the lives of people who are stressed to the snapping point. January 28, 2005 was the first day of 2 years of being bed-ridden with adrenal failure after many more years of being stressed physically, emotionally and mentally.
    Every day, while laying in bed, I would ask God to help me heal my heart of all the hurts that were keeping me ill. I promised that once I had received the lessons, I would teach them to others to help them learn how to heal their hearts.
    I made slow progress until March 2007 when I was introduced to the use of essential oils, which boosted my energy so tremendously that I was out of bed within 3 days...and have not returned.
    As I continued ot restore my health, I became a Licensed Spiritual Healer and a Certified Natural Therapies Coach. I also wrote a current best-seller that shares all the ways that I lifted my energy and healed myself.
    I am blessed and honored that so many others are practicing the tips I share and passing them along to others ... creating a grassroots movement called Chi-To-Be! (as in the energy to be whatever we are meant to be).
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      Feb 9 2013: ...

      Stacey thank you... this is a fantastical transformation... and now we're in the path of the butterfly effect... chance that, before time of "Why" runs out you could list your best seller and some insight on....‘Attracting Perfect Customers…The Power of Strategic Synchronicity,’ and for those who like to click on curiosity, I found this... http://www.chi-to-be.com/about-stacey
  • Feb 8 2013: My 86 year old mother reminds me constantly that I was born because I was special. I was born to give my ill father new life.
    I'm about to become a father for the first time at 48 - the same age my father was when I was born. Now I see that the new life I was put on this planet for wasn't just my fathers. The new life is about to arrive. That's my purpose. That's my reason to be here. Its the one thing in life I know for certain I'm going to be great at. I'm not a bad CEO, I'm good with people, I can play the piano OK, I can draw a bit, sing alright, be thoughtful as a friend; But the thing I know I'll be perfect at is being a father.
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      Feb 9 2013: Son of sons... what an amazing moment of fatherhood - I hope we see a complete rebirth of men, who can say what you say, be strong and compassionate - would be cool if it wasn't a dying art, but we rebound and embrace the the idea of being, as your mother sees you, a true gentlemen. My mom is 88 and today she is still strong. Without words she reminds me, there is a lot to accomplish on earth, perseverance with unlimited possibilities.
      (she also says, "laugh or go mad", with one handful of vitamins, the other, dark chocolate)
      Thanks for your note above... I never had the keys to a piano, but your son does, there must a few perfect notes, to change the tune of a crying kid into a moment of wonderment?

      Grant, thanks for this, Happy Father's day.
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    Jan 21 2013: Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King.
    It's hard to think of the man without hearing his powerful words "I have a dream"...
    What if, the voice we heard was our own, and we were not Dreaming... we were Doing {?} Terry Torok
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      Jan 21 2013: Terry,

      As I watched the inauguration this afternoon, I wondered.....do you suppose that Martin Luther King had any idea, as part of his dream, that 50 years later, we would have a president of this country who is a man of color? He speaks of freedom, equality, citizen rights..."let freedom ring", etc. I wonder if he imagined.....
      Do you think we are finally "doing"?

      I have a dream speech:

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        Jan 22 2013: To this I would look to Nelson Mandela... "it's a long walk to freedom" I think we are still in the uphill climb... but would focus on the brightness of future...
  • Jan 20 2013: Biologically yes to to keep the human life , but i dont know i think me i was birn to help my family there are some stuff that i know if it wasnt me no one would do it to my mom. and dad i know i was born to. be lved by some one and make that one happy , the most important reason is i was born to serve my god.
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      Jan 21 2013: Thank you Eiman Dai... i agree in whole happiness of 3 things... engaging in something much bigger than us... someone to love and love in return... and looking forward to something next... thank you for your service, your love and sharing your thoughts Eiman!
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    Jan 16 2013: (This was supposed to be a reply to your reply to me, but it landed here)
    You may be interested in Dan Dennett's TED talk about memes, which I heard first this morning, thanks to a recommendation from Pat Gilbert. At minute 5:09 Dennett says that at this point most humans act on the feeling or belief that happiness depends on "finding something else more important than you are and dedicating your life to it." He considers this transition from "me" to such a meme a remarkable evolutionary development.

