Rebecca Lynn

This conversation is closed.

What is my obligation to society and the world?

I am a person that was born in good health, to a great family, a relatively high IQ, and with financial means and connections. I have struggled my entire life with feeling that have not done my part to contribute to the solving the problems of the world. Is there a TED scholar in this community that can help me come up with a realistic goal that would allow me to feel satisfied with my contribution to the world? I would love it if someone could come up with a talk relating to this subject.

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    Sep 13 2013: Rebecca,
    It seems like you may benefit from this other conversation?
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/20282/what_is_guilt_and_what_is_it_s.html?c=743081

    You say you have "struggled my entire life with feeling that have not done my part to contribute to the solving the problems of the world".

    Why do you continue to struggle? You say you have a high IQ, financial means and connections. That tells me that you have the physical and emotional/mental resources to try something, explore possibilities.....just do it!

    What makes your heart sing? What brings you joy and pleasure? How can you share your talents and skills with others? I find that more good things happen from a feeling of love and joy, rather than from a feeling of obligation.
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    Sep 16 2013: Whether or not you feel satisfied with your contribution to the world is something no one else but you can work out. Frankly, it's not about how you feel, but simply living out what you decide to do instead of spending a lot of time analyzing and over-thinking the issue. If you do something and feel your efforts are wasted, you move on. That's what life is all about: work, failure, and persistence. If you expect satisfaction you're setting yourself up for the exact opposite of that. If you expect a thankless slog -- and do it anyway -- you'll have moments (even days) when you achieve some insignificant thing that matters only to you -- and you'll feel good about that. This is called real life. Billions of folks do this every day. None follows a single template. They improvise.
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    Sep 14 2013: .....
    To be my true self
    To be the best person that I can be
    To bring my best knowledge, skill and effort to help others
    To bring joy, peace and love everywhere I am
    To leave the world I touch a better place than I found it
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      Sep 19 2013: Clear answer. I agree. (As we say in Spain, "the good, if brief, is twice as good")
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    Sep 21 2013: A well person is a connected person. Knowing what is happening and contributing to your community is vital. Each person's contribution will be different, you must be true to your self and expand upon what you do best. For some, it is mentoring a child, for others, it is contributing ideas and for other it is contributing leadership skills to a non-profit. Explore your strengths and then see how those strengths can best contribute. Are you a leader? - become a trustee, are you an organizer? - create/contribute to a community event, are you compassionate? - mentor a child. The only mandate is this - the role you choose must fit your strengths.
  • Sep 20 2013: “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”- Buddha

    Until we learn to love ourselves, we are not much good to society or the world. Once we learn to love and accept ourselves as we are the impact is felt throughout society and the world becomes a better place. Rebecca Lynn, the world is a better place because you are here, believe it and make it so.

    "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."- Mother Teresa
  • Sep 15 2013: My highest obligation is to be who I was born to be. I could have been born in any age, and in any country, but I am where I am, and I am here now, not fifty years ago, but today! It could be chance, but I choose to believe that I am relevant to this age. I choose to believe that this moment in time requires my presence, for some reason, no matter how small. Living each day with grace and dignity, and unpacking the mystery of who I am and why I am, is the best gift I could give myself and my generation.
    • Sep 16 2013: You don't find that horridly arrogant and condescending to those with less luck? Take that to the woman who spent three decades in a basement in Austria and her teenage children who had never seen the light of day. Take it to the people who are doing the same thing RIGHT NOW who will never escape and whose tormentors will never be caught. Several people, right now, are wasting away in some psychopaths basement in almost incomprehensible unhappiness and will die in that basement. You brush off their suffering with some nebulous cosmic purpose and fancy yourself in your blissful ignorance. A large portion of humanity is in misery and you glibly and sycophantically pretend the best gift you can give them is unpacking the mystery of who you are. It's despicable.
    • Sep 16 2013: You could've been born in a backwards country where you'd be sold at 6 years old into prostitution!
      You could've been born into a poor african country and die from starvation,
      You could've been born into some tribe that would cut out your body parts!

      I don't know how can someone be so selfish, just look at what you wrote, every sentence is a "I" and "my" and "myself".

      It is because people think like you that there is so much misery and poverty in a world where we produce 8 times more than we need and could guarantee a decent living for every human being with only 5% of the wealth!
  • Sep 15 2013: Very simple.

    Do your best, do not waste time, look for positive ways to apply your gifts and amplify their effect by influencing many, and enjoy life.

    One of the tricks to life is to find something you enjoy doing, that also helps other people. If you manage to do this, you will be happy while you bring happiness to others. If you are happy, your gifts will spin positive.

    Personal satisfaction is achieved from within. Realize you are human, you deserve to enjoy life like everyone else. Create opportunities for yourself to achieve this happiness, then allow yourself to be happy and have fun.

    The happier you are with yourself and your life, the more you can truly share. If you are happy, others will want to be like you, and your opinions and decisions will carry more influence as a result of their observations.

    How to find happiness, have fun, and enjoy life might take some experimenting. Try new things, learn a new skill, visit someplace you have always wanted to explore. Enrich your life's experiences. This will give you more knowledge of self and breadth to draw from when you look for 'good fits' and 'great fits' for applying your talents to your life's work. With a bit of luck and opportunity, you will find your passion! If not, keep looking.
  • Sep 15 2013: With respect, I think you have all the time in the world. To me, you’re a lucky person.
    Nonetheless I wish you all the best(really) ‘cause if a person like you really tries to do something that would be helpful this society, it would make a big change.

    I was born in a relatively poor family and I had few opportunities to study.
    Despite all these, I always have this sense of responsibility that I should be able to take care of my family and should be helpful to any society I happen to belong to. Even a slight implication that I could take from any chance, I shall regard it as an opportunity and go for it. I wouldn’t call it some sort of obligation to society and to the world—for I know that I am never a big help yet.
    But every day, however small it may be, I do my best to consume my power and knowledge. And whether I intended or not it somehow contributes to society I belong. Humble as I am, I’m satisfied with these little things and determined to move on while constantly resisting the desire to give up.
    • Sep 21 2013: Hi Elizabeth,
      Can you please share more about this: "while constantly resisting the desire to give up"...
      I tend to feel the same way and I struggle with it... so I'm interested in your insights... Do you know why this constant discouragement comes again and again... even when intellectually we believe in small achievements and efforts...
      Thx
      • Sep 23 2013: It’s certainly not easy to resist.
        Especially when the sudden realization—“I’m not smart enough, not equipped enough, and not strong enough to deal with situations like this”—hits me on head, I feel like mocking myself and eventually end up thinking to myself, “This is ridiculous! I quit.”

        It took me long time to realize that there’s no particular answer.

        I just decided to think nothing, but feel positive things, basically through music or just listening to a baby’s laugh.

        Ironically, sometimes the simplest methods can be the best solution—even if it’s just a temporary cure.
        And if we just keep pushing ourselves with it—go with it, and resist the desire to “scoff oneself—while suggesting there’s always an easy way-out for a dumb like me”, that’s where you happen to stand on the half way.


        :)

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P94DusN4LsY
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    Sep 14 2013: Listen to what you are saying Rebecca: "A life long struggle with the feeling ....you are not contributing". There is a part inside you which struggles for your attention to a certain talent of yours which you have left it latent and obscure. This is the part of you that can and will contribute to the alleviation of pain in this world. You see Rebecca, the inner "nagging" occurs for the same reasons the outer nagging occurs.... no response to the real need. You have the need to feel significant through your contribution to a meaningful action towards this direction. Therefore heeding your inner impulses and nuances can reveal to you the potency of the side which has been neglected or suppressed so far on favour of other parts more social and comfortable. Actually in order to contribute to a solution - in whatever field we start by listening/attending/responding to a real need.
    Therefore find out your passions, and then look out to what field of this world you would like to participate actively. Environmental awareness, women’s causes, children’s causes, men’s issues, animal welfare, old age, schools, NGO’s. What inspires you most and where do you feel passionate and comfortable at the same time. You can have an investigating look in health issues, poverty issues, love issues, relationships, interspecies understanding, peace building etc. One can find things that inspire the mind and the heart. It is important that we find satisfaction in whatever we are doing, since during our contribution we actually contribute to the development of our spiritual awakening. I am saying that we have to honour our little voices and senses since they usually have something valuable to communicate to us in terms of directing our actions to match our talents, potential and inner wishes to make good to the world we are living in.
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    Sep 14 2013: "I have struggled my entire life with feeling that have not done my part to contribute to the solving the problems of the world." I think the problems can only be solved if you decide to search for the truth and good in your own life. I have spent and I have seen others spend a lot of time dedicated to solidarity, volunteer work etc (which is good.. I'm not saying it isn't) but at the end of the day the problems in this world can only be solved if each one decides to solve what is lacking in their own life: forgiving others, smiling when it is difficult, working knowing you are serving others and not just your paycheck, boost others rather than cut them down, generosity, commitment, loyalty.. in a word: genuine love for others. That's what makes the difference.
  • Sep 13 2013: The world is a complex place and good intent often has unforeseen consequences.

    I recommend keeping it local and small. I am a computer programmer (C#) and I give my time to teach people to program who are in wheel chairs due to accidents. These people has lost there income and need a new career. About 25% of them go onto college and end up programming – I consider this a success.
  • Oct 12 2013: The question can only be answered by you.
    Once you have figured out your greatest strengths are, then you can figure out how to use them to benefit society. Also realize that just because your actions do not directly affect millions of people right away, that it is not affecting the global society.
    Remember there is an event called "chain reaction, butterfly effect, etc."
    Your actions or non-actions will have an effect on someone half way round the world, only thing is you won't be there to see it.
    Good Luck.
  • Oct 10 2013: your obligation to the world is too find your passion or what your good at and offer it to the world.. there is nothing wrong with a good honest life, make money and be happy as long as you remain honest.. if you happen to become successful applying your gift then find a cause to support.. this is something everyone should give there best doing!
  • Oct 9 2013: It's interesting I would have thought his question closed weeks ago but reading the comments and all the well thought offers to remedy the planet and society in general or to look inward. No one has suggested that you raise a good family.

