TED Conversations

Kimberly Ann

Program Manager, Atienza Kali

This conversation is closed.

What is the bond that holds a community together? If woven properly, how can this common bond positively change the world?

How do we use this bond to strengthen our relationships and grow together as a species?

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      Jul 10 2013: How do we determine what a person should or should not be responsible for? Is it merely what is dictated in law?
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          Jul 11 2013: I believe that you can have a high level of individual freedom and still withstand a great sense of security within a community/country. - Case in point - USA. I believe that it is the individual freedoms which make the country be more secure because if you give people the option to be violent, educated, peaceful, etc (with consequences for negative action) that the vast majority of citizens will choose to be peaceful and cooperative.
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          Jul 11 2013: I'm probably one of the only supporters of the Patriot Act after all that has happened in the media as of late. But to the point of civil liberties and freedom, my favorite one that our country protects is freedom of speech which is how you and I are able to have this dialogue now. :)
      • Jul 28 2013: Do you really feel that the Patriot Act is compatible with freedom of speech in light of (1) the well-publicized government tracking of reporters' phone calls and (2) "Secret demands mark escalation in Internet surveillance by the federal government through gaining access to user passwords, which are typically stored in encrypted form"?

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    Jul 22 2013: The strength of such a bond increases the smaller the community size. The bigger the community and the more globalized it becomes, the fewer and more fragile the bonds.

    Democracy, ethics, empathy with others would all increase in strength where close interaction with others is very likely, and where it matters a great deal how my actions affect others - and vice versa.
  • Bob Gu

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    Jul 12 2013: Well wars can be averted, but on a community scale disputes can be averted as we learn to compromise. But at every source of a community is family. Family is the first step towards a community, each family has different views and values but when we are woven together by love, respect and compassion towards on and another, we can create a better community to influence other families part of an even bigger community. Now that's just the spark for a better world... We just to ignite
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    Jul 30 2013: The golden rule is too low a bar for my liking... Simply doing no harm stills allows many "sins" of omission and negligence that allow the bonds of trust to be weakened. A moral test that is more robust and directly beneficial to the bonds of community is "does this build or erode trust". Trust is the real currency of healthy communities, families and couples.
    • Aug 2 2013: to be trusted by a fellow person without doubt is the greatest thing that one can aim to achieve. Being honest generates that trust. if a person's value be decided based on the good deeds rather than wealth, everyone will follow the path of doing good. think once when you perform an act. how is this going to affect someone or anyone. put yourself in that person's place and then think if the act is the right thing to do or not. being on the other side will help to make sound decisions, which generates trust and respect. which aimed for by everyone, will become a strong community.
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        Aug 5 2013: Right on. "To thine own self be true," Shakespeare said. And in order to be true to yourself, you got to be honest with yourself.
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      Aug 5 2013: I think 'trust' might be better than any of the answers I gave. It makes such good sense. But what if I trust someone in the sense that I think they mean well, that they mean the very best, but at the same time I don't trust them in the sense that despite their best intentions and efforts they simply can't be relied upon to do the job?

      Let me give an example for you to answer, if you want, instead. Take a community as small as a basketball team. The game is in the final seconds and there is time for one more shot. As the coach, I know I can trust that any of my players would give that last shot their best shot (no pun intended), but can I really trust that all of them will actually make that shot, or is it more likely that I can only really trust that one? Honesty, as Jealani put it, seems to lay behind the trust or 'generates that trust.'

      That might seem like an outlandish example, but it is easy for me to see how a group of people build up trust in another. However, it is also easy to see how I can put too much trust in a person. What I need is to be honest with myself and with the other person about what they are really capable of. It seems less important that I want to trust a person, than it is whether or not I honestly can or should trust in that person.
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        Aug 7 2013: Daniel

        Thank you for your commentary. What I am proposing is to use trust as a self imposed standard by which to measure your own choices and actions. I am not proposing to dwell on the conditions of trust that I would invest in others actions or choices. I do not disagree that this is sometimes needed and beneficial, however the overarching dialogue in this conversation has to do with building the bonds of community.