    What struck me most on his articulating this development is that I would have thought the great meme in our time is the belief that a minority of people act on or aim to act on this value (with the majority acting on narrow self interest). These memes may coexist- the vast majority of us hold to and try to act on this value (as Dennett claims) but people typically have the mistaken belief that this value is true only of a small minority of people.

    I interpreted your question not as literally asking why we were born as much as asking when and how we decided on the most gratifying or appropriate thing we could do with our lives.
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      Jan 16 2013: I heard Dan's talk once, then on your prompt, I gave it another listen and gained more insight... thank you and Pat, In fact it inspired me to listen again to other TED Talks. As per your interpretation of WHY... it is definitely in the realm of my curiosity... some might get their why, be on the path of the why, some may find it processional, others profoundly definitive... I am interested in finding the common denominators of Human Kind.
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        Jan 16 2013: Listening to a TED talk again certainly goes faster than reading a book again! Funny as it may seem, when I first decided to get involved in TED talks, I listened to about two each day for a month and not only took notes on them but also wrote myself a reflection on each one. My records of that first slew of them are all in a single spiral-bound notebook.

        Since then, I still sometimes take notes, but only because I am used to listening, writing, and thinking simultaneously- a habit from years of schooling. I don't particularly keep the notes. (In fact my notes on the Dennett are written on one of those cards that arrived for my daughter reminding her of a dental appointment).

        Nice to see you back.
    • Jan 18 2013: I won't expound too much my own complex opinion on how this should be answered (to put it simply, perhaps I could say the purpose of life is to have purpose), but what I found most interesting is reading the replies of people, how your question was interpreted in two very different ways, as Fritzie first noted.
      First way it may be answered is, what motives did your parents have to bear the offspring know as the "you".
      Another answer is more along the lines of "what purpose do you have to be alive as you are?"
      Of course at the moment of birth the feeble newborn has absolutely no say in what's going on, so this question is better answered by motivations of our progenitors. But the fact that many answer with something like the drive that propels them through life, the force that impels them to persist living, is interesting in itself. Perhaps then WHY we are born is to claim this act of procreation of our parents as something for ourselves? This ties in with my idea that the purpose of our life is to find (and thereafter pursue) a purpose.
  • Jan 15 2013: I am one of six people that were born because two selfish people thought that having a family, house, and picket fence would make THEM happy.
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      Jan 16 2013: Thanks for your candor Jesse - heading for happiness is an art form... some find it in the process...
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      Jan 20 2013: [what if the Why of you.. is very different than what your parents had in mind?] xot
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      Jan 20 2013: Dear Jesse,
      I was born to parents who were 43 at the time of my birth, which was considered "old" to have children 60+ years ago. They already had 7 children ages 9 to 16. My mother had started menopause, which we know could have caused all kinds of complications for a pregnancy and "normal" birth. My father came home from the war and impregnated his wife. Being irish catholic, however, did not leave many choices in my parents mind, so I was born. As I started putting this information together as a teen and young adult, it occured to me that I was a "mistake".

      I agree with Terry...what if the why of you, is very different than what your parents had in mind? I could have focused on the idea that I was a mistake, and lived my life based on that information. Or, I had the choice of creating the best possible life for myself regardless of the circumstances of my birth. You have those choices too Jesse.....hold onto your parents "why" of your birth, or make your life the very best that it can be.....what is your choice?
      • Jan 21 2013: thank you for giving thought to my situation, it is a nice feeling.

        After further review, I think I see what you mean as to the 'why' of my life as opposed to the 'what' my parents had in mind.

        Perhaps growing up in that loveless selfish environment has made me who I am today. Which is just the opposite of selfish and loveless.

        I've become an independent thinker, brave enough to volunteer my time and love to causes that help others, people and animals have a better life.
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          Jan 21 2013: Your response creates a nice feeling as well Jesse....it makes my heart sing:>)
      • Jan 22 2013: well then we have a chorus.. at least a duet :)
  • Jan 13 2013: No, I don't.