    I think in doing so, we are ashamed to suggest that a healthy woman not do the one thing she is capable of doing, pro create. You mention all the elements for what is key to having a family. Family fills that gap in our nature when we are confronted with life's transitions. For some, having a child in a family is the only or one accomplishment they can say was their contribution to the world. A small thought but an important one. More talks on the value of human life and a strong family would be a great topic.
  • Oct 3 2013: Your answers are embedded in ; the act of serving, giving, loving, caring, passion, compassion,etc.. when you do these and knowing jesus, you will feel brand new.
  • Oct 3 2013: Please look at Amanda Palmer's ted talk, if you have not. If I am right Amanda is giving to people in need. The thing she is giving is hope that we can connect. It takes some work and vulnerability and persistence and a thick skin but she seems to be getting it done. She hit on a way to have the symbol of success, a lot of money, come to her group. That helps. I hope she keeps doing what she does. Her self choreographed job is unique. Her self choreographed job is productive. Her self choreographed job is artistry beyond ordinary.
    Yes, I hope she keeps doing it.
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    Sep 25 2013: It's evident you are from a great family, because you have retained your conscience in a prosperous environment. That will assure you of a fulfilling life. It will influence your decisions. It will make you whole. It will bring you joy. Go to Africa and feed children.
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    Sep 22 2013: Take to heart in every aspect of your being, Gandhi's words, " there is enough for every man's (and woman's) need but not for everyone's greed". Live simply and wisely and keep your consumption low. For starters....
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    Sep 22 2013: I believe that our obligation to society is to try to be the best person that we are capable of being, following whatever path is most meaningful for us, that causes no intentional harm to others. For me, this path has been teaching and education. My obligation to myself and to the young people I work with is to be the absolute best teacher I'm capable of. And this is true for any role we play - we need to aim to be the best we are capable of being at everything we choose to take our time doing. It is when we give of ourselves, and the best our selves have to offer, that we have fulfilled our obligations as human beings.
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    Sep 20 2013: Rebecca I couldn't really express myself in 2000 characters. What I'm essentially trying to say is, if you have the means and the right connections then use it to make a difference at a level that will impact the entire structure of our world. Initially when I began thinking of doing something worthwhile I wanted to open a school and give children a good education, but with time I thought that if I opened a school I might benefit only those children who come to that school. But if I can help initiate a process that would change our entire education system I could help millions of children. We need to change our entire school curriculum as well as our approach to education. You could start by speaking to people involved in such endeavors and perhaps listen to TED talks on such topics. I suggest you listen to the talks given by Ken Robinson. You don't have to be an educator to change our education system. You need to have the desire to initiate a change. If you are motivated enough we can change things in our countries and the world at large. :)
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    Sep 20 2013: Hi Rebecca, a lot of wise people have shared their valuable opinions in this conversation but I would still like to add my foolish thoughts if you don't mind.

    What I've noticed in my life and in the lives of the people around me is that we all grow up with many dreams which usually center around us being rich, beautiful, popular and happy. We spend the best part of our lives striving to make these dreams come true. Many of us do manage to make most, if not all, of our dreams come true.

    The sad part is the more we get in life the more empty we feel. There comes a point in everyone's life when we feel we need to do something meaningful in life. I'm sure we all go through this phase in life. Yet very few of us actually do something meaningful at the end of the day. I guess if we wait too long to find something worthwhile to do we'll reach a point when we would no longer want to do anything worthwhile.

    I'm going through the same phase that you are going through. From what I see in your question, you want a realistic goal that would help you feel satisfied with your contribution to the world. Well this is what I think is the best thing you could do in your country. Help change the education system. You can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, donate to charities but trust me these things won't solve the world's problems.

    The only way I see to help change our world is by giving our children the right education. If we could only teach our children to be more human and humane, this world would be a better place to live in. Just think about it for a moment. We can't change adults. But if we can teach our children important things like forming and maintaining meaningful relationships along with subjects like math and science, there would fewer wars, divorces, instances of crime and hatred.

    I'm trying to create awareness in India about the changes we need in our education system. You could do it in your country too. We need to treat the disease and not the symptoms.
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      Sep 25 2013: There are massive changes coming upon the education system. The delivery system is rapidly becoming internet video, on demand. Universal education is now possible. All we need is content. It will be show business. As teachers present the various daily lessons. Just think, the most popular grade one teacher will be rich and famous. With a million hits a day, at a penny a hit, they'd make $10,000 a day. Not bad . I'd say education is going to get a lot better as we leave the old paradigm of preparing for the past and enter the new paradigm of preparing for the obvious future, with current tools. The reason it is obvious, is that it's cheaper and it's possible. I can't say if it will be better or not but its inevitable.
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    Sep 20 2013: As long as you have not hurt anybody, you are cleared of all obligation. but I still believe we are all in one planet just to help and support each other forget about hurting.
  • Sep 19 2013: You know, if someone had asked me this question a month ago my answer would be very different. I have found that there is in fact very little we can do for the world. There are few who truly can, and those will be dedicated to it for a long time now. But that doesn't mean anything... You can try to be one in a million marching against monsanto, supporting libya (or not) or any other political and social movements. This is probably a very healthy act. But you can equally spend your effort locally. I've seen so many interesting projects with agriculture, be it planting food on the sidewalk to your home, making a food forest that will be a) self sustainable, b) a forest by function, and c) feed the locals, give impromptu concerts to the homeless, have random conversation with strangers in need, etc.!

    I saw a talk recently championing the helping of others, for this very act releases a hormone that brings about tranquility and (probably) happiness and self satisfaction. Ultimately, I am sure that with a little direction, you can find that which you seek as a form of social contribution. Just in case, here's a talks I believe you might find interesting:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la.htm

    But keep your eyes open and i'm sure you will think of more pertinent and applicable ideas to where you live!
    Regards,
    Bruno
  • Sep 19 2013: Well Maybe all your contribution is being a doctor or road builder. And the only way to know if society will be better off by your contribution is by contributing and seeing what happens and learning from that
  • Sep 19 2013: Your obligation is to contribute only as much as u can
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      Sep 19 2013: I may not be reading your meaning correctly, but I completely disagree.

      Who is to say how much I can? The Government!

      I CAN contribute my life savings, car, and etc. to an often misguided society, but I if I did I would have nothing to live off tomorrow.

      We all can’t live like monks and nuns; mankind needs doctors, road builders, pharmacy companies, environmentalist, sanitary workers, and the billions of others.

      What is to say society would do more good with my contribution, than I would?
      • Sep 19 2013: The point is, mankind needs doctors and you are a doctor. But this doesn't mean you need to exclude yourself to inner hospital work only. There is always help being needed in the community, and it is your privilege to help them should you have the time and ability to help them out. Here's a funky video that I thought captured the spirit of this:

        http://gawker.com/this-three-minute-commercial-puts-full-length-hollywood-1309506149
        The video is right at the top, and don't mind the title... It's a little extremist. It seems that the most obvious contribution we can make is monetary, but this in fact seems the most bland to me: money is nothing, a 50 dollar bill means nothing! It is only what we have agreed it to be. He who needs assistance would much rather have a direct solution through favours than the middle-man cash, which he must still find a suitable form of spending. I hope you catch my drift, but feel free to ask if you don't!
      • Sep 20 2013: Don, may I step in here and say something?

        Many times when someone says "do as much as you can", it means that each person does what is within their power.

        That is how I understood Jacob's comment. I thought it was insightful.

        P.S. I think Jacob replied to you a couple of entries above his original entry.
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          Sep 20 2013: Like many people in this time of sound bits, and needing to read between the lines.
          I also sometimes can find myself guilty of misreading, the intent and meaning.
          And I say too much of this thread has been about wording and phrasing, I think we all should agree contributing to society is good and be happy with that.

          I would ask if it is better to give a fish, teach fishing, teach how to cook the fish, or add the fish to a nice compost tea? ;) but really they are all good and there is enough of us to cover them all.
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    Sep 18 2013: Rebecca: In my humble opinion, your best job would be to find your best skills and improve them, thinking about the others, and also to find your not-so-best skills and try to improve it much more if possible. It's a good task, and not so esay for any of us.
    Good luck if you try to!
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    Sep 17 2013: look at what is in your hand?....!...
  • Sep 16 2013: Rebecca!! I think you´ve already done a lot, by asking you have helped me to find lots of answers to my own question! Thank you very, very much, you´d been really helpful to me.
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    Sep 16 2013: Firstly, it's commendable that this thought came to your mind. Most of the people don't really think about it much and remain occupied in their own life and improving their own life or life of their dear ones.

    Well, let's come to the point. Different people can contribute in their own different way to society and the world. It's all about taking humanity one step further and help it evolve, by having prospects that opens new ways of life. For example, A doctor can pursue some kind of research and help to completely eradicate incurable diseases like cancer or say aids;A businessman can help remove the financial inequality between the rich and he poor; A biologist may come up with some idea which increases life of human beings or help prevent disabilities due to aging; A scientist may come up with a new law/working principle which may substantiate unanswered questions related to science..so on and so forth. It's not always in the form of charity/donation.

    So find what you're good at and try solving the problems in that particular area that humanity has faced since a long time. Problem may be regional or global. solving them at any level can give you satisfaction of having done something for the world you live in. It may be at any level, may have any form or magnitude and may effect one person or a number of people simultaneously. All that matters is that you did something.
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    Sep 16 2013: Rebecca should be applauded, for most people don’t gain a drive for contributing to the common good until an event in their lives push them into it. We generally have a passive desire, but often it takes a death, disease, or disaster to turn desire into action. I applaud you Rebecca!
    ---
    Now my follow TEDsters lets help Rebecca by listing some great TED quality ways to contribute.
    ---
    I have to start with some words of wisdom from Ernesto Sirolli, that will help no matter what cause you decide on.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/ernesto_sirolli_want_to_help_someone_shut_up_and_listen.html

    If reversing climate change has your interest, then I recommend.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change.html

    How about education;
    http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud.html

    For helping the handicap here is a great TED talk.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/amos_winter_the_cheap_all_terrain_wheelchair.html


    Rebecca, you said you have connections.
    If they include political connections; I have idea I wish you could pass along.

    I feel that working Handicap should receive a TAX credit, here is a few reasons.
    *As a thank you for seeking Self-Reliance.
    *Give people a helping hand, without having them feel like they are on charity.
    *Help the budget by encouraging people with a handicap/disability to contribute, instead of being on disability.
    *If people can receive tax credit to help raise their kids, why not one to help people stay product when disability strikes?


    Thanks Rebecca.
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    Sep 15 2013: I have a somewhat simple answer.

    The next time you think "Somebody should do something about that,"

    Be somebody.
  • Sep 15 2013: Dear Rebecca,

    My intention was to write two lines at most but this ended up longer.