        I submit to you another idea: that it is possible to express a lack of trust in another persons capabilities (such as the scenario that you describe), yet do it in a caring and honest manner that actually builds trust between you and that person in the long term. Conversely, it is possible to sugarcoat your communications with them, so that they do not get a clear understanding of your judgement until they infer it from your actions or from the comments of other people. In my opinion this strategy almost always erodes long term trust.
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          Aug 8 2013: The other idea you submitted made me think, Bernie, about the necessity of white lies and possibility of gentle (as opposed to brutal) honesty when being truthful while expressing doubt.

          I agree with you that the sugarcoating of communications erodes long term trust. I think it is more difficult, for me at least, to express a lack of trust in other people in a caring and honest manner. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm not even thinking you're wrong. The sense of alienation from society (i.e. community) that I experience comes from the inability to be honest with one another, to have real conversations about real things, because it seems to me that everything must have a thick crust of sugarcoating.

          But despite my best efforts to express a lack of trust in caring and honest manners, I must be terrible at doing so, because people most often taken offense or get defensive or generally turned the encounter into a situation. So its better to keep my mouth shut most of the time. I'm sick of the sugarcoating and I'm not getting through (yet) with the 'lovingkindness' sort of anti-trust. That's why I've honed in on the honesty that Jealani spoke about.

          I really appreciate your response, though. I've had to sit here an unusually long time composing my response and searching for a way to explain myself, which only came after a quarter of an hour contemplating the second paragraph of your comment.
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    Jul 27 2013: The answer to this question can compose many thick books. But I shall try to simplify it by focusing on the most basics.

    Any community is composed of individuals. So it would be reasonable to say that the secret of the bond that holds any community together would lie in the quality of the bonds between the individuals which compose such a community. IMO, the basic condition for any healthy bond between 2 individuals is first of all from the moral aspect. I had written just recently what I think is the most basics of any moral code and it's found here:

    On top of the basic moral code, there are also other factors which are also important for holding a community together, like Love, common community values, common vision....etc. But without preserving the basic moral code, all the attempts to keep the other factors become artificial and those factors gradually turn to be very shaky, in the sense that they lose their power as adhesives to hold the community together.
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      Aug 5 2013: I like where you are going with this. Can it go deeper than the relationship between one person and the another? Does the community not begin with the relationship that a person has with their own self?
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        Aug 6 2013: That's true I guess. Actually everything I guess is related to the self. If all would see this, there will be less conflicts in the world as people would less blame others for their own troubles and start searching answers within themselves. Also, if one creates moral relationship with the other, it means he/she has reached some inner understanding.

        If you like this way of thinking, I have related completely another question in other TED discussion to our inner character. You can find it here: http://www.ted.com/conversations/14635/the_power_of_a_brand_to_turn_u.html?c=556835
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    Jul 25 2013: The bond that holds a community? You could say it is different for each group, but on a closer examination, it is my belief that the bond is simply love. Love of friendship, of romantic relationships, of fun and companionship. The bond that holds a community together is the strings of social longing coursing through our blood; our need for comradiity and understanding, of laughter and play, and above all, a desire to be together as humans. And yet, we ignore it. We largely ignore that calling to unite, and instead play the game of life behind closed doors, on little islands, in our own little worlds. We rarely know our neighbors. A knock on the door is unexpected and sadly, often suspisious. We avoid direct eye contact and often choose silence over conversation.


    What happened? How did we arise from highly social groups to this independent, isoloated society of illusion-chasers? They won in the game of capitalism. We are indeed a money-driven, product-buying, status-climbing tribe, but what we lost was so much more. We lost our humanity.

    How do we rediscover our roots? It is so simple, yet so difficult for reasons I don't understand. We live it! We can embrace the coming age, with all it's techonolgy and gadgets, yet still remember to be human beings. Invite your neighbor for a backyard barbecue. Hold a community kickball game. Volunteer at the soup kitchen. Have a block party. Hold a weekly game night at your home. So simple!

    Let's talk to each other agian. Let's eat with each other, and tell each other stories. Let's get to know who you are, and in return, we will discover who we are.

