TED Conversations

Efiong Etuk

Founding Director, Global Creativity Network

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The threats to civilization are too daunting for humanity to continue to hold onto obsolete self-perceptions that no longer serve us well

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the dreadful situation the world is facing is not because the modern crises are impossible to solve; but because we have not yet developed, or found, appropriate conceptual framework for understanding and for tackling them. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, also, the modern crises are not “economic crisis,” “social crisis,” “political crisis,” or “environmental crisis,” per se. They are not separate crises, either. As such, they are not likely going to be resolved within the framework of the prevailing understandings.

A body of data no one thought and no one knew existed identifies the modern crises as, fundamentally, a “creativity crisis.” This is the inability of the vast majority of people to develop and to engage their natural abilities in significant and beneficial social and ecological actions and, resultantly, the global and spreading epidemic of meaninglessness of which most psychological, social, economic, political, and environmental crises are the symptoms or facets. Close examination of the data also challenge widely accepted beliefs that humans are inherently self-interested, competitive, adversarial, materialistic, and consumption-driven. Analysis of the data further suggests that many of the difficulties the world has been experiencing might be rooted in inadequate and misleading concepts we have created about ourselves and the institutional framework and operational relationships that have been erected on those concepts.

To the extent that this conclusion is valid, the best hope of resolving the modern crises is, first, to correct the misleading views we hold about ourselves and, second, to conform our economic, social, and political decisions and actions to our authentic nature as humans.


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    Oct 24 2013: My apologies, Mary M: For some curious reason, your contribution does not appear in the conversation thread on my computer. I only see a small part of it in my email box.

    Is there a way you could post your contribution again, so I can respond. Again, my sincere apologies.Maybe, it's time to start looking for a new computer!

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      Oct 24 2013: I apologize Mr. Etuk, I posted a contribution asking you a question before I read the contributions made by others. I then decided to delete my comment because I found the answer below (Well, not the answer, but clarification of some sort).

      I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Your conversation is a pleasant one.
      I have learned quite a bit.
      Thank you for the link to "There Will Come Soft Rains".

      Do you think you will see a solution to the issue at hand during your life time?
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        Oct 24 2013: Thanks, Mary M, for clarifying the “mystery” post. It was really puzzling. I’m glad I didn’t toss my computer into the trash can.

        Now to your question: Will I see the solution to the issue in my lifetime? The honest answer is “I don’t know.” Nor is it really important that I do. Even so, I am encouraged that a beginning has been made since the 1970s -- thanks to the efforts of visionary thinkers like The Club of Rome, The Club of Budapest, Humanistic Psychologists, Deep Ecologists, The World Commission on Environment and Development, Simpler Living, and the scores of Holistic Health, Self-Help, Self-Development and Human Rights movements. I am even more encouraged by what appears to be an irreversible trend toward sustainability and human fulfillment – even if this is wishful thinking.

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