TED Conversations

Doc Hancock

This conversation is closed.

Is society as a whole in an infant, adolescent, or maturing adult stage? Explain and relate to history and current global issues.

As individuals we move through the various stages of life growing in physical, mental, social, and spiritual capacities. Infants, for example, are the centers of their own universe. Adolescents "try on" different lifestyles. Maturing adults move past self-centeredness to help others. Where are we as a society in 2013? Please related your answer to history and current global issues. Thank you.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Aug 1 2013: Late adolescence. We still think we're invincible, can't plan ahead very well, and still use force as communication. But we've shown some glimmers of hope.

    The signs of hope are things like the UN, Wikipedia, our collective response to tragedies, and attempts at democracy.

    Most people are mostly cooperative most of the time. And we've created (sometimes cruel, sometimes supportive) systems to deal with the outliers. But we have a built-in biological limitation in our brains. We evolved to live with the hundred or so members of our little local tribe, and to think a generation or two forward in time. Beyond that, most populations, numbers and time scales get very theoretical.

    Because of that, we may always be bad at planning for our great-grandchildren, and we may always see leaders simply as the top warriors of tribes of 150 people.
    • thumb
      Aug 1 2013: Thank you Sandy. Your assessment has great merit. Your anthropological and social insights are quite perceptive. Let me ask you to comment on one aspect of your thought - your last paragraph. Do you see any possibility that we could make a quantum leap forward as the result of some major event, widespread awareness, tragedy, etc? Could, for example, a mass spiritual awakening fundamentally change how we relate to one another? Thank you again.
      • thumb
        Aug 1 2013: Wow, I would love to think so. This may be a bit off topic, but I study reincarnation, and an idea I think worth spreading is that we are all souls who have come to Earth and temporarily forgotten our true nature. When we're "home" between incarnations (Heaven if you like), we are much less fearful, we see the big picture, and we can be much more empathetic towards others.

        If you look at the literature on near death experience, it is almost universal that people who have glimpsed their true nature come back with a profound sense of peace, connectedness, and compassion. You see similar feelings from the thousands of people who have had a past life regression therapy sessions.

        Yes, it is possible. But I think it requires tapping into that higher self, and I'm not sure how to do it on a mass scale...

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.