    Let's get together, and change the world.
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      Aug 5 2013: I don't know, Mandy. It seems like whatever it is that bonds a community together has to allow for it to expand and contract and allow for the expression of human passions rather than the repression or denial of them. I don't think it is realistic let alone necessary to say that love between one and all in whatever form is most appropriate to whatever relationship is the common bond. Maybe something like respect? Have we evolved enough to be capable of loving one another on a planet of more than seven billion people? I sympathize with your feeling that we have lost our humanity, but that very loss seems to be the result of our minds evolving far faster than our hearts. That would then suggest the common bond come from something more mental. An intellectual recognition of the equality of all people, an ideology of mutual respect...I know I'm using cold, stuffy ways of putting it, but something like that seems like it would work better. To me. I still try and go at life and the world and myself and everyone else with a lot of love every, or at least a little more each, day.
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    R H 30+

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    Jul 25 2013: I would say that 'the vision' is the bond. The community is held by common vision. We define who we are, what's important, and where we're going or what we're doing. I don't believe we can 'change' the world. The world is going where it wants, and we can barely consciously change ourselves besides the whole of the world. But to have a 'common bond', I would offer that we would need to have respect for each other first - lose our self-importance, our self-righteousness, without losing our self-respect. We would need the humility to yield, yet the wisdom and courage to uphold what's being well done. We would need a 'forest for the trees' dedication to outcome, and to those who struggled to cope, our highest priority and attention. Then, we could trust again. We could have 'buy-in' for the vision. We would know that we - people - were the highest priority, and that our freedom to live and our well-being was the only goal - each and every one of us - and that the failure of one was a disgrace to us all. Because we are a connected race, and therein lies our true strength and joy.
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      Aug 5 2013: I like your idea. I gave it a thumbs-up. It's an interesting answer that you've given, 'the vision'. I'm curious, however, if it is reasonable to think that a common vision is really thing or not. It makes me think of vision statements and mission statements and such made my corporations. Which are a kind of community. They are made up of individuals working together as a whole. But just as all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares, so to all corporations are communities, but not all communities are corporations. A common vision might work well for a corporation, but take one look at the divisive nature of democracy (at least in my country) and it is readily apparent that we do not hold a common vision. Rather this is a country, in fact, a world of competing visions. In my opinion.
  • Jul 22 2013: Great topic, great conversation.

    I took a stab @ my own answer in a TEDx Talk called "Kibbutzing Your Hood". My idea? Strong communities depend on a high "kibitz quotient" — and tend to have built environments & cultures that promote conversation, cooperation, positive gossip & ultimately a shared mythology to rally around when times get tough.

    Scaling that up can be tricky, though, especially when so much in our high-tech world pulls in the opposite direction.

    I welcome any thoughts...

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    Jul 22 2013: knowing each other personally. beyond that, the best you can hope for is empathy but the wider the circle, the weaker the bond.

    people are very removed from each other through distance and time as well as the systems we put in place.
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      Jul 22 2013: I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman last night who had so much beautiful life experience. It is my hope that everyone can have experiences like that. We had a deep and insightful conversation that truly opened my eyes to how much is possible in this world.
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    Jul 12 2013: Communities that survive will have more than a single bond holding them together. Be that as it may, the main warp and weave of a successful society are love and respect. Things happen that make us lose sight, perhaps only temporarily, of our love or respect for someone, but the strength of our other thread can hold us together until the lost thread is regained in a less emotionally charged time.
    Building bonds with other people or societies require us to offer love and respect. If we can not accept another person, or society, it is a sign, whether justified or unjustified, that we do not love nor respect that person or society. The broad view would show us that every person or society has aspects that are both lovable and worthy of respect. To grow together as a species, we have to put our emphasis on the aspects which we can love and respect. If we allow our fear of their differences to drive us away, then we will never be able to grow together.
  • Jul 12 2013: Kindness,Love.
  • Jul 11 2013: Sense of belonging



