TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What should be the focus of human progress and achievement?

I study Media and Communication studies and am fascinated by how the new age of advertisements and consumerism have affected human beings. That being said, should we allow ourselves to live in the fake worlds we create or should we be spending more time and energy on advancing our species?

Please share your thoughts, I have thought about this for a very long time and find any opinion interesting and informative.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Oct 16 2013: I'm not sure what you have in mind for "advancing our species", but I think cultures evolve and advance naturally. Ideas are like genes. Ones that meet our needs tend to spread. Ones that don't eventually die.

    Cultural evolution too is effected by its environment. So, if consumerism no longer suites our needs, it will die and we will adapt.

    Perhaps the Opensource movement is evidence that this is already starting to happen. It started with software, but now some Opensource hardware designs are starting to appear (for example, Arduino micro-controllers). There are currently 20 TED talks related to Opensource. There's even one about Opensource farm equipment.

    Opensource has done a lot to eliminate the "planned obsolescence" problem.
    • thumb
      Oct 16 2013: I purposefully did not explain what I personally had in mind for advancing our species because I am curious what everyone else thinks that would mean.

      Do you think consumerism will die? While I hope it does, I feel consumerism will eventually overtake every facet of life unless we as a society make a conscious effort to understand what it is and what it does.
      • thumb
        Oct 16 2013: I have no problem by being a consumer. Now I can buy something I do not have to make or grow myself. However what scares me very much, and especially in North America, is the influence and even control, companies have on the government.
        We moved to Canada from Europe and have seen the difference. We had more benefits there than we have here, and would have even less if we had moved to the States (which was our original plan).
        A government that is more socially responsible will advance our species more than one that only regards the economy.
        We are not in this world to be greedy and die rich, but to become loving people and die happy.
        • thumb
          Oct 17 2013: "A government that is more socially responsible will advance our species more than one that only regards the economy.
          We are not in this world to be greedy and die rich, but to become loving people and die happy."

          I could not agree more.
          Unfortunately for me however, I have grown up and lived in the United States my entire life. My only real exposure to government has been from watching a relatively dysfunctional one.

          (There are many ways it is dysfunctional but for the sake of this conversation I will stay focused on media)

          Elections have become a bastardized version of the democratic process. In America, ad campaigns and marketing strategies serve a bigger role in determining who gets elected than innovative yet practical ideas and policies.

          Even our politics have been branded.
      • thumb
        Oct 17 2013: That's why our daughter and son-in-law, with 5 kids, are seriously looking at an opporutnity to move to Canada.
    • thumb
      Oct 16 2013: Did you know there is now also Open Source Religion?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.