Parikshit Mukerjee

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How did you use your education to help or change the society? You did, didn't you?

A kindergarten teacher has as much power to change the society for the better as a pioneer in politics. The ability to change the world roots from education and inspiration. Did you change the world yet, even if its by the tiniest bit? So how do you think an education helps?

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    Mar 10 2013: I have changed. Will that count?
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      Mar 10 2013: For the better? :D How have you changed?
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        Mar 10 2013: Honestly speaking my education did not give me much opportunity to change or help the society. After completing my engineering graduation I got a good enough job but for over three decades I remained part of a monolithic system that create atrocities in the name of development. I had family to care for and the job was paying.
        However, I used my education, which is nothing more than a particular skill, to survive and prosper in common sense of meaning and reasonably free to learn a lesson from the world around me. I can now see authenticity as different from authority, learning as distinct from knowledge and substance as unique from content.
        I am still in the process of giving up sugar before telling diabetics to quit it. I think I have become harmless.
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          Mar 11 2013: The fact that you have used the word 'harmless' to me is very thought-provoking. I guess a society is really toxicated if its individuals say that being harmless is the most significant contribution to their services. And I would kind of agree with you, coming from the society such as yourself. Although you are older and much wiser than me, would I be wrong in sensing a air of passivity in your tone?. In our part of the world, instead of we moulding the society, don't you think the society moulds us?
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        Mar 11 2013: Dear Parikshit, I can only admit my old age (I am 51) but not wisdom. :)
        I won't say you are wrong to sense passivity because I am certainly no activist. I am more mindful about my mistakes, and I can assure there were many, than my achievements. I try to convey to people what I learnt from those and advise them, if asked, ways and means how they can avoid making those mistakes.
        I have a modest website where you can read my rants (more than 30,000 times these have been read). I am a member of European Journalism Center where I have written modestly too (a collective 40,000 reads here too). If you have heard about Business Insider, you can find my article there too.
        That apart, I am pretty ordinary to take the society in my hand and change it substantially.
  • Mar 10 2013: I majored in economics. I came up with some ideas that have been used (e.g., Gross National Happiness measure of success of a nation's economic system used in Tibet) and did research, analysis and writing that has been used by others. Now I am encouraging the implementation of a 3-day/24-hour work week to reflect worker productivity, improve quality of life, dissolve some social ills. I would also like to see a $30-per-hour minimum wage so people can live in dignity, health and have time to live in accordance with their own good values. I have written and had published Letters-to-the Editor and Op-Ed pieces on related issues such as paying creative people the fair value of their output while they are still alive (think van Gogh, Mozart and infinite other impoverished artists who died prematurely while sellers of their work reaped the value of their work.) I think an education helps when it allows for individual creativity to occur and individual thinking, rather than mimicking professors and the past. Those who studied history seem to repeat the mistakes. Education should not be used to brainwash children in the erroneous ways of their ancestors. Power to the positive.
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      Mar 11 2013: I was looking into the 'Gross National Happiness measure of success of a nation's economic system', and it really seems to be a great idea. This reminds me of a scene from Sherlock Holmes, where Holmes makes various deductions from a victim's watch; however he fails to make the most rudimentary of all the deduction from the watch, which Watson points out: The time. A whole society plays a huge role in the economy, It is a shame that economics does delve so much more into numbers than the most major element of a stable society: happiness/satisfaction. I hope I did not sound too ignorant!
      • Mar 12 2013: Thank you, Parik. Whenever you express your true thoughts and feelings, I appreciate it. As we know, there are many factors that cause happiness. I was thinking that the quantity of smiles-per-day on the faces of children is one indicator of the success of a society.
  • Mar 11 2013: When you first learn art-you start with a pad & pencil. The different areas of the pencil & what each area can do on a piece of paper. This leads to various types of lead for pencils and how to create the different strokes, shadings, etc.
    Letting a student explore, on their own, the various uses of just a pencil can lead to a wide range of exciting pictures that a student creates. At this point, they have no training in perspective, dimensions, etc., they are just having fun. But you would be amazed at what they create. Most of the art does look primal but it also has depth & shading.
    I am not going to go into the mind aspect of this (not qualified), but to look through a child or adults eyes and see what they see, is truly amazing.
  • Mar 11 2013: the society is comprised by many individuals.every individual is connected,then every individual can be contagious all over the world.
  • Mar 10 2013: As an artist, I have had many students who are challenged in various ways. To open a child or adult's mind to art, in its various forms, opens the mind to many other things. The beauty within as well as out.
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      Mar 11 2013: No doubt about it! Art therapy is gaining prominence all over the world these days. Since you are an artist, can I ask, according to you, why do you think opening ones mind to art opens the mind to other things? What is it about art in its various forms, that helps someone? Do you think its a primal instinct or does it have a more complex answer to it?
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    Mar 10 2013: I try, at least. I don't speak in past terms, but at present. I think it's a job for all along the life. The way I (try to) do it is fighting for a wider, better and cheaper education and culture for everybody. I'm firmly convinced that education and culture is pure freedom. Those who don't like freedom for people, they don't promote a better education fon everybody.
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      Mar 11 2013: Its funny how you say education and culture are pure freedom.Don't you think that the latter in some places may act to limit the former whereas in other places the former may act to change the latter?
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        Mar 11 2013: Maybe, of course. The two situations are pretty possible.
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    Mar 10 2013: My education throughout my life has been an enormous asset to me, which I have used every day in countless ways. I was fortunate to be very open to experience from an early age and thus to be able to learn from school and outside of school experiences, not having a disposition to shut anything of that out.