    If it's not forced,
    the fact that each one is responsible for the group makes them stronger and prevents them from being corrupted(or being extremely selfish)
    What we need is a proper sense of responsibility.
    Not only does it hold a community together, but also it changes the world.
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    Jul 11 2013: Love, understanding, wise leaders, common heritage; shared goals and aspiration.
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    Jul 10 2013: the word you are looking for is LOVE.
    thats one true bond. thats what holds a community together.
    one doesn't need to use it to strengthen our relationships and grow because that is its default characteristics.
    you said 'if woven properly' ...that somewhere assumes that the world doesn't understand the language of love yet.
    so, one need not worry about how this 'bond' will work coz its alive.
    one needs to rather focus on the 'woven' part. one needs to connect with the whole.
    and we do not just become a part but become the whole.
    then love overflows.
    then whatsoever 'change' was needed at the very moment is taken care.
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      Jul 11 2013: Love changes everything. :) I believe that we can connect the whole through positive thoughts leading to positive action.

      it is not you that is changed by my love
      it is my love that finally
      changed me.
    • Jul 16 2013: Samuel: your basic idea is good, but at present the average person is just not up to it. It is a fact of history, as well as social psych that people "weave" just fine with those with whom they feel a cultural identity or at least a manageable similarity. That's what ethnic groups really are. It is clear that this feeliing can be expanded, but probably not by force or coercion, just experience. That seems to be the lesson of US "Integration", a very disappointing experience for most people in the US. You just can't rush it without Blowback.
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    Jul 25 2013: The bond is communication
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      Jul 26 2013: What sort of communication do you believe to be most beneficial? Is it more paralinguistic or linguistic based?
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        Aug 5 2013: I'm not sure what you mean by paralinguistic or linguistic based. David's comment made me think about how paramount communication is within communities and between communities. If communication were to be the bond it would suggest a world in which it is no longer necessary to go to war, because there is a consensus that a diplomatic solution can be reached. When I think of what is requisite to have an open communication, and I mean a real dialogue, I think of respect, free expression, active listening, etc., all of which happen to be the requisites for a community.

        In other words, if you can hold a conversation then you can have a community. The key is communication. That may or may not be what David intended, but that's what came to my mind when I read his comment. I'll probably re-think it over a different way in the next couple minutes, but oh well.
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      Aug 5 2013: David, I think that is a start in the right direction. I'd be interested to hear what your answers are to Kimberly's questions.
  • Jul 25 2013: Someone once answered a similar question for me in an unexpected way.

    The question was: "If wealth is the product of cooperation, what is cooperation the product of?"

    After some thought about their life experiences, their answer was: "Dependency."

    In the specific case you speak of, locally derived incomes, or cooperation derived income, or meeting of needs.

    ... Er, that would be if you are defining community by geography.

    Thank you for asking this question. That is as pat an answer as I know, but this question, to me at least, requires a discussion with a lot of listening on my part.
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      Jul 26 2013: Likewise. I am finding that the more in depth this conversation becomes, the more silent I am as I am digesting all of the responses to see how I can best formulate my own conclusion on the matter.
  • Jul 24 2013: I think you have already found the bond; TED.
  • Jul 22 2013: hate to say this but until the human race thinks of itself as 1 tribe with a shared set of moral codes, nothing is going to change. Personal contact helps but as I was told many years ago, "I do not fear my neighbors, I fear yours."
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      Jul 22 2013: I have faith that the world can and will change for the better. I've seen this happening first hand.
      • Jul 22 2013: and i have seen the inhumanity than men can do to each other. i hope you are right but since you have seen it, they are your neighbors.
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    Jul 22 2013: .

    The "bond" is the symbiosis in our DNA.
    It makes humankind survive in very difficult conditions 10,000 years ago.
  • Jul 21 2013: This is a question that fits in with my theory that we are all connected by the spark of energy that is life. Most people call it soul or spirit. However, spirit is so overwhelmed by mental images and thoughts that it is usually drowned out. Our western "civilized" culture thrives on being separate -- the win/lose idea behind everything we do. However, the many faces of spirituality that have emerged over the last couple of decades gives me hope. Everything really is an illusion, except that connection. I am writing a screenplay in which an entire community evolves into a whole new way of doing things, and it depends on this connection. I just started it a few weeks ago, and am open to suggestions of things to include to make it more interesting or exciting. You can find details about it here: https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=7574015113281130853#editor/target=post;postID=2606066310011499927;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=7;src=postname
  • Jul 19 2013: The bond that holds a community together is love. You have to be willing to love your neighbor as yourself. Speak to them, offer to help them when you see that they are in need, and not just your neighbor on your right and left, but those all around you. It is then and only then, that others will watch, admire and follow in your footsteps.
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    Jul 16 2013: Interacting with people in a positive cooperative way.
    Meeting face to face on a regular basis is therefore crucial for strong bonds.

