TED Conversations

Sara Kim

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What do you want to understand?

This universe is filled to the brim with mysteries, and to understand it seems to be one of our goals in life. We do what we do to gain some level of understanding and I believe that this is one of the essential things to gaining happiness, a utopia. Tell me, what do you want to know?

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    Feb 4 2013: I want to know more about myself and my purpose; and about my maker, the God of all flesh.
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    Feb 4 2013: "Know Thyself"
    I mean want to understand my ownself.
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    Feb 4 2013: women.
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    Feb 3 2013: currently, the general theory of relativity. i'm making some progress.
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      Feb 4 2013: I thought for sure you had chosen the most challenging subject to understand then I saw Mr. Sergi's choice (above).
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    Feb 5 2013: I want to understand why I wonder about questions that have implications over billions of years when I cannot expect to last even a century.
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    Feb 4 2013: Sara, What a large and open ended topic. Mysteries could be unsolved problems of a theoretical nature, counterintuitive known facts such as unintended consequences, physical paradoxes, misconceptions, or where the heck did I put my keys.

    I think that at some point we must accept that being the "jack of all trades .. and master of none" is problematic. I can fix a leaky pipe (sometimes) but am not a plumber, I can fix a flat tire but am hardly a mechanic, cook but am no chef. I am sure you get the point.

    Perhaps the best short answer is to "know who I am, what my limitations are, and accept all the above".

    Having said that ... I still have a thurst for knowledge. I have learned much from TED. Talks and conversations have led to me doing more research ... I learned a lot from Pat Gilbert as an example. His subject on economics provided me with the challenge of digging deeper into the subject ... I have a better understanding but am certainly not an expert. His subject on Lincoln made me do a lot of reading. In order to do this I had to "open my mind". Some of what I read was extremely counter to the Lincoln image. Many just responded from their preset concept unwilling to "see" any other point of view. I see these people who refuse to grow as begining to die.

    You stated "..one of our goals in life". Goals are end points. Education / knowledge are adventures .. not goals. So join me on the greatest andventure of all .. the willingness to grow in mind, body, and spirit.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Feb 4 2013: Thank you Robert, I thoroughly enjoyed your response. I agree with everything you've said and your words have given me inspiration. Towards what, I do not know. Yet, I believe in the future I will look back upon your lesson and it will help me somehow. I am still struggling to accept myself as are many others, and have this insatiable craving for understanding. I hope to satisfy it one day, but as you've pointed out in your second last paragraph, there is no end. I suppose though, that it makes it all the more exciting!
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        Feb 4 2013: Sara, Thank you. One last thing I wish for you ... do not let the quest for understanding stand in the way of present day happiness.

        Remember that your friends in the TED community are here for you if you ever wish to contact us.

        If it is of any help to you I sought many years to accept who I am and what my limitation are. I am a retired military and law enforcement person and have faced many unpleasant, dangerous, and questionable ethical situations which sent my soul into conflict. But, as all of us, you will resolve those issues and demons that you face. It may not seem like it ... but trust me it will come.

        I wish you well. Bob.
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          Feb 4 2013: It seems that you have gone through many painful experiences. Do you miss the innocence you once were, and if so what about it? Do you have regrets, Robert?
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        Feb 5 2013: I had regrets before I learned who I am and what my limitations are and accepted all the above. That which we term as regret is what I now call acceptance.

        I the military we have a job to do ... that job is by order of the commander in chief ... the President .... blaming the individuals below that level is not really fair.

        As a member of law enforcement ... no one wants a situation to esculate to shooting. Also no mother ever wants to admit that their baby was holding hostages, shooting people robbing, selling drugs, etc ... it has to be someone elses fault ... usually the guy in front of them ... your local police. I went from school, to training, to Viet Nam .. not much chance at innocence.

        It is possible to do your job and have empathy with others feelings. ... tough but possible.

        In all experiences it is important that we learn and grow from them.

        There is a sign over our door for all family members to observe ...RETURN WITH HONOR
  • Feb 4 2013: Before I came to earth, a voice "said" to me, "go down there."
    I "said", " I don't want to."
    The voice "said", "go. It's only for a short time."

    I want to know what that voice was, whether it is an It, a Who or a What.
    And Why?

    Apparently there was no purpose or reason to it at all.
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    Feb 4 2013: This isn't exactly an answer to your question, but one thing I'd like to get better at is talking on the air. I listen to some talk radio, and frequently call in from home and talk to the hosts and guests on the air. But I've noticed it's hard to do, you're listening to the hosts and guests, you're trying to think what you want to say, you're trying to be entertaining, you know thousands of people are listening to you. The fact is, I've learned a great deal from calling in to radio talk shows, but I think I would learn more if I would get more skillful at it.
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      Feb 4 2013: What usually helps to get rid of this sort of 'pressure' is not to pretend and just to be 'yourself'. And even though this 'thousands of people are listening to you' doesn't change anything but your 'imagination' of it, which causes many people to 'freeze'. And even though the number of an audience can be incredibly high, all you are doing while speaking to them is just having multiple 'one on one' conversation at the same time - that's all and nothing to fear, especially as a radio-talk is a one-way communication anyway without any chance for 'negative' feedback ... :o)
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        Feb 7 2013: Yeah, thanks, Lejan .. I remember a screener telling me that do you have talk radio in Germany, here in the States we have plenty where the host and possible guests sit in the studio and talk on the air and people sitting at home can call in and participate in the conversation. But first you have to talk to a screener off-air to tell them what you want to say so they'll decide if they want to let you on. A screener said the same thing, think of it as a conversation between you and the people on the other end of the phone.

