TED Conversations

william clegg


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how do you think we can better utilize our intellectual capabilities in this modern age?

Science classifies our species as homo sapien or wise man honouring our minds, our intelligence as a species. But do we effective or even efficiently employ those 6 billion minds our species is now blessed with? No.

The principle forms of employment today simply involve the exchange of labour for wages and the vast majority of those jobs are service, assembly line and office work. Most of which simply involve a body performing repetitive and boring tasks that utilize only a fraction of our intellectual potential. Meanwhile hundreds of millions of equally 'wise men' and 'wise women' are abandoned to subsistence existences simply because their bodies are unemployable.

This "jobs" agenda that our politicians so often champion has only been with us for a few hundred years and was a direct result of the Industrial Revolution which required huge numbers of workers in order to run the machines and maintain the records of commerce.

However, scientific and technological advancements have already replaced human beings in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of labour based employment activities. And online shopping, automation and robotics are poised to take over more and more of our labour based tasks as we move ever forward. .

In other words, there are far more valuable and self-enriching activities human beings, today, can engage their incredible intellectual potential in than simply exchanging their labour for wages. In this Information and Communication Age it seems timely that we look at ways of finally employing all that intellectual capacity that the 6 billion human minds on this planet represent.


Closing Statement from william clegg

We seem to still be split between those who cannot see beyond the status quo of a person's value being derived from their bodies exchanging labour for wages and those who welcome a future where our minds matter more. "know thy self" was a popular theme for the later group with a strong emphasis on a student focused educational system as being most desirable and leading to lives that are mindful and thereby meaningful.

It was most gratifying to see that empowerment, motivation and opportunity came up often as both consequences and purpose in a population that was fully engaging its mental capacities as priorities over simple employment and consumption. Personally I am all for empowerment, personal empowerment, and the premise that all else will benefit thereafter.

However, there was also strong support for the premise that first the political system must change before anything else will and few would disagree that such a change is long overdue. .

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    Dec 13 2013: From a career standpoint, I think it would be wise for corporations to favor "democratic" work environments which promote creativity, collaboration, and critical thought over traditional hierarchal "autocratic" work environments which are commonplace among most large corporations. Not only do "democratic" work environments capitalize on each employee's intellectual capabilities, but they also create intrinsic motivation for employees.

    Beyond careers, I honestly believe that intrinsic motivation and displaying one's intellectual capabilities go hand in hand. In other words, if one is not self-motivated and does not apply oneself, it really does not matter how much intellectual capability one has.

    As for better utilizing our intellectual capabilities, become more self-motivated, inspire change (both in and outside of the workplace), and encourage others to seek out their true potential.
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      Dec 13 2013: could you expand upon where you would see that self-motivation manifesting itself outside the workplace?
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        Dec 13 2013: I think this varies from person to person. I happen to enjoy reading most of the works of many of the TED Speakers, and have motivated myself to continue my college education, not only to advance my career but to expand my knowledge. I also try to keep updated on what's happening around the world and do my own research rather than blindly follow most of the news outlets.

        Basically, anything that keeps one's mind active and prevents us from stagnating via apathy. Although it might not fall within the scope of "intellectual capability" per se, certain hobbies and interests can also provide quite a challenge that keeps us motivated. For instance, one of my friends recently got me into rock climbing. It's an intense hobby to say the least, but what I've noticed through these experiences is that my mind is more "active" when I myself am actually active.
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          Dec 14 2013: Thank you for providing us with such personal examples of where and how you experience your own mindfulness. My own readings and climbing may have different focuses but i suspect quite similar outcomes For me, the more i explore and the more i learn, the more personally empowered i feel.

          And it is this sense of personal empowerment that i imagine will be greatest benefit of the inevitable transition from the out-dated model of 'a job/career as the basis of a person's societal worth and personal well-being to that of becoming an informed and engaged member of one's community.

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