TED Conversations

Connie Burk

Executive Director, The Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse

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Can humans resist 'opening the door' once they realize it's there?

I was struck today when Mary Lou Jepsen, in her talk about direct 'thought to digital' interface, declared, "We have little option but to open this door."

It made me wonder, under what conditions could we, would we decide to leave a door closed? Do we have little option but to open any door once we realize it's there?

Let's say, as a thought experiment, we had evidence that, in addition to all the coolness she described, the wrath of hell laid behind that particular door. Could human people actually agree to leave it closed? Even then?

Or would we say, "well, someone's going to open it, so it may as well be us."

Are we hardwired to 'open the door?

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    Gail . 50+

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    Feb 28 2013: Unless there was absolute proof that the wrath of hell was behind the door, and what the wrath of hell was, I would open the door. That's just me. I'm not fear-centered.

    If I were fear-centered, and if I believed that there existed a god who would be very angry at me for opening the door, and I would find myself behind that door after I died if I did so, then I would not only leave the door closed, but I would buttress it and work hard to keep others away from it.

    If what is REALLY behind the door is a group of people living the finest life possible, but they don't want you around, so they started a rumor? Or what if those people are super-beings with god-like powers, and the one who last opened the door was afraid of them (though they are loving, pacifist beings), so opening the door was declared to be a cultural evil - even if opening the door would result in all of your problems being put to rest and your learning how to develop your own godly powers?

    The door will be opened. It may not be opened today or tomorrow, but it will be opened. You can't stop progress. You can't stop learning. You can try, but a law won't stop the curious any more than a restraining order will stop a determined wife or child beater.
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    . . 100+

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    Mar 2 2013: Hi Connie......the only thing that I can add to the wonderful insights offered by others here is, that when you build a door, you can bet that it will be opened.....and when you build a 'wall', it too will be taken down..... A lock on the door, will only call out for its opening sooner.....And the part about 'realizing' ....'realizing' is why we are here to begin with..... We are seekers. The truth can not be hidden from us.....realizing, is always a matter of time but once we know the truth, we can not act false.
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    Feb 28 2013: We left that gorge so many eons ago…ventured beyond the mountains that surround it, spilled ourselves out beyond the next valley, and mountain, crossed the rivers, and lakes, oceans…and at every turn, every hilltop, we saw the next horizon, and it challenged us to move on, forward, searching, endlessly seeking…we are human, an explorer species, it is what drives us, what made us the most evolved creature from this planet…we are an explorer species, it took us across oceans and space, it will take us to the stars, and beyond…

    the door will open,

    we will tame hell….and look for the next door…

    it is what we do, it is who we are
    • Mar 2 2013: Like the fellow that jumped off the top of a tall building, as he passed a window on the way down he was heard to say, "So far so good!".

      There is no guarantee that we will always be able to tame hell. Sooner or later a door will lead to our extinction.

      I am not arguing with you. This is who we are and what we do, and it will likely be our end.
      • Mar 6 2013: The world is full of instances where we had to do what should not be done to stop our own destruction.

        Anything that we have thought of so far has been thought of by nature a longer time ago. It is our decision to decide if we should do the good, the imminent, or what is best for the decision maker.

        To say that we always pick the good is to say that we never look after ourselves.
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    Feb 28 2013: Too bad, you are not Eve... It's too late for this question now :-)
  • Feb 28 2013: The door would be opened. We would not be where we are today if we did not have a somewhat reckless sense of curiosity.
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    Feb 28 2013: Aren't humans assumed often to be risk-averse in many respects?
    • Feb 28 2013: Ow yeah, lol... why I didn't think of that is beyond me. Sometimes the most simple thoughts get lost in the midst of complex ones! D'oh!
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    Mar 4 2013: All doors will be open indeed.
    Unfortunately...
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    Mar 4 2013: "Let's say, as a thought experiment, we had evidence that, "

    that is the definition of an open door.
  • Mar 4 2013: The most wonderful thing about human nature is our need and open that door and see what's on the other side.
    While man instinctively feels the need to open the door, he can be taught otherwise.
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    Mar 4 2013: If you do not open the door, someone else will.
    You can not guarantee that someone else will not open the door because you do not know everybody and you do not know how they are wired.
    But if you do not open the door when it is there, you can prolong the preparation.
  • Mar 3 2013: well we certainly haven't engaged in all out nuclear warfare ... yet.
    I'd say that the HUGE majority of humans would claim anyone who considered that an option was insane. I have no idea how many people are insane.

    hmmm.... how many people are insane?
  • Mar 3 2013: I think we're only hardwired to grow: physically & mentally.
    Sure I can decide that in my philosophy I will stay, but someone else will have different opinions or viewpoints or needs.
    Perhaps there is a hell there, but maybe it will only kill those who enter or get too near. Then others will see those "too near" get killed, and decide to find out exactly how near is too near; or if not through the window, maybe there's a back door to sneak in.
    It could be an issue of space, or an issue of valuing "externals" over our connections to people.
    There seems to be a culture of "get it now" ("buy it now"), "be the first," "don't get behind!" This is largely a constructed viewpoint, starting mainly with Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4612464
    Then again ... it seems many indiginous peoples didn't seem to be in a hurry to "go" or "do" a whole lot.
    We're given a lot of choices nowadays which way we want to go; maybe we haven't learned to make such choices well. Maybe we need to make some such choices & put some blinders on - build some micro-groups, and be content and constructive within those smaller areas. Not to forget the others we choose not to follow; they may need help from time to time.
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    Feb 28 2013: connie did you only want your conversation to run a day. Hit edit to give yourself more time.
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    Feb 28 2013: My first thought is that you can't generalize, that some will open the door and some will not. The smart thing to do would be to leave the door closed until we know how to get the coolness without the hell.
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    Feb 28 2013: Within the constraints of our thought experiment, we know that hell is on the other side of the door. The Titanic sinks. The White Walkers breach the Wall.

    @TEDLover It seems like you equate the act of leaving the door closed as necessarily a fear-based one. Can you imagine any other motivations for leaving the door closed? Ninja like discipline? Is it possible leave a door closed from an active posture? Could it ever be a balls-out, wise-mind, life affirming act?

    @Arkady I know, right?

    So, if opening the door is hard-wired, how do we build responsibility for the unintended consequences of opening the door? How about the KNOWN consequences? How do we build an ethic that those who open the door need to stick around to fights the wights & not just take off with the plunder?
  • Feb 28 2013: Maybe there is a little too much concern. To link to a hell or heaven may be done old -fashioned ways. I have seen a book called esoteric postures. Neolithic statues are used to explore yoga like positions used by shaman. Of course, there is drumming or something going on at the time. I have not tried this nor have I tried the chemical alternatives. Now one wonders about digital interfaces - What about steering wheels and other methods of controls? I'll check later to see if I get what you mean later.
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    Feb 28 2013: The idea of direct thought to digital interface is a good one. I would not hope to find much intelligence via this technology, though. I suggest we would be better advised to learn to live together.
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    Feb 28 2013: Wow, the hackers would love it.