    My adult life has been all about using that education and what I have made of it as well as giving by who I am.
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      Mar 10 2013: That is nice to hear. I did not quite get what you meant when you said "what I have made of it as well as giving by who I am." Instead of asking how you used the education, I would love to see from your point of upbringing, what is the basics to helping to change the society?
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        Mar 10 2013: Here is what I meant. I feel that what I know and any gifts or talents I may have are for sharing or putting to a broader benefit. Anything I learn, I turn around to ask how my understanding can benefit others.

        I am from a family of hard-working immigrants of extremely modest means. My parents were high school graduates who valued education for their children at the local public schools. I don't remember hearing a message at home about the importance of service in particular, but it never occured to me, I think, not to try to use what I understood or had for broader good.

        I suspect that, like openness to experience, which is definitely a personality trait, the sense of connection and therefore of needing to share is as well.
  • Mar 10 2013: Yes,my education helping me growing up everyday.my education accompanies me to carry on learning as well as eating everyday.
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      Mar 10 2013: Thats great to hear! But how are you trying to change the society by applying the education you have received?
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    Gail .

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    Mar 10 2013: My formal education helped me make a comfortable living. My informal education (where I unlearned so much of that which I had learned) is helping me change my world for the better - if only in a tiny way. Education is my greatest joy, but formal education was my greatest obstacle to learning how to live a satisfying life. My formal education was formalized, legalized abuse that had its own dire consequences.
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      Mar 10 2013: Interesting. When you look back would you in any way say your formal education was kind of a waste of time? Because I am sure a comfortable living could be attained by a lot of jobs not requiring much education. I myself have been educated at a school. However with new influences such as books and people like yourself, I am beginning to ask whether donating my time to so much formal education is really a selfish or a charitable thing to do, for both me and the society.
  • Mar 10 2013: I think you are already assuming the answer. Not all teachers always are positive influences on their students. Being a ta in Grad School, a JC instructor, and a substitue teacher - I really question about the contribution one can make to those not interested in learning. Maybe that's only a problem in so called Rich Countries. INTJ's do not value boring people. However, sometime in TED conversations or the Huffington Post even I will find others value what I wrote. I have certainly learned a great deal from others in Grad Student bull sessions, the Lawyers Lounge at the courthouse, reading TED conversations and comments in the Huffington Post. I learned a great deal from another TEDster in a conversation I started on the Keystone Pipeline. He taught me a great deal. I believe that it is due to his curiousity, intelligence, and superior news coverage, and more serious politicians in Canada.
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      Mar 10 2013: Well put, sir. I would agree with you regarding the ' contribution one can make to those not interested in learning', but then again learning does not have to be limited to the parameters of a classroom as your rightly pointed out. As from your conclusion I understand that only people who are willing and curious will be able to change, and not others. But don't you think that is the precise reason of an education: To find a way, by applying ones knowledge, to get uninterested people interested?
      • Mar 10 2013: no,good education can advocate ourselves to live a happy life.And I think happiness is contagious.
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          Mar 10 2013: That will always be true. Smiles are contagious diseases, always be carrier! But again, this thread is more about advocating the society more than one individual, and if you think the latter is relevant to the former, I would love for you to elaborate!