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Jordan Reeves

TED-Ed Community Manager, TED Conferences


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What is the most important thing you've learned on your own?

In three sentences, explain something that you've learned without being told by another person -- something you've figured out all by yourself. Here's an example:

"I learned how to paint with water colors by reading a book and searching for YouTube videos. It took me a while, but I figured out some techniques that really work for me. I'm not an expert yet, but I have discovered a real joy in painting."

It can be anything -- a practical skill (like painting) or a knowledge set (like how to use mathematics).


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    Feb 24 2013: 1. There's no "Justice" in this world. This statement almost always satisfies my soul.

    2. 2 arguments won't go to results, "Political" and "Religious", due to dogma.

    3. The U.S. Government does not care about Iranian people, no matter how many times they say so, because obviously their sanctions are hurting "Iraninan people" , not the governmet. I just wonder why they repeatedly say " We support Iranian people.".
    ------------------------------ Edit ---------------------------------------
    By the way, it seems that my post is getting longer than the conversation itself :D. I didn't know my post will bring this much reaction!!! Thank you all!
    • Feb 24 2013: You must've had a hard time growing up... and the world is truelly sorry for that... It was never our intent to harm other people... We're just trying to fix it such that there is "Justice" again.
      But it's hard to do :(

      I hope you will (soon) find that there is more love in the world than hate.
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        Feb 24 2013: Look Richard, I don't exacly get it which one of my 3 sentences you are talking about.

        Yes, I've had a hard time growing up seeing a 15-year-old Iranian boy who had a special disease DIED due to lack of "medicine", due to sanctions of a country which has used atomic bomb ALREADY ( in Japan during the WW2 ). P.S. ( Don't think of me as a supporter of this regime, read my profile and you'll understand! ).

        I've got a lot to say, but don't want to mind you. Good luck.
        • Feb 24 2013: Thank you for not wanting to trouble me...
          You seem to be a truelly beautiful person. (not because you don't want to trouble me but as a general feeling I get when I read your posts)

          As to which of the sentences I replied: "none of them".
          I replied to the pain/frustration and love that I can read in them.

          I wish you all the best and I hope that someday you can wake up untroubled by all these things... and that you can find the beauty that is within you (although possibly it is covered with a few layers of pain and frustration).
      • Feb 24 2013: Hi Richard

        "It was never our intent to harm other people" ... I agree with this statement based on Individually thinking and completely disagree based on collective thinking.

        Ernesto Che Guevara was trying to fix that injustice, what was happening then?
        What's happened with Marthin Luther King jr? he didnt stood for revolution, he stood for justice and unification, didn't he? (let the world be sorry for the countries who can't fix justice in their own home, before they think of fixing someone else's)

        as he, Che Guevera, believed, that you can't make a revolution without a gunshot, I do believe it too, (because not even Gandhi could avoid 1000s of innocent deaths) ... but I also believe the way Nelson Mandela brought Revolution / UNIFICATION in his own country...

        Iranians have got one of the oldest culture and surely civilisation was born in that area (country). there is something in that country that US wants, and invasion in that country could be the maddest mistake human race ever could commit. Thanks to re-elected President the world will be in "peace" another 4 years.
        • Feb 24 2013: Then perhaps all people should stop collective thinking and individually see that hurting people is a bad thing.
          We should protect those who are being hurt rather than killing the ones that hurt others.
      • Feb 24 2013: today's world is already based on individual thinking...

        every country thinks about itself.
        every organisation think about its benefit
        every company thinks about its profit
        every team thinks about its own winning
        shall I go on?
        (I have got so many young friends, who spent so many hours by their own in front of computer they don't know how to behave in a group)

        and maybe that is the reason the world is in this shape /state / situation.
        if we could only learn how to communicate with each other through our needs /feelings (not wants) we might have got the greatest planet in universe.

        over 2000 years ago, the Gladiators knew the power of unity, (If they stayed together they would survive, if they fought as individual, they would die)

        Welcome to today's world of INDIVIDUALISM (where we do not gain anything, but destroy many things)
        • Feb 25 2013: you: ""It was never our intent to harm other people" ... I agree with this statement based on Individually thinking and completely disagree based on collective thinking."
          my logical conclusion would be "collective thinking lead to intentionally harm people.
          you: "Welcome to today's world of INDIVIDUALISM (where we do not gain anything, but destroy many things) ".

          So collectively we hurt people... and individually we're assholes.
          Nice world you have there.

          You're right that people should be behind their computers less and interact more... but your conclusions are somewhat one sided it seems (aka "we're doomed!!").
        • Feb 25 2013: 1 I learned many things by my self. For example, I quit school at the age of 14. Then I learned all the high-school and college mathematics by myself. Later on, I got directly into a graduate program and earned a PhD in sort of applied mathematics (i.e. mathematical statistics).in 6 years.
          2. I could mentally work out the answer of a product of two 4 digit numbers without pen and pencil like a demo in a TED talk, after I had learned the solution of the algebraic formula for (a+b). (c+d), after I went through my last middle school class.
          3. I will use this sentence to answer one of Mr. Nazarian's comment. The rude and emotional hostility of the young people in social interaction is precisely THE RESULT OF THEIR LONG EXPOSURE TO THE INTERNET ON THE COMPUTER. So this "new knowledge" , if you treat it as such, is analogous to these youngsters "being told" by the others on the internet they engaged in all day. Therefore I wouldn't treat such new knowledge as learned "without being told by others".
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        Feb 25 2013: Well, we are here to learn something new ( I've already learnt a lot just and just with this conversation ) and get some ideas ;) . There's no point in arguing, it's the discussion that will go to results.

