James Horton

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Disadvantages cause people to overcompensate and become more innovative.

Ok, I got this idea during history class. The kid that sits next to me is Dyslexic, but he is in the top ten in the school and he reads sentence at a time, instead of word at a time. One of the most intelligent people I have met. But his stereotype is someone who doesn't do well in school.

I also know a girl who is ADHD, but her Arithmetic scores exceed mine, which are adequate. Really a very intelligent woman, but she is required to take medicine.

Now, my point is simply this. When people are caged and/or restricted, it causes them to, perhaps not consciously, compensate and actually exceed average standards. While my first two stories don't seem to directly relate to this topic, they play a part.
For example, has anyone read the story “Harrison Bergeron”? It’s the story of a man named Harrison Bergeron, and in this world everyone is deemed equal and equality is the law. Nobody is to be more intelligent than the other, no one can be as athletic, as mentally adept, or a better business man. EVERYONE is equal, and those that are above average are assigned handicaps by the handicap general’s office. Smart people are given ear pieces that emit a high pitched noise every 45 seconds, preventing elongated thought. And strong people are weighed down with weights; however, Harrison Bergeron spoke out against this and was imprisoned. Due to this imprisonment and the setting he became intelligent enough to break out of a high security prison. A fictional story, but it’s an interesting concept none the less, no?
The Americans; restricted by the British, produced some of the most ingenious commanders and scientists because of that very situation. With every war we make new militaristic advancements. So while we are restricted, we adapt and fill in what's missing with something even better.

Just an idea to discuss, I'm a little new to TED so I wanted to see how all this works.

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    Apr 21 2011: Respectfully, I have to say that any phenomenon can be elevated when it is based only on personal experience- that's why case studies have little relevance in science. I have often heard these Horatio Alger stories of the one person who overcomes great obstacles to become the poster boy for bootstrap self reliance and a justification for not helping people with problems or disadvantages. Who among us would volunteer for or volunteer a loved one for disadvantages or obstacles in order to wear such a badge of courage? While it is worthy to admire and respect the extra effort that goes into the lives where people face hardships- let's not overgeneralize to suggest that all people who face difficulties have all of the ingredients to not only overcome them but to excel without help.
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    Apr 21 2011: While we may compensate our challenges as individuals, we as a society must enable mechanisms, options and opportunities for our aptitudes, skills and responses to flourish beyond our individual effort, have a positive impact and can add value to those around us. Otherwise it might just end up being a survival technique that gets the individual through the day.
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      Apr 21 2011: Oh yes, perhaps I focused too much on the individual, I was thinking about this as more of a society thing. Since due to the setting and Society these super ingenious people are born.

      I see where you are going with individual survival, self preservation can cause you to be pretty inventive at times. But I was trying to get at the overall impact of large events on the society, I just wasn't good at conveying my idea. lol.
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    Sky F

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    Apr 21 2011: Take your idea even further:
    The cause of any change is suffering.

    We change things to make situations better for ourselves. If there is no suffering and nothing to alleviate we don't change anything.

    I imagine if we never had to get up and eat something, we would likely just sit in a chair for eternity. It is our hunger pains that gets us up. It is our finite amount of resources that causes us to compete. The reason we have muscles is so we have a means to avoid the suffering involved with starving. (Weird way to look at it.)

    Read De Profundis. Oscar Wilde talks about this, far more eloquently than I do.
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      May 20 2011: You would really resonate with the philosopher Kierkegaard's writings Sky. He really likes suffering.