        Another problem I encounter is that I lack the "killer instinct," that is, sometimes I have a point to make that's actually better than what the host or guests are saying, but I don't make it because I'm afraid of embarassing them. Any tips for overcoming that?

        I may not be the best talker for radio, as I don't really like to talk or think quickly.

        My second cousin, Amy Van Dyken, is a fulltime radio host here in L.A. She first made her fame winning six gold medals in Olympics.
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          Feb 8 2013: It is as you describe in Germany too and I think in most countries which have free radio broadcasting. The screening sorts out the 'idiots' and the topics and quality varies by the stations.

          Regarding the 'killer instinct' it may help if you consider a discussion as an exchange of minds and views and not as a 'battlefield'. No better argument is able to embarrass anyone intelligent, so I don't see any reason why you should keep good points for yourself. As in any other discussion you are allowed to disagree with the host or the guests or to make better points as them. Actually, this is what makes it even more interesting to all the other listeners, as it widens the frame and allows for more and controversial perspectives. And as long as you stay polite and formal in those situations, everything is just fine.

          Disagreeing is no sign of disrespect and any good host will be able to 'work' with it to improve the quality of the talk, or incorporate new and better arguments for the same reasons. But stay on topic, as otherwise the host will 'stop' you to keep the talk focused.

          What does your cousin think about this?
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      Feb 4 2013: I think that it's important not to be afraid, but rather confident. When I say to have confidence, I do not mean that one should do something once and think that because it worked that one time it's good enough. I mean have confidence in your capabilities, in yourself. It's the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise who was clearly slower than the rabbit, but took on the challenge of the race anyways ended up winning. I am sure you will find some way Greg, to boost your talking skills on air. I admit that i'm still nervous when it comes to public speaking but I prepare myself thoroughly and practice to pride myself in the skill.
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        Feb 7 2013: Thanks, Sara. I usually approach it like it's more humble not to be perfectly confident, that if I'm not perfectly confident I'll be more alert. When I do come with confidence, it still goes a little weak. I was asking Lejan . above how you get the "killer instinct," sometimes I have better things to say than the host or guest, like a better point to make if we disagree about something, but I don't say it for fear of embarassing the host or guests. I wonder how you overcome that? Aren't Asian people into that, helping others "save face"?

        Do you have talk radio in Canada? It's pretty neat down here, you can call in and talk to pretty high-up people, like I've talked to police chiefs, important politicians, rock stars, museum directors, authors. I really recommend it as a way to learn.

        I may not be the best to call in, as I don't really like to talk or think quickly.

        My second cousin, Amy Van Dyken, is a fulltime radio host down here in Los Angeles. She first became famous in the Olympics, winning six golds for swimming.
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    Feb 3 2013: Too much to list! Luckily, I have always been a voracious learner.

    How about you, Sara? What most intrigues you now?
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      Feb 4 2013: I must say I find brains and it;s capabilities the most fascinating thing. As you can tell from my picture, i'm still very young (still in high school) and am trying hard to figure out my future. I want to know what people are passionate about, why they are passionate and how it all works. It gets me excited just thinking about it! AH! I hope I have the same level of curiosity and interest when I begin to go into the field.

      Has there been anything in particular you found yourself most passionate about?
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        Feb 4 2013: Since I was your age, I too have been interested in how thoughts arise and link to each other, how people learn, and how to cultivate critical thinking and creative thought. I am interested in human behavior and why some people love heartily, adapt, and cooperate, while others exaggerate the negative in others. I am interested in how people create a narrative or visual explanation for the way the world works around them and where they fit.
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          Feb 4 2013: Have you made it into a career? And how far have you been successful in gaining what it is you seek?
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        Feb 4 2013: I've done a bunch of things in my career connected closely to these questions, but these are the kind of questions for which all of life throws forward case studies.
  • Feb 3 2013: The basic nature of information.

    DNA has been characterized as self organizing information. What is the basic difference between self organizing information and other information? Can we define that difference in terms of its inherent nature, rather than just pointing at the effects?
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    Feb 6 2013: Thanks for your comments below, Sara. I'll think about my reply. In the meantime, I remembered one thing I would like to know. I sometimes wonder why you see so little use of milk in Korean and Chinese cooking. Growing up here in Southern California I ate at many Chinese restaurants; and I had a couple of good Korean friends in high school, so I ate at their homes a lot and in Korean restaurants, BBQ and kimchee. But in both these cuisines one does not see the use of milk, or milk products such as cheese, just meat and vegetables. Some will say, well, that's just tradition, but traditions do arise for a reason, wonder what the reason is?

    I'm a big milk drinker, and I think it's the greatest food, so the above is a surprise.
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    Feb 5 2013: Since three years, I'm questioning myself about God and the essence of life. As I advance in my learning, I discover that it's not a very easy task to understand all that. There's too much diversity and at this point it's nearly impossible to make a synthesis.
    These days, what is challenging me is to understand Buddhism. What does it teach about life, the human mind, our emotions, our way towards happiness and any other thing. It's a really vast philosophy (if I can say that) and I can't predict all that I'll discover as I learn it.