        Thank you very much Richard, thanks for your kind prays ;)
      • Feb 25 2013: hi Richard

        I haven't created this "nice" world, (I was worn in it). it have been growing like this since Industrial revolution. unfortunately this is the only time of the world's history that we (you and me included) are going to leave this world in such a mess for next generation.

        without doubt we are doomed, here I may sound pessimist, but true to be told this is the bitter reality.

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      Feb 24 2013: Dear Sajjad,
      As one U.S. citizen... I say....I'm sorry for your experience, and I sincerely hope that with your move from Iran (I read your profile), you may find peace. My thoughts and love are with you.
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        Feb 24 2013: Ms. Steen,

        You definitely do NOT have to and must NOT be sorry, I said the U.S. "government", not the U.S. people. I have a lot of American friends and all of them are so kind and very nice. And you are indeed one of those American people I'm addressing.

        And what a fabulous pray, " I hope you move from Iran.". Thank you very much for such a nice sentence.
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          Feb 24 2013: Thank you Sajjad.
          I am aware that you said the U.S. government, and as U.S citizens, we are all part of our government....our government is a reflection of us to a certain extent.

          I am really glad that you seperate at least some of the people from the government. Many U.S. citizens are NOT in favor of war, and are genuinely trying to change some policies by being more aware of our government and the poor decisions that are sometimes made. I'm happy that you know american people who are kind and nice, and I am grateful you put me in that group:>)

          To clarify....I didn't write "I hope you move from Iran".

          I wrote..."I sincerely hope that WITH your move from Iran....you may find peace."
          Your profile says..."Soon, I will be outta Iran". I got the impression that you are leaving Iran?

          I am sorry about war, destruction, violence, abuse and discontect in our world.
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          Feb 24 2013: That is GREAT Edwin....thanks for posting the link. I'm glad I learned about that, and the importance of TED in our global community continues to be reinforced. What do you think about it Sajjad?
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        Feb 24 2013: Well, I'm planning to go abroad, but there are A LOT OF obstacles for Iranians "nowadays" to overcome.
        From economic CHAOS to visa obstacles... that's a long story. Therefore, you cannot at any time plan something while you're in Iran. There were many people whose visas were REJECTED! just because one day!!!, a group of "special" people!!! decided to hijack the England's embassy!!!

        Years of planning to go abroad were just vanished in a matter of days :D . In fact, the good thing in Iran that we have is that we would never run out of funny things to laugh at :D .

        Anyway, my best wishes and positive thoughts for you.
        I don't know how to answer your comment ZX, thank you very much for your advice.
        In fact, I'm planning to go to Finland. I just mentioned the example of England for you to feel how it's like to plan while you're in Iran :D. Good luck.
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          Feb 24 2013: I have confidence that you will navigate the obstacles Sajjad. I don't think/feel your plan to go abroad has "vanished".....maybe put on hold?

          Thank you so much for your wishes and positive thoughts. Laughter is good medicine, and I've always believed that if I can find humor in challenge and chaos, it helps me move through the challenge. That is ANOTHER very important thing I've learned, and sometimes had to practice on my own:>)

          "Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused" LOL:>)

          Best to you too my friend, and I sincerely hope that wherever you are in our world, you stay connected with TED:>)
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        Feb 24 2013: Yes, I was very happy that TEDx was hold a few months ago in Tehran, though I was not able to participate.

        I will definitely keep in touch with TED ;)

        Good luck.
    • Feb 25 2013: Sajjad,

      what stops you from starting a conversation?

      make sure not to get too political ( as it is against TED terms )

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        Feb 25 2013: Well, I don't have a nice idea to start a conversation.

        Even if I, for example, start a conversation about my 3rd sentence, then what? :D

        I'm convinced that the poeple cannot influence the policies or decisions their government make.( Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how it is "here" :D ).

        However, your idea will be appreciated and I will definitely think about it if you have a nice one.
        • Feb 25 2013: Sajjad

          You don't have to be a genius to come up with an idea...

          you ask questions, start debates, and the members who will participate, will share their opinion... TED is a place to learn and share, because in all human interactions there is something Give-Take (in one word - SHARE) and it is one of the ways to LEARN.

          and that may lead you to understand what others think about XYZ , their opinion may affect on your thinking (if you are so opened up to new / different thoughts)

          eventually every one is involved in a topic where SHARING is happening. every one learns, every one wins... we all are learner here.

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        Feb 25 2013: You're indeed right. I will think about it a while to come up with a nice idea and then start a nice conversation. Thanks for broadening my horizons ;).
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      Feb 26 2013: ....

      I agee.

      the following TEDx clip may seem naive and irrelevant to many, but I liked it quite a lot, and recommend it. For me it is a reminder (which I am proud that I don't happen to need) that many people in any given country do not identify with their so-called leaders. I see you made that distinction.

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        Feb 26 2013: I've seen that video Peter and had enjoyed watching it ;)

        Thanks for recommending such a nice video ;).

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