    Most people who have it all going well rarely find it compelling to pay attention to the misfortunes of others because it's much easier to focus on self well being and entertainment.

    To answer your question, there is no one scholar as far as I know, there are many people with different perspectives and directions on how to make the world better, many of them have TED talks about their work. Perhaps you could choose the one whose direction is most appealing and logical to you, try to contact them and see how it goes.

    In the link below are some of those talks:
    http://www.ted.com/topics/philanthropy

    If I may offer my personal insight, philanthropic work is going in so many segmented directions, such as education, medication, housing, malaria, aids, animal rights, global warming and environment. yet there is one question that - in my opinion- is almost never asked: what is the most urgent problem that humans are facing?

    This talk here by Bjorn Lomborg gives a good perspective on things.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/bjorn_lomborg_sets_global_priorities.html

    My personal opinion, irrelevant as it may be, is that famine and hunger are the most urgent and absurd matters at hand. how can humanity accept to produce multitudes of the food needed to feed the whole planet, yet we still have millions of people dying from starvation and malnutrition every year?

    I wish you a lot of success with making a positive difference. My goal is in the same direction, maybe one day in the future we could cooperate on something :)
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    Sep 13 2013: Live and let live.

    Don't feel guilty because the world is a cesspool of talent.

    You never know what effect your actions may have so don't tie yourself in knots worrying about what you should or shouldn't be doing.

    One of the great travesties of the internet age is the lumping of all the world's problems onto the shoulders of the youth. Enjoy life. Be good and kind to those you love and show compassion for the people you don't.

    :)
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    Sep 13 2013: You have to answer the question of what is your purpose? What are your goals?

    Then you have to do the work and as trite as it sounds good work is it's own reward. Not to say that you should not make a profit.

    The one that most impresses me:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/jessica_jackley_poverty_money_and_love.html
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    Oct 12 2013: your obligation to society is to be the best person you can be to yourself....
    if you are unhappy or not fulfilled you cannot give of yourself.

    happiness is knowing that you are not driven by guilt, uselessness, or wanting to make a change so you can say i did something before i die.

    realistically the smallest contribution on a personal level is more effective than "global" contribution, even on the global scale you cannot reach out and help everyone. If someone could do that we would not have no world hunger, poverty, homeless people, war etc - that is media fantasy and propaganda...

    we can change the world one person at a time
    we are all in positions of power to make a change...
  • Oct 11 2013: Hi Rebecca,
    I really get what you're saying here. Have you seen the TEDAd, 'Follow the Frog'? http://www.ted.com/initiatives/aws/follow_the_frog.html
    I think most of us feel the same way you do - those of us who are able (and willing) to see where the world is going wrong, have a hard time accepting that there is so little we can do about it. As a Mom, I find it my responsibility to raise my children to be communicative, empathetic, respectful citizens of this world, and as a human being, I feel my contribution is in daily kindness, respect and communication. I like to think of my skills in music as a way to express myself, and in doing so, helping others in tuning in to their own emotions.

    I am suggesting, maybe we don't need anyone to tell us how to contribute to the world, but ourselves.
  • Oct 9 2013: Your true obligation to the world, as I see it, is to make the world better and more enjoyable than how you found it. It will never be about you, but rather about the greater common good. It all starts with one small act just like the first domino falling. Have you ever seen the movie "Pay it forward"?
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    Oct 8 2013: I would not say that I'm a sacrifice boy, and I from a poor village of China, I don't have much money, or even a good job, all I need to do is get more money for my family to stand a chance to own a better life. and to social contribution, I think I want to let some one know that, if you are poor when you are a child, that's not your fault, but if you are poor thouthout your life, that's your fault. And can I be friends of your? I want to know your culture. can your send a email to me? my email address is marco.van@hotmail.com
    • Oct 10 2013: 嗯,很好,小伙子.英语还需要加强哦,这段话出现了比较多的语法错误哦.加油!
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      Oct 10 2013: Hi Wang,

      Like you I want to know other cultures. I'm from Brazil. My e-mail address is rafael_nascimento07@yahoo.com.br

      I hope to receive a answer.

      Rafael
      • Oct 11 2013: can you make friends? my email.ray_li.china@hotmail.com.i am come from china.
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    Oct 7 2013: for life purpose find the quiet still place in your heart .. look there
  • Oct 5 2013: Dear I am a historian cum scientist and to me evey individual has more or less 3Gs to achieve satisfaction
    God, Gold, Glory
    I think you want glory which will give satisfaction to you
    so go for philanthropy even if you one penny or whatever capacity you have,
    first you should spend on your parents, your near realtives, neighbours, orphans, microfinance to jobless who are commiting suicide and so on many ways. chose a locality and transform it
    go ahead with brave heart
  • Sep 30 2013: Your obligation to society is to be engaged with your community - be the best you can be and to be true to yourself. The rest will follow.
  • Sep 30 2013: Since all the problems of the world will never be solved, then if one sets out to solve the problems of the world, one is doomed to forever feel dissatisfied.
    However, if we give of our time and our resources to help fix one problem, or touch one life, then we ARE contributing to the world. When you allow yourself to know in your heart that you do good things, you will feel satisfied.
    As an old lady who is about to leave this world, I seem to be leaving behind a world where nothing is ever enough.
    FASTER and MORE and NOT ENOUGH are not recipes for loving ourselves aor others.
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    Sep 29 2013: COMMUNICATING! (just as you started Rebecca) We now have the technology~ FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY TO KNOW THE MIND OF A PLANET! Exponential advancement is at our finger tips ~ Participatory involvement in EVERYTHING! {From what Earth taxpayers SHOULD spend their taxes on, etc.} Problem is there is a war for TRUE INFO CONTROL raging but IF WE ALL had the opportunity to USE OUR TIME IN HISTORY to the wisest ~we would feel like we are going in the right direction. (If you start a website I'll help ~ maybe it could start as a dynamic interface using your question? ~The site grows on itself ~ eventually it wouldn't need a keyboard ~ everyone is linked by a hologram in their own livingroom. I believe it's like all the answers you are getting ~IF we know we are going in the right direction we feel like our life has been useful and we have worked on our obligation to future generations. I had an 11th grade world history teacher, Mr. Baer. When he talked of different civilizations in history most of us students listened in awe ` we felt as we were living in the time talked about. When the bell rang some of us still sat mesmerized. Eventually between classes and after school 'discussion groups, formed. Students would remark, "Wow, that sounded like a cool time to have lived' or "WOW, what Neanderthals!" After some time all of a sudden it dawned on us all ~ SOMEDAY FUTURE STUDENTS WILL LOOK BACK AT OUR TIME IN HISTORY AND JUDGE IF WE USED 'OUR TIME' WISELY? Our OBLIGATION Rebecca is to use our time wisely and it starts with just what you did, reach out to others for THEIR opinion! Together we can figure out the wisest way to accomplish what is needed (instead of backroom deals and under-the-table payoffs and 3 Lobbyists for every Congressperson). An idea? Fortune500 Companies use the cutting edge technical minds of global Universities (for profit) WHY can't Global Taxpayers ask Students ~WHAT IS THE WISEST ECONOMIC SYSTEM!! (Global Essay prizes?)
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    Sep 28 2013: to protect the world from us.
  • Sep 28 2013: If we think of the society/world as a big vehicle. Progress is forwards, and destruction is backwards.

    As long as you are doing something that is driving the vehicle forwards you're doing alright.

    People have many differenct ideas and so the vehicle is being pulled in all directions.
    Ignore all the politics and stop worrying if saving lives leads to over-population of humans. If you're unsure on what is right, just concentrate on what everyone agrees drives the vehilcle forwards and do it. Plant a tree, there's a start.

    As to minimal obligation, you have the right to give your 100% yourself, but you have no right to ask that of other people. It's just unrealistic.
  • Sep 28 2013: I think you hit on a common thread for many people. We all want our lives to have meant something beyond the limits of our own self. I know I think on this topic a lot, in part because a very close friend of mine and his wife are extremely active in global causes. I applaud their commitment and energy, but felt guilty about the fact that I couldn't seem to share their passions.

    Occasionally I would get involved in some small way, but I could never seem to care for hunger, famine, conflict, war and disaster afar. While these would energize my friends, motivate them to action, I felt distant from it all, and as a result, like a lesser person.

    My father changed my view on the entire matter a few years ago, during a particularly wretched time in my life.

    I've never met a man less likely to be considered 'globally conscious'. It's a big world out there, but my father would say he lives in a small part of it. Yet, I watched him tend his community the way some would tend a personal garden.

    In his mind, litter on his street is litter in his home. He picks it up. If he is plowing the driveway, the jobs not done until he has made sure the neighbors are taken care of too. He knows the names of EVERYONE. As a teenager going anywhere with my father took twice as long as we stopped for dozens of conversations.

    In myriad ways, my father engages the world immediately around him. The people he meets are PEOPLE to him, and they have real lives. I finally did what my father had been showing me my whole life and made an effort to see and interact with the people around me. Not because I wanted to make their lives better, but because I wanted to make MY world better.

    It turned out my scale isn't global either. Its intensely local, personal. Maybe the question you need to ask yourself is;

    In what way are the people you saw today happier for knowing yo. How is the space around you improved by your presence? A million small actions build a hell of a legacy across a lifetime.
    • Sep 30 2013: We could use many more of your father. Each day when we smile at someone we make a difference.
  • Sep 27 2013: It appears you're seeking someone that matches your impression of your birthright. I'm not a scholar. Nor am I someone who believes i've inherited a unique disposition regarding the human condition. Like most, I only have my impression of the world.

    My feelings on your question...

    If you feel it's an obligation, you haven't fully connected with what it means to suffer in this world (my opinion).
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      Oct 3 2013: Gordon nailed it. While you might not have meant it, the word “obligation” connotes a debt one must repay, or a duty one has to fulfill, or even a burden one must bear. Imagine using the word “obligation” when giving someone you love a gift. When this happens, people give gifts that are what they would want, not what the recipient would like.