    I see glimpses of what I am supposed to do. I know that I am on the right path. I think I know my purpose and why I was born, but to answer definitely is foolish for me. My life is far from over and there are too many things ahead. Everyday I come closer to the "why". Some day I might be able answer with a clear mind and purpose, but not today.
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      Jan 16 2013: Thank you Everett... I find the How we reach our life purpose is as important as the Why... yet with a big enough Why, any How is possible!
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    Feb 9 2013: Hi Terry,
    I am back as promised. And thankful to you for inspiring me to search deep within, through and far outside myself, (which resulted in a three-hundred page writing plus another two page poem) to find my why, and which is: To be me. It sounds simple and achievable, since I was born as me ;-) yet turns out to be a strangely monumental task for even a butterfly!
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      Feb 9 2013: ....
      whew, you're back, in the nick of time... then again, I believe everything actually occurs in "the nick of time" if you think about it. Possibly Buckminster Fuller (?) first introduced this thought (maybe somebody knows). My friend Marshall Thurber is my Buckypedia- I will inquire.

      You are truly unique Julliette, perfect that you and you alone are, you. As our friend Deepak often states... we are human "beings" not human "doings" thus our strong default position is to return to center and "BE". Albeit, I contend, and think he would agree, from there, a Human in Action with a positive purpose and kindness... is fulfilling... fulfilling to self and life... Maybe this is simply Human Kind.

      You are a great story, I enjoy your comments and look forward to 300 pages, poems and your next flight...
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        Feb 10 2013: Thanks, I bet you say that to all the worms ;-)
        I'll buy it anyway cause I trust in the nick, Buckaroo trim tab, and even in the vacuum....lol.
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    Feb 7 2013: the life is a puzzle , every body try to solve it but most of us fail and most of the others don't know what was the goal...
    I think the aim is life, it is important without any reason who can feel life as good as impossible in his mind....
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      Feb 9 2013: ...agreed, life is important. that's reason enough.
      Thanks Par Sam for a most important PEACE of the PUZZLE.
  • Jan 25 2013: One incredibly powerful being, possessing self-sustaining life and the abilities to create and control laws of physics, space, energy (amoung other things), He reached a point in His life where He wanted to share Life with a wife. He formed a mortal woman. Infusing a spark of His Life Force into her brain, He gave her mind free-will with manifold hurtles, challenges and opportunities to serve others in her mortal life while He carefully nurtured her to a place where He knew for certain that her mind was set on perfection in obedience to Him. No rebellions nor disloyalties were within her soul. He introduced her mind into a self-sustaining life-force equal to His own and She was birthed into His realm. With Her new unrestrained mind and body, while loving and cherishing Her as She did Him, He was able to teach her how to create extended energies from the power within Her, to manipulate those energies into stars, solar systems, galaxies, life...

    Wanting to give Him children, She created this universe and one perfect solar system in which She created life and eventually man, whose brain was given 'mind' as was Her own an eternity ago. As their liaison to Her Husband and needing to give Their potential children a perfect example of conduct, obedience and respect of Her masculine Husband (an example to carefully follow), She divested Herself of Her gender, and He placed her life-force into a mortal womb where She eventually became Her Husband's first Son.

    With the life of The Creator being worth more than creation, the death of The Son more than pays for any debt incurred by transgressions, giving each potential child an opportunity to make proper choices and be moulded into a mortal whose mind can be eternally trusted with the power to create a universe, life, more, and can then be birthed into God's realm to become His children and His Equals. They will give Him Grandchildren, and Those will give Him Great-Grandchildren and so "ON", never-ending. This is the "why".
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      Jan 27 2013: Thank you for your why Don, you are a fantasical writer, it seems now, the beginning is near.
      • Jan 27 2013: Yes sir. Terry, before that birthing, things are going to get very tough for everyone... worse than it has ever been. When you see this nation get SERIOUSLY turned upside down and people who are arrested are not heard from again, in the fall of that year you can start a seven year countdown... to the beginning. At the end of that window, His present 'hands-off' policy ABRUPTLY ends, forever. We'll talk again.

        Your servant
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    Jan 21 2013: to preserve the species and individually to know who I relly am and grow the most I can in every sense
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      Jan 21 2013: albeit the species seems to be flourishing... we could use more of you, it's a great journey, much more enjoyable when the road trip has character... thanks Patricia and to anyone who is next...
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    Jan 20 2013: For Science.

