TED Conversations

Simona Rich

Self Improvement Blogger, Simona Rich

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Does living in harmony with nature make you grow as a person?

When I lived in UK I met many creative people interested in self improvement, spirituality and natural living. They were people from the cities, either London or cities abroad.

When I moved to India, I witnessed some breath-taking locations untouched by the Westernization bug. However in those locations people were all about blindly following religion and culture, without much independent thought.

Even to this day I wonder why generally people who are most in touch with nature are least interested in spiritual and mental growth.


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    Aug 1 2013: Your observation may not be related to living in harmony with nature. Rather, people who are isolated from different ways of thinking and learning, regardless of the beauty of their natural surroundings, may not be as aware of the potential of independent thought and action as those who live in settings of regular exposure to diversity of cultures, ideas, and points of view. Creativity is most noticeable where cultures connect. Steven Johnson's TED talk is one that takes up this issue about the relationship between contact with different ways of thinking and creative breakthrough.
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      Aug 1 2013: Thank you Fritzie, your answer makes perfect sense.

      From my own experience, however, I can tell that some communities, even exposed to the foreign cultures, still remain exactly the same. Such a case, for example, is Kerala, India, where I lived for two years. Some people don't seem to be affected by foreign cultures, even when they deal with them almost on a daily basis.
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        Aug 2 2013: I understand this, Simona. Some people believe that all the wisdom on Earth resides in them or within a tight community of like-minded people and that they have nothing at all to learn from interaction with or or observation of those with different experience or perspectives. They believe that they can get no benefit from considering ideas other than their own or questioning what they already do and think.

        I find it remarkable, actually, when people are proud not to reflect on their own beliefs or consider questions others may raise about them.

        That attitude is such a huge impediment to learning and personal growth!
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          Aug 3 2013: I agree with you completely.
      • W T 100+

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        Aug 30 2013: I wanted to share this story with you......a TED member posted it in another conversation.

        An investment banker stood at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna.

        The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

        The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.”

        The banker then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

        The banker then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
        The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

      • W T 100+

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        Aug 30 2013: 'con't.....

        The investor scoffed, “I am an Ivy League MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. “

        The investor continued, “And instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would then sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution! You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

        The fisherman asked, “But how long will this all take?”

        To which the banker replied, “Perhaps 15 to 20 years.”

        “But what then?” asked the fisherman.

        The banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”

        “Millions. Okay, then what?” wondered the fisherman.

        To which the investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

        Sometimes a simple life is a sign of great wisdom and discernment and insight........

        I feel that perhaps you are generalizing too much, and do not have a rounded view of life......yet :)
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          Aug 31 2013: Interesting story. When I watch the TEDTalks about how robots will eliminate work, people often complain, because all they have been trained to do is work at a job. They don't know how to sleep late, fish a little, play with their kids, take siestas with their wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where they could sip wine with your amigos.

          This is an issue for those that retire as well. They are defined by their job, with few other interests.

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