      Talents are like gifts, which when shared benefit both the recipients and the giver. A talent might be anything from being good with people to the organizational skills needed to run a nonprofit. So my recommendation would be to identify things you’re good at—be honest here, as you may have talents others see in you that you don’t see, or the opposite could be the case. Then find a need—that’s the easy part, it’s all around us. Share your talents and volunteer, knowing that when one gives of oneself, the gift must be given freely, unencumbered by a moral scale that has to be balanced.
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    Sep 26 2013: it's obvious that u r a blessed person, so why do you just learn to help people , help those people who are less fortunate, u can start with very simple thing like escorting old people across road, pick up garbage and even smile to people
  • Sep 25 2013: If you are talking about big goals, most successful people make one or two within a lifetime. Some people have energy to juggle heaps of big goals. However, they must fit you and only you know better what will... a good scientist winning a Nobel Prize might have spent a lifetime on research... someone else would have become a wonderful mother. Another may be breadwinner of the family and million dollar roundtable sales person and philantrophist... just to site a few examples. All of the above already contribute to the world but which one is more you?

    I am no TED scholar but I agree with Thomas's view Rebecca... you can give if feeling obligated and feel comfortable to do so, do it. However, do not expect anything in return. Instead, expect life to challenge you and rise to the challenges presented to truly guide you. Take time to understand what will drive you to and from your goals
    There may be moments that test your balance to help gradually unfold what you could become.
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    Sep 24 2013: No matter your connections, financial wealth, higher intelligence or good health, anyone can make a difference in their society, although the previously mentioned attributes do help.
    Mentioned in previous comments, you seem to have attained all other levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, except the last. It's a little difficult for me to believe someone has obtained all other levels at such a young age, but I'll keep an open mind. You must have something specific you are passionate about, something that has an impact on society as a whole and influences it, no matter how small. Whatever that desire is, pursue it. You have ample time and abundant resources, why not use them?
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  • Sep 22 2013: If you have not watched Simon Sinek's video on "Why," I would strongly urge you. He has a compelling explanation on asking the question "Why?" In the question posed here no matter the answer he would say you would need to ask why you want to do this or that. One can hide behind all kinds of good works and still feel empty because they do not have a why to what they are doing.
    Even if I were to adopt a general statement that my obligation to the world is to leave it a better place than what I found it still could easily be empty if I don't know why I am doing what I am doing to leave the world a better place.
    I love your drive Rebecca and desire to consider how you are obliged to society rather than the other way around. But it is not just in fulfilling the obligation but also understanding why I need to do this that whatever you choose to do becomes not only a purpose, a pursuit, but also a passion.
  • Sep 22 2013: Hi Rebecca,

    Your first and foremost obligation is to your self and your own life. What does that mean? Well my conclusion is...... to live as many happy days as you can with out creating or leaving a negative impact. Sort of modernism in nature.

    A monkey in a tree on one side of the world has no obligation to a monkey in a tree on the other side of the world.

    OK, we're not monkeys, well we're special monkeys.

    Most of us do have an obligation to family, I think. Family provides a positive contribution for most of us individually and this deserves a contribution in return. The bottom line though is..... if it doesn't make you happy don't go there. If the world was full of unhappy people trying to do something for every one else it would be a disaster. If you are neutral in global cost and live a happy life, you have lived a successful and positive life.

    If you need a Ferrari to be happy, bad luck, you'll have to work hard to get it. If you need to solve the world's problems in order to be satisfied with your own contribution - bad luck its going to be a long hard road.

    Pay your way, leave no negative impact, try to be balanced, and the small positive contributions you make will be rewarding for all.
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      Sep 25 2013: You have just rewritten the definition of hedonist. You forgot about love, the route to oneness and joy.
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    Sep 21 2013: Your obligation to society is to be engaged with your community - be the best you can be and to be true to yourself. The rest will follow.
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    Sep 19 2013: You have no obligations. Contribute what you feel comfortable in giving... no more, no less.

    You can be thankful to your ancestors for creating the situation that you find yourself enjoying...
    if you feel a need for expression.

    Don't wish for any talk that could make you feel undeserving of your good fortune.
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    Sep 19 2013: The Bible says "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and might and your soul and your strength; and love your neighbour as yourself".
    It is your obligation to honour humanity and each member of this family as a creature of a great God. The bible says "If you do not love human beings that you can see, how can you love God that you cannot see?"
    You can not control everything, but you can submit yourself to the teachings of Jesus Christ, and dedicate yourself to a life of service. Like Jesus, like Nelso Mandela.
    Everyday we make choices that shape our future. Choose to love, choose to appreciate what you have, choose to work harder, choose to take care of the environment, choose to forgive.

    And more importantly, choose to let go of the past in pursuit of a better future.
  • Sep 17 2013: Rebecca at least you have started asking & wondering.

    Firstly be thankful for what you have, make good use of it, there is nothing wrong in being rich and successful and securing your future.

    Think of others and animals, do kind things.

    Be mindful if an elderly person at the supermarket needs a hand or a smile.

    Then when you find something to be passionate about, i.e. helping find homes for the homeless, animal rescue centres, whatever.........throw your heart, soul and might into solving the confronting issues don't be afraid or hold back.
    Usually a cause will find you if your heart is open. Or join a good Charity.

    They say that those who live with compassion and passion for a good cause are truly living and happy and I believe you will find, as I have, this is so true.
  • Sep 16 2013: Rebecca, I have felt the same way many times, so I could say I know the struggle you are in. Take the time to find yourself, the only way to really contribute to others lifes is by being passionate about your own. Don´t press yourself, let it flow, it will come out, i´m sure it will! Good Luck!
  • Sep 16 2013: i am very happy to see your message i wish u all the best on your life
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    Sep 16 2013: A lot of people feel as you do. Not everyone is into voluntary work or charity and such. So pending what you find out, I will say it should be based on what you love to do the most - even your regular work. Any activity can be turned into a potent tool to help the world's problems whether it is photography, dancing, mathematics, running by getting other people involved or turning into a fund raiser, increasing awareness or writing up inspiring articles.
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    Sep 16 2013: Rebecca,
    You're not in a unique situation, of course. Most of us who are concerned about the welfare of the world feel exactly the same: we "struggle with the feeling that [we] have not done [our] part to contribute to the problems of the world." Join the club. So what to do?

    First, forget about making an individual effort. Unless you are that one extraordinarily charismatic person in a million who can stir thousands to action, in order to make a difference in the world you have to work as part of a team. Join an association that reflects your interests. There are associations in every conceivable field, whether it be environmental, medical, social, or whatever. The politician cares mostly about the number of voters supporting or opposing an issue, so in order to bring anything about you must show the strength of numbers.

    It's unfortunate that our "democracy" works like that, but the fact is that a small well-organized group making noise will have a lot more influence than unorganized individuals, even if the latter's views are the majority. The "silent majority" does not achieve anything.

    By selecting one or more issue that you're really on fire for, and joining a group that aligns with your view on that issue, you will find yourself among like-minded, and will (hopefully) find satisfaction in being able to contribute to the best of your ability.
    Paul Lillebo
    www.blueridgejournal.com
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    Sep 15 2013: While thinking how to reply your question in the best manner, I was also scanning others' replies hereby to your question. Then I bumped into Vicky Chrisikou's reply and I think she gives truly excellent reply to your question. I shall just expand a little what she writes towards the end of her reply.

    It's very important to remember that whenever we contribute something to others, it's ALWAYS first of all for fulfilling our own mental needs. So that one or more things//deeds you give//contribute to others, which make you truly feel fulfilled from inside, truly exhilarated, not because you do them for others, but just because YOU are doing them, THAT one or more matters you should do for others. There's no point in doing something permanently that you do not enjoy, just for the sake of others.

    So actually, I think you should go as deep as possible inside yourself and try to find what are you at your deepest core. There you might find what you truly like to do without expecting for any materialistic reward. If you find it, then if you would find the opportunity and the appropriate circumstances for doing it for others, then it would be the right thing for you to do. Also another very important thing to remember is that this search should be done calmly and not as a result of feeling of obligation, pressure, compulsion or alike.
  • Sep 15 2013: I feel obliged to reduce the amout of misery in our world due to poverty that exists today. I would do this by providing better explanations about what causes poverty in the first place, which requires the educator and teacher to better understand how our social system of macroeconomics really works (and not as is presently being taught about what it consists).

    Most universities that teach this subject as well as a lot of schools, start off on the wrong foot because macroeconomics is regarded as being non-scientific in the sense that the exact sciences are. I find, by my analytic methods that in fact macroeconomics is almost an exact science as physics, and that by the use of systems analyis methodology, one can get a better grasp about how it actually works compared to what is presently being presented by most teaching establishments in this vital subject.

    Some of the difficulty comes from the corporations who give money to the universities for economics research but in doing so they limit what is being placed in the sylabus of undergraduate students, and so the vital parts about the working or functioning of the system are avoided!

    Poverty is not necessary nor is the countless suffering caused by it, but in order to raise the state of our civilization so that poverty is eliminated, we need to better share the rights to natural resources and the opportunities for equal access to their potential use. This is mere words unless the would-be reformer can appreciate how our system works first, and this requires a mostly theoretical understanding about the methods for experimentation using representitive models. Thus what I seek to achieve is to present the most general but easy to understand macroeconomics model of a country that is both fully comprehensive yet simple and easy enough to follow. A sort of oximogan in teaching and theory. It is my claim that this can now be better done and that future generations will benefit from this new found scientific knowledge.
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    Sep 15 2013: I would suggest you think about the crossroads in your life. You know, those life events that everyone experiences irrespective of how fortunate, or indeed unfortunate we happen to have been, when something changed for the better. What was that? Is it communicable? Is it replicable? Does it scale? If it moved you in some way then it could be the thing that changes the world. Good luck.
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    Sep 15 2013: I also have the same questions in my life.

    I have decided to enhance world people,within a nation and around the world respectively.

    I will be dedicated to education and the elimination of prejudice. I think the world's sickness is all due to the lack of education and people's prejudice about the other peoples. Education contributes to people's character and conscience, implants good personalities to people's mind,tamps down people's selfishness. Bias,in other word, misunderstanding is the cause of almost all conflict in the world. West and East, we are members of one family.
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    Sep 14 2013: well, I wouldn't discount small things. For example, I like to walk, and if I see big piece of litter I usually pick it up and find the nearest trashcan to put it in. I often find abandoned clothes, so I bring them home, wash them, if they fit I wear them, if they don't I give them to charity.

    Also I wouldn't discount reporting things you see that are amiss. I used to live in a neighborhood with immense amounts of graffiti. I would report it and the city would come paint it out. True, the city did the work of painting it out, but I did the work of telling them where it was.