    Well, in all honesty, that sums it up pretty well. I love learning new things and discovering the mechanisms that drive the world. And I hope that I will be able to add a little brick to the skyscraper of understanding of how the world works, one day.
    Oh, and I still hope to have a family at one point. I have this deep feeling that it is the sense of everything, my 42.
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      Jan 21 2013: A life of science and the art of you... Thank you Alicja -... You clearly add dynamic value to whatever you contribute to... thank you for this one... and i absolutely look forward to your next thoughts and ideas... [Grateful]
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    Jan 20 2013: Hello Terry:>)
    I was born because my mother and father got together and produced a little child, who grew into an adult:>)
    To me, that is the basis of "why".

    After that, in my humble perception, it all depends on how I choose to use each and every moment in the life adventure. From the time I was a wee little child, I always had the feeling that life was about learning, growing and evolving as an individual, while contributing to the whole. I have always felt like an explorer....adventurer....observer in the life experience, while also actively participating. That idea embraces every single moment of my existance on this earth school. To me, it really feels very simple:>)
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      Jan 21 2013: thank you for your excellent verve Colleen - we are only "in charge" of the moment, and you made another one great!
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        Jan 21 2013: Thank you Terry:>)
        I believe we are all like mirrors, reflecting information back and forth all the time. With that in mind, I admire, respect and appreciate your verve as well my friend:>)
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    Jan 19 2013: Curious if YOU have a clear sense of purpose? Are you applying passion to your purpose or on the path of discovery or something else? I am in research for a new episodic show I am producing called the Human Project. Just looking to gain a better understanding and common denominator of passion & purpose, found or unfound... especially from the bright minds of TED... My thought... TED is a great place to give birth to this idea... all comments are kept to TED unless you choose to raise more interest... and find it is worth Spreading. Grateful for your productive and insightful thoughts...
    • Jan 20 2013: I have always had a strong intuition for purpose , since my teens, you know this period of philosophical intoxication :)
      And by now i've come up with the idea ( It may change ) that purpose of life is the SEARCH for purpose of life. It is the way that matters, not the place of destination. Not because it is unimportant or even doesn't exist, but because it is hidden from me ; the closer i get to it the higher it goes !

      Hope it makes sense :)
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        Jan 21 2013: i so love your words especially these ... "because it is hidden from me: the closer i get to it the higher it goes!" this is wildly relatable, and helps point out what may seem to allude us, is merely leading us... raising the bar, helping us stand out. {fantastically placed words} thank you.
  • Jan 18 2013: Would you agree that something/ everything/nothing.... eternal, in short, let's call it IT, deserves some entertainment ? And IT needs education, IT wants to know ITself. So, IT is yearning for experience and you, me ...anyone who is was or shall be IS ITS experience .
    Birth and death are just the formalities of existence , don't bother ! :)
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      Jan 19 2013: thanks Natasha - perhaps birth and death are formalities of existence... the interest is to entertain the life in between, explore passion, possible purpose and celebrate the Why...
      • Jan 20 2013: Hi, Terry !
        And ... Yes ! :)
        All that is in between these two unimportant events ( which are the most important for us, paradoxically :) ) is worth having ! What we think do feel experience believe in, especially what we love matters, it's the stuff this reality is made of , not less than that, i kid you not !
        The higher dimension , IT, is necessary not to flatten the thing , not to reduce the value of life to success, achievements ... and all the rest of it, but put it on ' who is to judge ? ' scale, where i believe it is.

        In this context, i may say, that i was born to launch my story, my story is important because it is unique. There is no chance for the Almighty universe to recreate my story without me in it, i am the main character but ' I am ' has no sense without everything else.
        Something like this :)
        And of course, i'd better to enjoy my story, if i don't who will ?
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    Jan 18 2013: WHY you were born is what YOU decide. It's taken me a while to realize that, but once YOU DECIDE no one can stop you from achieving it.

    I recommend reading this excerpt between Playboy and Stanley Kubrick in an interview from 2001: http://amiquote.tumblr.com/post/759342878/stanley-kubrick-on-life-playboy-if-life-is-so

    Further, I highly recommend listening to the audio version of the book POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle.
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      Jan 18 2013: Thanks Vince - I appreciate your contribution, it's excellent - I have not read the Kubrick excerpt - but I extoll Eckhart Tolle - perfect, thanks Vince - !