    This fabric of connections is what forms society.

    If you are cooperative, and encourage others to do so as well (being cooperative and encouraging others to do so as well), then you can change the world towards a direction you so choose.
  • Jul 15 2013: The bond which holds a community or people together is empathy and caring for one another. As our amount of care grows, so does our love and compassion and happiness.
  • Jul 14 2013: First and foremost, the most overriding consideration: The inverse of size. The larger a community is, the less cohesive it will be. Thus, there will probably never be a "common bond" for the world. The trend is apparently hard-wired into primate nervous systems. After a certain size, people just are not able to care.
    • Jul 15 2013: Quite so.

      As harsh as it seems the more the world populates the less we can arrest poverty and abuse. People give up, remembering our countries have homeless too. Giving more and more aid is just not possible without some restraint on the numbers being born. The caring is there and compassion however all is overridden where the problem is the sheer numbers ...7 Billion today..... 12 billion on the horizon.

      Reminds me of a local dilemma - too many domestic animals being born. Millions just being born to be euthanased. All animals sold at a pet shop to be desexed before sale to stop the carnage. For humans microchip contraception.
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        Jul 25 2013: I agree Karmel.

        The population is growing beyond it's sustainable size. Some kind of control needs to be endorsed or the Earth's resources will fail to support the whole. Voluntary microchipped contraception is a touchy suggestion, as I can definitely see abuse arising with it. However, as it appears from the grossly immense number of unplanned pregnancy and the paths in which people choose to address it (I am not going there, so we'll keep on track with the topic) it seems that better methods for birth control should be considered.

        I second that population overload is a great hinder to the possibility for a greater sense of community in the world, but it is not an impossibility. We simply need to adjust.
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    . . 100+

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    Jul 12 2013: LOVE
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    Jul 11 2013: There are many factors. The scientific field that asks these questions are varied. Social Psychology, Anthropology, History, and Sociology in particular study these bonds that tie us together.

    History has an interesting set of lessons about the U.S.A. Millions of people came to America when it was an untamed wilderness. Millions more have come to live in the new, urban landscape. History teaches us that the ONE fact that all of these people had in common was their great LACK of common ideas & values & beliefs. The only exception to that rule is those who came to the Americas as slaves. Their story is special & unique.

    But all these people, got together and created a new nation based upon ideas that had never ALL been implemented together for everyone all at the same time. Mostly people just helped one another create a civilization out of a wilderness. All those cultural, language, & religious differences just did not matter once everyone had to pull together to make things work!

    I guess the most important things is having a common goal & a common dream that everyone can hope to achieve together. That is what is most important for everyone. That is the thing that has changed the world.
    • Jul 16 2013: Juan: you are describing a Noble Effort, but one which , as we see by our current politics , is simply beyond our capabilities right now. Maybe after we all become Buddhist-Quakers, it might happen.
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    Jul 11 2013: Sympathy.
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      Jul 11 2013: Does sympathy bind us, or is the energy generated that is attracting us to one another that enables us to sympathize with those who need our care and attention?
  • Jul 10 2013: I believe what brings a community together is that which defines it; it's culture. A good example of this might be the military where a culture creates a sense of comradery among the team. Stated core values, organizational slogans and a "mission-oriented" lifestyle bond servicemembers of varying backgrounds.
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      Jul 11 2013: How much of our culture is dictated/driven by history and what to you is an ideal definition of culture in action? What is the evolution of culture in your opinion?
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    Jul 10 2013: I would like to think taking people of the same interest in community and putting them next to each other within the community would be a great benefit. Next to that community would be another just like it with uniqueness from within each.

    I have a David Clark headset just like that one. ;)
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      Jul 10 2013: If we were to separate each group within the community would they help us to find the common bond OR should we connect people of differing opinions to find the root of their commonalities?

      I love that headset! I can hear everything!