    Actually, a lot of the things you do to benefit yourself help others into the bargain. For example, I have had neighbors in apartments start playing loud music, and I would go ask them to turn it down. This was done for my benefit, but I think it also helped other tenants whose rooms the music was bleeding into. Right now I'm trying to get the noise reduced from the supermarket loading dock across the street. This is done first for my benefit, but it will also benefit other neighbors who have to listen to it.
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    Sep 14 2013: You are already doing the major part of your obligation. You are communicating to the rest of humanity. You are putting your opinions and ideas out there for the benefit of all.

    In my lifetime, I have heard my words echoed in the chambers of congress based solely on my chance conversations with people in a position of power. The first time this occured, I was a Gas Station attendant putting fuel in a congressman's car. He asked me a question and I gave him my honest answer. I was 22 years old. I'm 62 now.


    It happens that way. You think no one is listening but they are all listening, especially on TED. You may never know the degree of influence you words may have but I assure you, someone will listen and use your words to their own or everyone's advantage.

    Keep on talking and your doing your part. When your opinion dies, so does your influence on the world around you. It is said that "The pen is mightier than the sword". The industrial revolution started with an idea manifested in words and so has every major human achievement known to mankind.

    Talk, talk, talk,talk. :)
  • Sep 14 2013: Rebecca,
    I will comment 2-folded to your “I have struggled my entire life with feeling that I have not done my part to contribute to the solving the problems of the world”, because it resonates with some of what I have felt/thought myself.
    1. Sometimes our minds can understand, live and verbalize an existing truth without being specifically articulated around us. For example, I was raised by my family, and for the most of my life I have not done “my part” in contributing to solving the financial, administrative, emotional, achieving and aspirational aspects that needed to be handled in “me and my family world”, because I was the sustained child. For most of my growing life I was the “schedule, administration and financial” problem, and maybe sometimes the impediment to my parents passion. It doesn’t take complicated vocabulary or sentences to express this, so I believe a person develops the mental capacity to understand that very early on, even if legally it can acquire right to work later on, and sometimes families want to support and protect even longer (i.e. completion of an university degree).
    When I understood there is a difference between “me & my family world”, and “the world”, it helped alleviate and differentiate in the heaviness of feeling towards where, what, how to help and contribute. Some are lucky to have families self-sustainable into their elderly days, so they can focus most on their young families, projects, goals or aspirations. Some struggle with unfortunate events, and their financial implications. Some can balance these responsabilities with a purpose, passion, and achieve all that and more. Some not.
    2. For a grand, world-encompassing perspective, United Nations have prioritized 8 Millennium Development Goals as main problems of the world to focus efforts on. www.un.org/milenniumgoals. Maybe this can inspire or guide your choice of goals, at world, national or local level.
    All the best in your choices,
    Anca S.
  • Sep 14 2013: "It is hard to fill a cup which is already full"- Avatar

    "We are all going to die tomorrow, keep that in mind today"- Keith W Henline

    "Nirvana is this moment seen directly. There is no where else than here. The only gate is now. The only doorway is your own body and mind. There’s nowhere to go. There’s nothing else to be. There’s no destination. It’s not something to aim for in the afterlife. It’s simply the quality of this moment."- Buddha
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    Sep 13 2013: I struggle with the same idea; I was also born in a nice family but without the financial affluence. After traveling first time in India and saw the face of real poverty I was taken by the desire to go back and do something that would make a difference at least in a few people's lives. I had all my life government jobs and struggled with the feeling that the world would be just the same with my job in place or without it. I wish I had medical skills but I don't ..so I cannot help that way but I figured I can share some knowledge and volunteer in education of under privileged children. I don't care what any one will say about me at my funeral....it is the fact that I saw a need that I strongly believe in and I have no doubt I want to make a difference. But all this is still to come when I retire.
    So .... I don't know if we have a duty... the world doesn't seem to be organized that way; solving the problems of the world is a too broad of an idea ... start small wherever you see the need.... you don't have to save the world just make a difference wherever you can ...follow your feelings.
  • Sep 13 2013: Your main contribution should be on those people for whom life has no meaning. help raise the self esteem and confidence in themselves, believe me there will be nothing to fill them and help in life, with that will be ready to face every trial.
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    Sep 13 2013: Re: I have struggled my entire life with feeling that have not done my part

    This comment reminded me of the Vermonter who was asked by a tourist if he had live in Vermont his whole life, to which the Vermonter replied, "Not yet!"

    See Daniel Kahnemans talk on the experiencing self and the remembering self.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahneman_the_riddle_of_experience_vs_memory.html
  • Sep 13 2013: To a very high degree you already have completed your obligation to the world, you just don't know it, you have looked after yourself. Think what a nice world it would be if everyone did the same. Enjoy the rest of your life and what you have worked for, you can't pass along the gene of self sufficiency.
  • Sep 13 2013: By asking just that question here you already for filled it.

    To be aware of your responsibility to the world and society is something far to rare in people.
    But it's the corner stone of a healthy mind that cares about the world and people around them.

    Every person is different and with that everyone's obligation to the world is different, we all have our roles to play regardless of how big or small they might be.If you just keep that question in your mind I'am confident you will find your role and be an positive influence to the world.
  • Sep 13 2013: You know not WHAT to do for you know not WHO you are. When you know, your question becomes irrelevant. We sure like to THINK we know who we are. But we don't.

    You are not some long lasting separate entity. You've just been told that. The clock ticks.
    • Sep 21 2013: Any advice on HOW to get closer to KNOW WHO I am... and figure out WHAT to DO with my life... If I AM to be of any use..?
      Thx
      • Sep 22 2013: :-) very little. It's clear that you already seek it. There are thoughts. And there is a thinker of thoughts. Watch the Thinker.....always. You are not that.

        Worrying about what you should DO is a hindrance.
        • Sep 22 2013: True...

          The mind knows it is a hindrance, but the anxiety makes the mind forget what it knows and leads it to dive into solving, asking, begging, crying, fearing...

          ... thank you for the reminder! :)
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    Sep 13 2013: I haven't managed to find a relevant talk yet, though there may be several that cover the general principle of social responsibility.

    In a society where products matter more than people, it is becoming increasingly difficult to earn a living in any sector that relates to societal obligation in any realistic sense. To get around this, it might be necessary to do voluntary work that benefits society in some way, while at the same time do a part-time job doing something menial as a means to an end, just to earn a living.
  • Sep 13 2013: I think you know or will know. How would I begin to guess? For most of us to just be kind and try to help others is enough. For someone like Bill Gates, IT's so much more, but you and I are not Bill Gates. Be nice, kind, and helpful but watch for those who aren't.
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    Sep 13 2013: Use your IQ to up your CQ and create your contribution or help where you feel drawn, both are honorable.
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    Sep 13 2013: I think one should be a human being (with moral ) and be useful (positive power) to the society and world .
  • Oct 13 2013: Dear Rebecca

    ' The small cannot satisfy the big'

    The hankering that you have is a memory of your true wonderful self which comes with your being. It is beyond your senses and your mind.
    Not here to propagate or market any religion or sect but try out the website www..practicalphilosophy
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    Oct 12 2013: Your obligation to society is to be yourself no matter what.
    From experience this is not easy, and there are no guarantees, but it is certainly an interesting and challenging way to live.
    As others have said, somewhere inside of you is the answer to your question and only you can find it. But the fact that you are asking it tells you that it is yours to find.
  • Oct 12 2013: My daughter, adopted, is thirteen. Like you, she is incredibly beautiful. I worry about her. I would love for her to find some guy who loves her and whom she loves.

    So far, no luck. She seems to be attracted to guys much younger. They just seem to be unaware. What am I to do? Please help.
  • Oct 12 2013: We all live in our own bubble thus to seek a solution outside this would not be very satisfying. Every human is fighting his or her battle at an individual level. To see the meaning of goodness in these battles is the source of all the energy an individual can use for the good of the society. If you yourself are not happy then you would not be able to contribute as much as you can.
  • Oct 11 2013: What do you want ? Do you want name,fame and recognition for your contribution ? From your query it seems so . Nothing in this world is one way process , its a two way process. .Everything in this world is subject barter,subject to exchange or subject to mutual contribution.Either people first take from the world and then give or first give and then take later on.As you have mentioned that you have high IQ , then I am sure that you might not be sitting idle. When you buy products and services from the market you are contributing for the sustenance and growth of economy.

    If there would be no buyers then, Do you think that the economy will run smoothly and efficiently.

    Even when a person drinks Alcohol, then also he/she is helping the economy to run smoothly and efficiently.But, When he gets addicted , then a new problem is created and then there are people who are engaged in the deaddiction activity.Then again he helps the economy by spending money and engaging the people in the de-addication process.Its a complex web where people are helping each other by creating problems and solving problems.

    Most people think that giving donation and doing charity is the only way to help others or to solve the problems of the world.But,it is not so.It is the ultra rich egoistic people who have glamorised the donation and charity to maintain their TRP and stay on top of the celebrity chart.They believe and think that they are doing some sort of Ahsan on the needy person by doing charity and giving donation. But, the truth is that they do it for their own selfish reasons.They are as much in need of the needy person as the needy person is in need of the charity and donation.It is not a one sided process but a two way process.Those who do charity and give donation create an illusion that only the needy is in need of the donation and charity and in return they don't need anything. But, they do charity and give donation to buy their own happiness, mental satisfaction.
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    Oct 10 2013: If you belong to a group of a hundred people and the group received 100 lbs. of tasty seeds, would you want each person to get 1 lb. to eat, or the 3 farmers in the group to plant them and turn 100 to 1,000s?
    satisfaction now vs greater satisfaction later.

    For those who say give it to the farmer, I suggest asking yourself what if it was a 100 dollars instead of seeds.

