TED Conversations

Jim Moonan

Owner/Artistic Director, NorthWind Education


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If you had a choice, would you rather your life on earth be lived in a physical state or non-physical state?

Purely an exercise in philosophy...

Suppose we lived our lives in a non-physical state. Everything else remained the same. We were born (but through a non-physical process), we died, we had careers,vacations, nature, loves, temptations, desires, interests - all the things we currently experience in our lives, with one exception - we had no bodies.

Old age is largely equated with the physical deterioration of the body.I watch my father's physical health deteriorate even as his mind remains relatively strong. The physical world has largely left him behind; he is unable to see, unable to walk without assistance, unable to do many of the things that require physical action. Yet his mind remains lucid, full of life.

Our world places a great amount of importance on physical appearances. Is it fair that some people are born physically unattractive?

If it is true that "beauty" is in the eye of the beholder", isn't it also true that our physical self is unimportant?

Is beauty skin deep?

Is our physicality a ball and chain?

Are the two inextricably linked?


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    Nov 18 2013: Hi Jim :) Nice to see an old friend around.
    To live a life in a non physical state would be nice, but I might not prefer it. I may like to live the pain and suffering of my body, a wonderful gift of nature. I may like to see it grow, bloom and then decay - I think I find all those experiences wonderful.
    I am not really talking about the appearance of the body, at least not about a standard of its physical beauty. I am talking about the awesome story of millions of years of evolution in it and finding Pabitra in one such creation of nature.
    Our minds met in the cyberspace and enjoyed each others company. I value that, of course. But honestly, it would be infinitely more interesting for me to shake hands with you, feel the warmth of your skin or watch your face, crows feet by your eyes or creases of your chin.
    Did I tell you about the pleasure of a loooong pee in the morning?
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      Nov 19 2013: I'm inclined to agree with you... Although your TED profile pic makes me think twice :)

      A certain kind of beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder. I find that kind of beauty fascinating.
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        Nov 19 2013: "Although your TED profile pic makes me think twice :)"
        Hahaha, you are not the first one saying that !

        Pabitra, you really should change your pic, It gives you a bad reputation ....lol
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          Nov 19 2013: @ Harald : I have another photo in my profile. Can you make do with that ? :D
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        Nov 19 2013: @Jim: But Colleen find this ape adorable, Jim :)
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          Nov 19 2013: I'm fine with any photo. This chimpanzee looks actually fairly intelligent, at least for a chimpanzee. ;-)
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          Nov 20 2013: Harald: "This chimpanzee looks actually fairly intelligent, at least for a chimpanzee" .

          This is exactly my point. We judge and are judged by our physicality.

          But still, I do appreciate the fact that we live in a physical world. I honestly don't know why I phrased the question as I did. There are lots of thoughts swimming around in my head about old age. My father is nearing the end of his physical life and I am seeing up close what happens.

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