TED Conversations

Rebecca Lynn

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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 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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