    So Rebecca, there will always be people in need. So if you can give now without effecting how much you can give later, and then do it. But if you can build your blessings into more of benefit then giving now would, then by all means wait until you can get the most bang for your blessings.
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    Oct 10 2013: Paticulary, I'm not go to sanctuary frequently, but I have a strong feith in God. So I believe we have and try to look to the other. If you don't to make big things. Make just little think like to talk with someone who need our help or visit a Friend or neighbor who could be sick and principally to love each others.
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    Oct 10 2013: Your obligation is what you decide it is, and what others decide it is-
  • Oct 10 2013: When you consider the great efforts expended by our ancestors to build the world we know and take for granted today, the fact that we exist and profit from these obligates us to a similar duty to future generations.
    I believe Mother Teresa said "We are not here to do great things, but to do small things - with great love." So I second the family idea, and the "Pay it forward."
    How to accomplish this? Well, do things! With great love! DO! Throwing away the TV is a good place to begin.
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    Oct 8 2013: i know that this is one of those annoying answers but: only you can know that.
  • Oct 7 2013: what about joining peace corps?
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    Oct 5 2013: I wouldn't call myself a ted scholar but I hear there is a lot of corruption and excessive brutality in the NYPD. The police are meant to help the community not hinder it but as I understand it this is not the case in new york (or many other cities for that matter). It would probably require a political compaign/rally/movement but perhaps you could start or join a group that aims to do something about it. But remember; police are in a position of power and power attracts the corruptable.
  • Oct 5 2013: "He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself.
    The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life" - Ayn Rand
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    Oct 5 2013: firstly , from the picture , i can guess you are a charming lady . As a chinese , I appreciate your idea , though i cannot come up with some good thoughts for you . happpy everyday
  • Oct 4 2013: Rebecca, Why not running a campaign to change poor people thoughts? Definetely people´s destiny is changed by their actions and their actions are caused by their thoughts. Media campaigns are excellent as massive communication means, but they are expensive. If you have the financial means, maybe you can get your name in history for changing people´s destinies.
  • Oct 3 2013: Hi Rebecca,

    It's great that you starting reflecting in your life that you need to do something before 'the end'. Be grateful that you discovered this at early age :)

    I used to be in your situation where I am thinking what are my obligatins to the society and the world? However, before start thinking about society and world (it's good that you think like this), why don't you start thinking, "What is my obligation towards myself?" or in a simpler term, "What is the purpose of my life?"

    It's important to have clarity about yourself first before thinking about others so that you will not get swayed along the way.

    And here's the hard part. "What is my purpose!?" I discovered my sense of purpose just recently ago when I am working in a place and role I hate. By knowing the suffering of working as 'this role', it brought me to a realization that I really like meeting people because my previous 'roles' is all about meeting people and coaching. I stopped temporarily to work as 'this role'.

    All in all, what you gotta do is do things that you do not expect yourself will be doing. I do not expect myself to be coaching, and I do not expect myself to be working as 'this role'. Both of these experiences contributed to my sense of purpose, to develop people, because I enjoy teaching and coaching.

    You will never be able to find your purpose until you get out of your house and started doing unexpected things. You'll never know what you will find, good and bad.

    Hope this helps. It's time to get out of your comfort zone :)
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    Oct 3 2013: Thank you all very much for your comments and suggestions - many of them have been very helpful. I forgot to mention in my original question that I am a physician and have done some volunteer work abroad as well as some work with refugees here at home, but just can't shake the feeling of frustration that it isn't enough. Thank you all also for not berating me for being ungrateful for the position in which I find myself - I am not in any way.
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      Oct 5 2013: I know of an expedition that I would go on if I had the means.
    • Oct 10 2013: I feel very much the same, and have felt a constant "need" to figure it out for years. I have friends who feel similar as well. I am 40 now and have had a very good, fortunate life. Married with children, college educated, middle class. I've worked hard for what I have, and have a good attitude. I am not religious per se, but am (and always have been) spiritual. So, what is our purpose? Why are we "here" and how can we serve the world and honor ourselves best?
      To simplify my thoughts, I believe in this... We are all seeking happiness. Our world is comprised of good and bad. What will we each do to encourage a happier world? What to you is happiness? If you have it in your heart, make it happen, then spread it to others. You can make a difference in a small way that is very big, or in a big way by something very small. But do that. Spread love, grow happiness. This is the greatest strength and good we have. With these things, truly, anything is possible, and the world WILL be better for it. I am writing children's books right now. It's a little seed for me, and I'm glad to be doing it... to see how it sprouts. I meditate and listen. In my own simple way, I'll continue to create "light" and trust that by listening to my heart and trusting my spiritual beliefs I'll do what I'm meant to do in this life. Keep your eyes open Rebecca, and notice where your heart feels connected. That is the way you should go.
    • Oct 12 2013: "just can't shake the feeling of frustration that it isn't enough"

      It sounds like you're doing a lot already. Have you reflected on why you feel this way?
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    Oct 2 2013: ......a realistic goal that would allow me to feel satisfied with my contribution to the world?
    Hi Lynn, greetings from Australia. I am affraid that you are asking for something that may or not be possible to be achieved. And as a reader, I feel confused and compelled to make assumptions, unless I can have your phone number for a long conversation. The assumptions are: I assume that you think that the world has problems and we can solve them. I assume that you feel you do not contribute to society in a satisfactory way. I assume you are dissatisfied and perhaps feeling somewhat guilty for whatever reason. I assume that some how you believe that by doing some deed, you would achieve absolution. I also assume that you believe that someone else has the answer, not you. And last, that by doing what someone else may suggest, you could achieve satisfaction. But this is my answer to you: An archer does not release the arrow towards the target untill there is satisfaction with the shot. Satisfaction is there before the arrow leaves the bow. The result confirms the satisfaction. I hope you understand.
  • Oct 2 2013: Intelligence, means, connections AND caring. It sounds to me like you are primed to do something great, if you choose. The "something" is what is eluding you. I am assuming you have been to college and have a career or that you are independently wealthy. You shouldn't feel bad about that, if you do. I believe that you were meant for your life. Why else would you be living it? These feelings that you are having speak directly to your excellent character and integrity. If there were more people like you, the world would be better. I have some ideas, but they are my ideas. I am looking for people to join me in my vision, but it is my vision. I don't even want to hint at what it might be. Even speaking about it here seems to me to be a bit self-serving. The voice that continues to speak to you that urges you to move into something fulfilling is a truly creative force. A beast of a creative force, if I may speak so. You have other qualities that you have not listed here that make up who you are. I am positive that you could tap into your creativity and experience a vision of your own for what you could do. What you seek you will find. If you lose your car keys and want to go somewhere, you look for the keys. Isn't that deep? Thank you for asking. I would love to talk more. I will check back to see if you respond.
  • Oct 1 2013: If you truly want to serve the entire world and get your fulfillment out of it, I have the Answer for you. It's The Peaceful Solution Character Education Program. It teaches how to have a true moral Character that will not bring harm to yourself, others or our environment. It's proven to change people that are caught up in the prison system and it helps them to see the way they have chosen will not bring them joy. It changes the heart and the mind of all who will use it in their lives. This Program is easy to use and can be taught a child starting in the womb and all the way to 99 years or older if they live that long. We are never to young or to old to chose to have a moral character. Today's society has forgotten what a true moral character is. That's why this program is so important to get out. you find out more at www.peacefulsolution.org
  • Sep 30 2013: When I started my career in counseling I had a very hard time picking a population that I wanted to work with. During my career I took a job at a shelter for battered women. During my course of work I worked with many people affected by a wide variety of issues and troubles in many types of avenues. I found this rewarding as the discussions gave me a wide variety of things to discuss with the clients and the population varied from different classes, races, cultures, you name it - we had it. In the interim what I found was that helping one person at a time was what fit me. I didn't have to worry about isolating myself to one topic or "goal". I also found that sometimes when one focuses too much on one thing they forget about what else is out there and the goal to assist becomes an avenue of distention. You get so overwhelmed with your cause that it turns into something that could be emotionally draining - even when the work is positive.
  • Sep 30 2013: I am an ambitious lady born in the society which is not much literate or not have the awareness about the importance of education, I am trying my best to educate as possibilities I get. So it is my suggestion to Rebecca to observe the weaknesses of your society and contribute to overcome them
  • Sep 30 2013: I am an ambitious lady born in the society which is not much literate or not have the awareness about the importance of education, I am trying my best to educate as possibilities I get. So it is my suggestion to Rebecca to observe the weaknesses of your society and contribute to overcome them
  • Sep 29 2013: I learned at an early age to develop a certain contentment with my accomplishments. I think you need to learn to be content with your own thoughts. I too feel the need to leave something behind. That's not the goal though. The goal is to be better. If people recognize you then that is simply an achievement. You can't start with a general purpose and fill in the blanks...that's lazy.
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    Sep 28 2013: Get a better society. Demanding our rights and fulfill our obligations. Being a citizen.
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    Sep 27 2013: To deconstruct at least one useless meme. Or to live life in a manner to refute it with all strength and sincerity.
  • Sep 27 2013: You won't feel satisfied with your contribution, until you've done everything you possibly can do. That is what your obligation is. You might notice from people's comments, that people make excuses to justify not doing anything or very little. The guilt is there, but they hide from it with justifications. The guilt is still there, just hidden, and it strongly affects their thinking process, preventing freedom of thought.

    Jesus was asked what is the Great Commandment, he responded with two commandments, which state exactly what your obligations are, and then he stated that those two commandments are the entire essence of the Bible.

    Translated into more understandable language, what Jesus said is that the Earth, all life, and everyone as a whole, must be your number one priority, nothing can come before that (by the way Moses said the same thing in the Ten Commandments). The second commandment is that every individual must be your second priority. Where yourself comes, in your priorities, is equal to everyone else.

    This means, any time you think about spending some money on yourself... where is your priority? Anytime you spend money on yourself, you are placing your self above everything else. Until everyone is fed, everyone is cared for, none of us will truly be free from our guilt. As long as there is poor in the world, we are disobeying God.

    Naturally, in our current form of society, it is pretty much impossible to follow those commandments. God's plan is to create a new form of society, which will make people truly care about others. A "love based society" where everyone is rewarded for helping others.

    Tony
  • Sep 26 2013: David - you haven't looked deep enough.

    Look at your own words. You're looking for oneness and joy (hedonistic objectives) through love.

    If I am truly happy living alone, loving only myself and my life, costing no one anything and leaving no environmental damage the love that you are, I expect eluding to, is irrelevant.

    Admittedly, I couldn't live that way but it doesn't make it wrong or limited.

    Maybe this is ethical hedonism. I haven't given it a name or thought about it in that context though.
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    Sep 25 2013: Me thinks carolyn mcauley hit the nail on the head...

    "What is frustrating is the perpetuation of known untuths that still inform action against the perfect flow underneath the manufactured chaos".

