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The social construct drives inertia, driving us all on the single focus of getting through their daily lives, away from anything meaningful.

Generally speaking, even if people want to be more responsible about saving the planet, there are so many forces conspiring to keep them living the way they currently do, it is almost impossible to change.

All the silly things we have come to believe and live by like:
Use By Dates on food
Processed food being better than fresh
All the different house cleaners we need
The kinds of clothes that define status at the office
The status of transport
The way real estate value is defined
And on it goes. It is very difficult to bust out of something which completely consumes everything you do all day long and believe without question. Even as it may well be, in the main, totally ridiculous, potentially insane and extremely wasteful.

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    Mar 15 2013: .
    It is not "The social construct drives inertia, driving us all .... away from anything meaningful".
    It is invalid happiness !

    ....
    (1) Valid happiness is the short-time feeling of things being a-step-better
    . . for keeping our DNA alive.
    (2) Invalid happiness is the short-time feeling of things being a-step-“worse”
    . . for keeping our DNA alive.
    . . E.g. Having junk food, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, abusing drug,
    . . .... making too much money(causing inequality, crimes, wars, .... human self-extinction).
    (3) “Invalid happiness” is out of the valid scope of our instincts formed 10,000 years ago.
    ....


    (For details, see the 1st article, points 1-3, 14, at
    https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D&id=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D%21283&sc=documents).
  • Mar 14 2013: I believe the rest have spoken quite wisely about your question and it is now time, to take the time, and figure out what you can do to break that mold you are in.
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    Mar 14 2013: Jennifer,
    With your question and comments, you are simply reinforcing the beliefs you present. There are no "forces conspiring" to keep anyone from making better choices in the life experience. If you choose to believe the things you mention in your introduction, it is a choice you make in every moment. If you choose to believe something different, take the steps you need to take to "bust out". If you continue to say it is "impossible", that is the reality you create for yourself. If you believe you can move beyond the idea that there are forces conspiring against you, that also is the reality you create for yourself. Good luck with changing your perception and "busting out"......it is a choice:>)
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    Mar 14 2013: The word "almost" in your sentence says more than the rest of your post.
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    Mar 14 2013: Do you really believe that everyone is consumed by the issues you raise and that few pursue activities that are meaningful or think about meaning? Some examples: Do you know many people personally who believe processed foods are better than fresh or who are preoccupied with the status of transport or clothes in the office?

    Do you know many people who do not seek meaning in their lives and who do not do things every day or week that are meaningful to them?

    I am not asking whether they don't do things also that don't mean much to them.
  • Mar 18 2013: "All the silly things we have come to believe and live by ..."

    Your use of "we" may be misplaced within a TED conversation. You are preaching to the choir.

    There are many people who do not question the many practices, customs and unspoken beliefs that shape their lives, but few of them are here at TED. Those who do not question their own lives must first be awakened.
  • Mar 14 2013: Your points are well made and I really appreciate the meaning in your responses, but it isn't a personal struggle I refer to. I raise the question in the context of changing behaviour to stop mindless consumption, think more about the way people are treated around the world in the creation of goods and services and to stall climate change. It is the innocent ignorance with which most of us live our daily lives, completely unaware of the extent to which we are manipulated by marketing, news and the influence of friends that I refer to.
    I guess my point is more centrally that people don't pay attention to the real truth in many of these things and in the main, see no reason to. In general, we all just continue to accept all kinds of things because there are (reasonably) more important things in our lives. 'Bigger' things like raising the kids, getting a promotion, saving for the most perfect vacation, having meaningful conversation like this. While these matters are integrally important, I really believe that it is paying more attention to the little things we often dismiss that will make a real difference to changing the way we live.We need to in order to create any kind of group integrity. Which is what we need to save our own futures.
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      Mar 14 2013: Do you believe "most of us live our daily lives completely unaware of the extent to which we are manipulated by marketing, news, and the influence of friends?"

      I think one reason you may be getting responses of the sort below is that your question suggests one of two possibilities. One is that those who you know well and interact with have demonstrated to you these sorts of lives and beliefs. Another is that you do not actually see this in yourself and those around you but believe this to be true of a different population of people about whom you assume such beliefs and habits.

      Some people are trying to help if you see this problem within yourself and your circle. Others may be more interested in raising the question of whether your assumption is actually true for those outside of your circle.
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      Mar 15 2013: Jennifer,
      You continue to write as if it IS your "personal struggle"..." the innocent ignorance with which most of us live our daily lives, completely unaware of the extent to which we are manipulated by marketing, news and the influence of friends that I refer to."....."In general, we all just continue to accept all kinds of things because there are (reasonably) more important things in our lives".

      You seem to be projecting your own beliefs Jennifer.

      You write..."I really believe that it is paying more attention to the little things we often dismiss that will make a real difference to changing the way we live.We need to in order to create any kind of group integrity. Which is what we need to save our own futures."

      It feels like you are dismissing all the good and beneficial things that people are doing in our world. "BE what you want to "SEE".
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    Mar 14 2013: Another question I think about is whether things that save the planet have a downside. For example, if we recycle, it puts people out of work who make the new bags and bottles.

    I do like the idea that people change gradually and at their own pace. Even changing 5% is better than not at all.
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      Mar 15 2013: Greg,
      How about if the people who USED to make bags and bottles NOW work with recycling proceedures?
  • Mar 14 2013: A further comment: At one time or another, we all have had some or all those feelings. But when we looked in the mirror we saw the real cause of our own distress. We then sat back & figured out a way (with or without help) to change ourselves.
    You are never alone when it comes to this or other things that go on in life. Just reach out to someone who can help you.