    'We have met the enemy and he is US'..... as pogo so eloquently formed us many decades ago... If only we were smart enough to understand.... if only.....
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    Sep 25 2013: what u can think snd whats ur imagination its all about you.....life is freedommm never give a chance to life but you can enjoy a life and timeee thats two thinggg most important nothing more
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    Sep 25 2013: Rebecca :)

    you are living life on this earth. you are free to choose what kind of life u want to live, in which society u going to spend ur whole life. the present society (u living in) is what your Ancestor have decided for u. Ocean can not be without a drop of water, likewise Society can not be without u. If u think, u alone cant change to society ( the way u want), just live your life in such a flow, in that way, in which u want ur coming generation to live, and let other see happiness on your face to make them think the right way to live ur life in a society...
  • Sep 24 2013: Rebecca: Every person has a unique driver - a core purpose, if you will. Most do not know what that is. I have developed a process to help people 'hear' their own core purpose and to teach them how to put it to use in their lives. I would be happy to do this for you.
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    Sep 24 2013: Rebecca, This is the question with which almost all the youth of our generation is struggling with; thank you for bringing it out. In fact your Question has your answers. Raise your opinion and talk about it, that is the first step what we can do being literate. We like you and me want Problem free Society. Human being started in search of Food Clothes and Shelter, these needs got satisfied but the "WANTS" were not limited that is the problem and answer to it is "SIMPLICITY". Ask question to yourself are you in real manner free, Freedom today is like "LOLLIPOP" which is given by Govt under their rules and regulation, then there are Private firm under the name of marketing influencing our views. I hope you may understand what I want to say. Now ask yourself do you want your child to go through all this Complex things or you believe to make world more simple and live in simplicity. Raise your opinion now as freedom of speech will be caged sooner or later just like freedom of travelling only by Passport.
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    Sep 23 2013: Yes, maybe
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    Sep 23 2013: .
    Are we obliged to let people know what invalid (harmful) happiness is?
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      Sep 25 2013: Of course. It's happiness without love.
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        Sep 28 2013: .

        Yes.

        Also:

        (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 pseudo-a-step-better (actually a-step-“worse”)
        . . for keeping our DNA alive.
        . . E.g. having junk food, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, abusing drug,
        . . .... wasting (fashion, big house, touring, .... causing environment crisis),
        . . .... making too much money (causing inequality, crimes, wars, ....
        . . .... "destroying our planet", .... humankind self-extinction).
        (3) “Invalid happiness” is out of the valid scope of our instincts formed 10,000 years ago.


        About 90% of happiness we pursue today is invalid happiness.
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    Sep 22 2013: Watch "Chasing Ice"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIZTMVNBjc4

    It might help.
  • Sep 22 2013: Comparing Maslov's hierarchy of needs and your description about yourself, it looks all your needs are met, except the last i.e. self-actualization. This term is important because if you want to be satisfied, then the process is from inside (your heart) to outside (world). However, when someone else will suggest you something, he/she will say about world and his/ser heart. Though there are chances that one of these suggestions will touch your heart too, its not very likely. Now, if you get such suggestion here - well and good. If not, I have three words that may help you in finding one yourself.

    1. Lack - Look into your life. If you feel that you lacked something you may like to help others get it. Example - A person who lacked good education would want to open a school or improve education system to ensure good education for others. This is a way of completing yourself.

    2. Like - Look inside yourself. If you like something, you can use it to help others. Example - Some musician perform in a fundraiser event or for army units. Its a way of expanding yourself.

    3. Connection - Look around you. If you see something to which you instantly get connected, you would like to do something for it. Example - If you see a news of violence against women and instantly feel - 'Oh! this must be changed' then, thats your path. Its a way of realising that your identity is beyond you physical self.

    Hope this is helpful :)
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    Sep 22 2013: Your most welcome.... Very glad you can take it to heart...
  • Sep 22 2013: Meriem check out Simon Sinek's video on "Why"
  • Sep 21 2013: If you leave the world a better place than it was while you were here, then you've done your job. How well you do your job depends on how much better the world is and for how long. I have a suggestion...since money is not an issue, see if you can be a teacher. Teachers have the capacity to change lives, every day!
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    Sep 19 2013: I would say that indeed,in the way society its built,you do not have any obligations at all towards helping others.However,in my opinion,i would say that one feels alot better when,in a position to do so,helps others.No matter how small that help could be.

    For example,i am not a wealthy man,financially,but sometimes,like many other people,i dream about being a financially wealthy person.And when i dream about it the first thing that always come to mind is to find ways of helping other people.
    One idea i once had was that i would buy a considerable amount of land and build a big farm near a small town and being able to feed the poor people of the place.
    I'm not saying you should do that,i am only saying what i sometimes think about.
    In the end,i think you should follow your heart and find a creative way to help others using the gifts nature gave you,and do so in a way that pleases you and not because you think you have an obligation.Only you know the constitution of your morals.
    Peace :)
    • Sep 20 2013: Hey Vitor, about what you said about a farm to help out the local community, I think you might enjoy this:

      http://www.realfarmacy.com/establishing-a-food-forest-full-film/

      It's an 80 minute documentary showing how to engineer a forest that's specifically designed to produce the maximum amount of food for the least amount of effort. And they do it with 1000m^2 which isn't stupidly big of an area either. Guess you can even use the idea as a social project... planting can be quite a good form of 'meditation' as it were, and you could help those in need in 2 ways with one stroke! If you ahve the time... I'm looking into it so that I may someday do the same...
    • Sep 27 2013: Your proposal of using land near a town for farming would simply not work, even though the principle is sound and worthy. Development land near towns is eagerly sought by speculators who wish to hold onto it until the tax payers investment (through the local government) has improved the infrastructures and caused the land to become more useful, and the greater competition for its access to resul in its raised prices and access costs and rents.

      In fact speculation in land values is the antithesis of progress because it stops the opportunities for poorer people and entrepreneurs from managing to find/provide work nearer to the towns. This immoral speculation in what is surely Man's right to natural resources, has done so much harm in the past and has provided the banks with so much cause for unfair income, that the economy has even become unstable with 18 year cycle price bubbles in land values, and their bursting leaves even the bank at a loss! (Its too big a subject to properly discuss here.)

      By taxing land values instead of incomes, speculation in land values would cease to be worthwhile, competition for unused development land would be milder and more land would be properly used. This means that the scurge of the opportunity for fair and easy access to land and work opportunity would be a thing of the past.

      So Bruno and Vitor, what you could do to help is to throw your effort (and financial support) into the Georgist movement for Land Value Taxation, http://www.progress.org
      TAX LAND NOT PEOPLE; TAX TAKINGS NOT MAKINGS!
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    Sep 18 2013: Our only obligation is to ourselves, and the life long quest to gain wisdom, be self-reliant, and grow spiritually and that is a desire that should never be satisfied.

    Being each of us is part of society and society is part of us, what effects one affects the other.
    BUT! As a recovering victim of public education, over taxed and under paid member in society, look down on by society for daring to continue to work and live life with a disability I have no obligation to society.
    I do contribute to society, but I’m not sure why. To honor my ancestors or god, is the desire built into our DNA, as part of my life long quest to improve myself and a better future for mankind, or does why even matter.

    I say find a way and level that makes you feel joy and happiness, and dismiss all thoughts of obligation.
    And by all means don’t let society tell you what you should and should not do.
  • Sep 17 2013: TRANSFORMING THE WORLD BUT PROTECT OUR WORLD A BETTER LIFE AND CARE CLEANER FUTURE GENERATIONS

    hello From Mexico City My Country Has Great Potential, but Government does not change

    sudamerica1987@aim.com
  • Sep 17 2013: As a young man born and bred into an average family of semi-literate parents, I was shaped with not only the characters of my parents but with the influence of my immediate environment.
    Quite subjective as the question may seem, it boils down to: What's the capacity of my influence? What's my position in the society? How do I see my society? And, what are the problems prevalent in my society? These four cardinal points will change our perception to the World's expectations from us.
    I believe I'm not created for myself and since my birth, the Community has invested so much on me for recompense. Looking at the circumstances around me, I feel obliged to re-orientate minds and change focus to issues that affects human lives, purpose and dignity. I live in a society where citizens in my age bracket suffer from broken homes, emotional trauma, rape, incest, theft, and other demoralizing life issues. This, as a result of threats posed on them by the society. My duty is to pay attention to these needs; handle these tasks with equal dedication because I owe it to the future generations to preserve the testimony of my influence.
    Henry Brooke Adams said: 'A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops.' From a global perspective, If I change a Man, I've successfully changed the World.
    Best wishes!
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    Sep 16 2013: Very commendable thought. Like many others you seem to be at a loss, your condition is akin to that of Gautama Buddha. So come out of your cloistered affluent surroundings, take a long long walk, get first hand experience, try experimenting with what works best for you.

    There is a lot to do, the world needs people like you. I am confident if you have an ardent desire, you will surely succeed. Here is wishing you all the best.
  • Sep 15 2013: Check out Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" the video and/or book. It might help with your questions
  • Sep 15 2013: Ask yourself: What is most singularly degenerating to well-being? It's not lack of education, it's not any particular type of institution, it's not so many other things that cause so much harm and which the challenge to solve is so nebulous and great. Two years ago I arrived at the CORRECT answer and now I'm a freshman undergraduate in neuroscience determined to help in the solution: lie-detection. Real, consistent neurological lie-detection is within a couple decades of being a reality and may be quite closer. What would this mean? We don't yet know how well the technology will work, but we can certainly expect one thing: we will devise it to work incredibly well for Yes or No questioning. The implications for Yes or No lie-detection in the legal system are obvious. Slightly less obvious is how it might work in business and the other two branches of government. Very well, is the answer. Consider. Politicians are required to have, at least, yearly public hearings in which they are questioned in the following manner as to their actions and the views they profess to hold. (Methods of choosing which questions to ask are diverse). Ex. "Senator, you have said previously you believe in the right to have abortions. Do you believe women should be permitted to choose whether to have an abortion, yes or no. If your views need clarification give it." "Well, I believe in abortion up until the fetus can feel pain or might be considered conscious. When exactly this happens I don't know, but it is after the first two months, so I believe totally in abortions in the first two months." The questioner then repeats the Senators clarification and asks "Is this an accurate representation of your beliefs, yes or no?" Implications for business are somewhat similar. This technology would not be a Western luxury, but would surely spread like fire. Guilt and innocence cleared up, truly accountable government and business, soon to come, thanks to Science!
  • Sep 15 2013: I am from India for last 6 years I am working on Right to Information Act in general and for Banking Industry in Particular.
    This is applicable 1)Reserve Bank Of India 2)Bank Of India 3)HDFC bank 4)Banking Ombudsman Mumbai-Regulatry Authority for Banking Business.
    The issues are taken up with the 1)President of India 2)Finance Minister of India 3)Prime Minister of India
    I am following up the same.
  • Sep 14 2013: Cara Rebecca, io sento che il mio dovere è trasformare l'uomo dal di dentro a partire da se stessi, potendo pensare che la molteplicità di tutti gli esseri umani ha una parte interna unitaria di tutti i singoli che è l'attività mentale, la quale deve essere consapevolizzata. Ti ringrazio per l'attenzione.
  • Sep 14 2013: A quote, a story, and GreatestGoodGreatestNumber.com/org/us awaiting codevelopers/designers to bring it to life:

    The quote: "When i give food to the poor, the call me a saint. But when i ask, why are there poor people, they call me a communist."--Bishop Dom Helder (the great Brazilian bishop the US backed Brazilian military tried to assasinate

    The story, differentiating radical from conventional philanthropy (& all other symptom-treating-activity):

    There is this river going through a tribe's village. One day the women, washing their clothes begin seeing many people floating by drowning...so many. A few courageous women jump in and save one or two every day or so. Then the elders call a meeting and form a courageous group to go up to the SOURCE to see who is pushing these people into the river to STOP it.

    Almost 80% of Americans now know the source is corporate & individual greed--the one percent, the greatest income inequality since 1928 (see the new Robt Reich movie coming out, "Inequality for All.") The solutions--going to the source-- have long been known (but kept by corporate media out of public knowledge): Public funding of elections, eliminating corporate personhood, & stopping electronic voting (how Bush stole 2004 and Romney almost stole 2012, if it was not for Anonymous).

    The app or site: I bought GreatestGoodGreatestNumber.com/us/org to help people figure out what strategy will do the greatest good for the greatest number, especially since by most scientific estimates we have only about 15 years to stop the use of fossil fuels (See Do the Math, the movie). In other words, we are the last generations, the only generations in the history of our species with the unique opportunity & obligation to save civilization including almost al animal and plant and ocean life as we know it. What can give clearer direction to our mission, scientifically speaking than that!? All i need is a couple coders, designer, project manager, & digital mktg/SM director,fundr
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      Sep 14 2013: It was not the Us who backed the Military Regeme in Brazil Gary. It was the Republicans, a small protion of our people, who happened to be in power at the time. The great thing about the US is that when you have a bad ruling government, it can only last for four years, then we get rid of it.

      Not many countries have the sort of built in power control.

      In our individual lives, we sometime do things we are not proud of or think was the right thing at the time. Communism, at that time was not true communism. It was a form of communism, being pushed on the rest of the world by the Soviet Union, and, in some part, Communist China, Cuba, etc.

      The part the Bishop spoke to was the pure form, which did not exist on the earth at that time. He was a victim of the world ideology, At no time did the US order his death. It just goes to show that no matter what political order you try to support or help, the bad influences still remain to do damage. You gain some, you lose some, but you always try to gain more than you lose.

      It is the same situation that your generation is presented with. I hope, you and your friends can do a better job. But, if you want to, you better get hopping. Time goes by very fast and then, you at the end of your life, looking back at what you could have done.

      Waste not, want not, so they say.
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        Sep 15 2013: Well, John, the US never opposed the Brazilian military governments, no matter which US party had power. The military dictatorships existed from 1930 to 1954, and were not opposed by Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman or Eisenhower. Again from 1965 to '85 they were not opposed by Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, or Reagan. They were treated as the legal government of Brazil - thus not opposed, thus "supported" because they opposed communism - by both Democrat and Republican presidents and Congresses. You're making a partisan issue out of something that has been a consistent US policy through congresses and administrations of both parties. Also, the Republicans are not a "small portion" of the US, but about 50 percent, and when they elect a president they are a majority. (I'm not a Republican but I believe in stating the truth.)

        By the way, there is, of course, no such thing as "true communism." That was a fantasy of Marx, Lenin, et al., based on the ridiculous notion that human beings could be genetically reprogrammed to lose their self-interest and be altruistic, which was necessary for communism to work. And so it didn't.
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          Sep 16 2013: We, with World War II and Korea, we had a lot on our plate at the time Paul. You would think the Brazilians could handle their own problems. Most of the CIA work was focused in the Middle East, dealing with the Soviet Union. All of this was new to most of the agencies. It was a learning experience. Still, the Brazilians could had handled it themselves is the hadn't been so backwards and corrupt. it's hard for anyone to fathom out the bad from the good in those types of situations.

          That's the real skinny on the situation and it hasn't changed too much since then. If people would get their act together and take care of their own problems, we wouldn't have to police the world.

          Don't blame us. blame yourselves.
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    Sep 14 2013: To make the right personal decisions in order to do good to others. I don't think you can separate your personal life from what you do externally. You actions are truly good and authentic when your choices behind closed doors are worthy of praise. Me thinks!!
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    Sep 13 2013: Truthfully by being the best person you can be, offer a hand where needed, and just stand up for injustice ( doesn't matter how small) . Then you may find that what you seek may come to you.

    I guess though in the long run it depends on what you believe in and what reaches you. I f you don't have passion for your cause if you don't believe in it then it is an empty gesture.

    You may also find that just one contribution that you put an effort into may not only benefit the cause but yourself as a person.
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    Sep 13 2013: the social respect can fill your needs like realistic goal ?
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    Sep 13 2013: The answer to this question is on you, exclusively, and most likely already there.

    Maybe a TED search on 'courage' returns some inspiring ways about how to 'live up' to our inner findings.
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    Sep 13 2013: Finding a way to give meaning to your life, should not be viewed as an obligation.
    To me if you do more good than harm, you’ve done you obligation.
    For me living by the nine noble virtues is my way of fulfilling my obligation, a leading by example type of contribution to society.

    For going beyond the obligation we each must find our own path, for we each have our own unique skills, passions, limitations and opportunities.

    So Rebecca, what are your skills, passions, limitations and opportunities?
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        Sep 14 2013: The Nine Noble Virtues are;
        Courage, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Self-Reliance, Industriousness, Perseverance and Truth*
        They come from the Viking nobility, predating English nobility and likely its source.

        *(to me Truth is more than something you speak, but also something you seek, accept, and share) I have not found how the Viking defined the virtue of "truth".

        P.S. I came across them a year ago, when doing my ancestry. So I refer to the original, and not the 60s religion that used them. :) I have been living by my whole life without knowing about them, so I say there is more in DNA then just hair and skin color.
      • Sep 14 2013: "Honor"......
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        Sep 16 2013: Mary is correct it is “Honour” that I missed, this site explains them www.odinsvolk.ca/O.V.A. - NNV.htm
        Likely they originated between 500 - 200 B.C. that would be between the beginning of the Scandinavian Iron Age and Germanic times.
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    Sep 13 2013: What are your interests and what have you educated yourself to do? Drew Dudley's talk on Everyday Leadership might be a start in terms of TED talks, because he describes, in a sense, how you can choose to live in a way that contributes alongside whatever else "bigger" you do or try to do.

    Many people want to do something big and are frustrated about how to decide what that should be or how to get that moving on a path to great social impact. Drew Dudley gives you an accessible option that does not overwhelm.

    Some below have suggested volunteering. You might find it easiest, given how you feel, to offer time to an organization you respect that needs volunteers. VolunteerMatch is a good resource that allows you to specify your location and even areas that interest you. It can take awhile to find the right opportunity, because volunteerism is such a huge interest for so many people that a surprising number of worthwhile organizations can simply not accommodate any further volunteers.
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    Sep 13 2013: the literal answer would be to not steal, not murder, etc, and this is it. but it would not satisfy you.

    the first thing i would recommend is to get rid of this feeling. watch this talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html in order to learn that you already helped society. society needs progress, creative ideas, fruitful work and not sacrifice.
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    Sep 13 2013: When I read Stephen Covey's "7 Habits...", I remember one thing impressed me. Chapter 2 is called "Begin with the End in Mind". I thought, it was going to be something about goals. But what he said was not quite what I expected. His advice was to imagine what we would like other people to say about us at our own funeral. I didn't expect "the end" to be mentioned in such a radical way.

    Perhaps, the obligations are not to "society". The obligations are to ourselves. So, this question seems to be related to the question "Who am I?" "What's close to my heart?"
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      Sep 13 2013: Good point Arkady:>)
      To imagine what we would like others to say about us at our funeral, we need to step outside our "self", to imagine how we create our life experience.....as you say.....who am I? What is close to my heart? How do I want to "spend" the time I have on this earth? Do we choose to fully engage in a full and rich life.....or not?

      "Life begets life
      Energy creates energy
      It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich"
      (Sarah Bernhardt)
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    Sep 13 2013: From your description of yourself, I think donating some money to poor people to help them continually could be one realistic contribution to the world.
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    Sep 13 2013: idk. Just take a good look around and observe for yourself. Do your own thing. It's more interesting this way. Just to get you started ...Do good where YOU believe is wrong with society and the world. If I tell you what I think and believe at this point then...well you get the picture don't you? Help. More than likely you will find some common grounds with others in here after you understand where you are exactly. Maybe something simple like "world peace" ;)
  • Sep 13 2013: Rebecca Lynn
    There is much you can contribute,

    I am elderly, and haven't made yet my contribution to the World.

    My prime efforts were always to make money. I was good at that.
    But when you get elderly, money is useless. Accomplishments little.

    Health means a lot. Mine is bad. So, I turned to my trusty computer.
    Microsoft XP, Excel, and the world of the Internet.

    I developed a mathematical program to handicap horse-races.
    But why bet when money is useless. ..I do get to watch them.

    My passion for billiard's, snooker, and coaching allows me to
    have attainable goals. And I play daily.
    ===
    It's been 50 years since I had an interest in US Gov't policies.
    However, I was suddenly jolted by a threat to us all.

    I found that my computer was infected by the US Army's
    Top Secret Prism program with Microsoft collecting my data.
    They were spying on my handicapping program.
    My 12 years of work. My Intellectual Property.
    I decided to (under their noses) research the NSA.
    I did so.
    It led me from IBM in1968 to the White House today.
    I read Presidential papers, and directives, concerning
    Spying and Surveillances of Americans and other nations.

    Today, I am dedicated to exposing the corruption of
    America's Political Theatre.

    My contribution will be to the World and to all Americans,
    through telling the Truth of a Secret US Gov't and why
    850,000 employees need Top Secret clearances.

    I will contribute. ..Unless a Drone gets in my way.
  • Sep 13 2013: perhaps volunteering in your community? I always find the physical act of doing something satisfying--just the thought of helping others, no matter how small the act is.