TED Conversations

Lee-Michael D'Souza

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Are you truly happy with the world we currently live in?

This question is not directed at your personal life, it is NOT about how the world has treated you whether fortunately or not.

I am asking for people to sit back and try to look at the bigger picture of the world currently - mainly on current mindsets humans share, what humanity has become and will be.

As humans do we have the correct mindsets for peace or do we not?
Are humans acting correctly or are we too based on ultimately selfish and primitive needs?
Do we care enough about each other, not just family, but other humans?
Are our governments truly helping the world or not?

You don't have to include all of the above, it's just to give examples on what angle I'm coming from.

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    Jan 8 2014: The real question at hand is should we be "happy"? Complacent maybe, but not happy.

    I myself will never by "happy" with the world that we live in until worldwide suffering is ended. The United Nations Millennium Goals are a good starting point (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/). However, we need more effective leadership to steer us in the right direction. So far, it appears that we collectively have more power to enact this change than our world leaders. Yet it's quite difficult to collectively coordinate such substantial tasks without our leadership being on board.
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      Jan 10 2014: But I think individuals need to see themselves as leaders or capable of leading from where they are, rather than waiting for good leaders to come along.

      The millennium goals are over. New ones will be set and then 15 years later new ones again. I think these are not ever going to be as effective as the might of individuals to effect change locally--if only more individuals will see that each one is a linchpin in the story of improving the lives of others.
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        Jan 14 2014: You make a great point. Thankfully sites like TED serve as a great source for inspiring change and motivating individuals to see themselves as capable leaders regardless of their socioeconomic hurdles.
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    Jan 9 2014: No I am not.....the way we are treating each other across the globe is rather a matter of shameful hypocrisy.
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    Jan 8 2014: The earth is a magically wonderful location and the animals and plants as beautiful and diverse as any idea or concept could possibly be.
    " I am satisfied with the mystery of life's eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence -- as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."- Albert Einstein
    I agree with Al so what is wrong with this picture?

    The reasonable people on this planet probably out number the un-reasonable people by a large margin so again, what is wrong with this picture? We have the internet and with it the capability to organize and talk with each other in any language so, why can't we solve our relatively small differences?
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    Jan 8 2014: The world is proceeding in a positive direction on all fronts. We can point to a lot a faults, but we're getting better at addressing them, and that's all I can ask.
  • Jan 8 2014: I'm not terribly fond of this world that I live in (bigger picture wise), but as I currently have yet to receive any invitations to a different one, that's something of a moot point.
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      Jan 8 2014: Nadav, I have to agree with you on this one. I clearly am not "happy" or "unhappy" with the world that we live in. Certainly there are things that we need to urgently address - poverty, hunger, suffering, conflict, etc. Yet the "powers that be" appear to allow for such atrocities to take place as long as they are still receiving a paycheck, or perhaps they are too incompetent to make any changes, even though they have more "power" than I do to address these issues.

      All in all, I myself have yet to receive any invitations for a different world to live in, nor does it appear that any of the individuals who are currently "in power" are going to resign from their positions of incompetence.
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    Jan 8 2014: I think it depends on people's view angle. I'm not satisfied with many things in this world. On the whole, people seem to be more apathetic and selfish than before but I always focus on what good things I'm having and striving for what I possibly could have in the furture. And compared with others', my world is still not bad.
    • Jan 9 2014: Could the apathy be a consequence of the sudden shrinking of our world, of being thrust into a global community over the course of a generation or two? Our grandparents lived in relatively tiny worlds, maybe thats why the sense of community seemed so potent. I think/hope in generations to come, our sense of community and duty to others will catch up with technology and we will all care how our actions affect others around the world.
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        Jan 9 2014: Yes, maybe. Some are objective and some are subjective. Some people have some problems in morality as I see in the world at my side.
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    Jan 7 2014: I'm pretty happy. It's already good, it's getting better, and the tools are there to make it better.
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    Jan 9 2014: when I glance over the very immediate image of the world we see today, well it's not so hopeful at all. However, as I broaden my view and cover some time in the past and hopefully in a near future, I see the overall sum of wisdom, kindness, generosity, happiness and knowledge has been on the rise. And as I look at kids today, I feel they're gonna be much better adults than what I have seen so far. so, in a nutshell, in my personal life, I keep my hopes high, not because of what I see, but because of the great potential of goodness pre-wired in human nature. and I believe it is worth the hope and the time to help it flourish.
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    Jan 9 2014: The options are rather harsh.

    Governments have agendas ... they are not helping anyone without a goal included for them. We are all brainwashed to some extent that our government is the best and the most honest ... that has been disproven as of late ... all of the EU is questioning leadership and the USA is questioning if we have leadership at any level.

    We are the victims of each of our cultures and biases. I cannot envision a time when all men would over look any and all cultural differences ... even harder would be to accept all religions.

    I cannot envision that total happiness exists at any level ... and never at all levels.
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    Jan 8 2014: I contributed very little so it's hard to say whether I'm happy 'WITH' this world. But I'm definitely happy for it.
  • Jan 8 2014: As to my experience, true happiness is a happiness without the sense of self, or put it simply, JOY !
    Joy of being, joy of experiencing beauty , joy of doing whatever you do when you forget about yourself .
    Does current mindset support it ?
    Probably not, but the trick is when you are in joy , you are out of any kind of mindset.
    I truly believe, it's the best , if not the only way to make peace not wars.
    • Jan 9 2014: Would you say that there's a subconscious (at times even conscious - depending on the person) intended ignorance with the joy? To escape your own, but arguably more importantly the world's problems by escaping into joy - doing what you like.

      Of course there's nothing wrong with that because we are human of course and we all do this, after all we get home from work and then relax/do something we like.
      This is where the odd sense of selfishness comes in, we know there are problems but rather than use certain time to tackle vital problems we escape into our own world of joy. Essentially leaving the majority of the burden of it to someone else or something else, like a government who in turn generally don't help these matters either and even making it worse.

      This part of a government's duty seems to have become less and less important as time goes on.
      The problem is, with how things are currently it doesn't seem like it's going to get any better.
      • Jan 12 2014: Probably you've heard the expression , "be that change you want to see in the world "
        It has become a cliche, but it's true, and not strongly enough put to lessen our anxieties.
        Only being in peace you can bring peace to the world.
        I wish you peace ! :)
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    Jan 8 2014: i think humanity is made up of billions of individuals and i'm not sure it's possible to answer such a general question about "us" and "we".

    it's obvious that some people want peace and some people do not.

    the behaviour of some is socially productive or positive and some are selfish.

    it's possible to be empathetic towards someone you have never met, but it's not realistic to expect people to care for someone they have never met and do not know.

    some governments work for the people that elected them but many do not.

    in my world, things are pretty damn fine.
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    Jan 8 2014: Q: "As humans do we have the correct mindsets for peace or do we not?"

    A: Yes we do, but not working on a globalised idea of "democracy". Democracy only has a chance of working at a local level, where it matters a great deal what my own actions will do in affecting others in close community - and vice versa.

    Q: "Are humans acting correctly or are we too based on ultimately selfish and primitive needs?"

    A: Primitivism has its place, as long as it is channelled, controlled and used to enhance the enjoyment and perpetuation of human existence. The world would be a significantly poorer place without primitive needs. Selfishness on the other hand, is primitivism out of control. It is politically and materially inspired and serves no purpose except perhaps for increasing our chances of personal survival in desperate circumstances.

    Q: "Do we care enough about each other, not just family, but other humans?"

    A: Potentially we can care very much for each other, but many don't, except on the level of superficial "possession". Deep love for fellow humans rarely co-exists with materialism and selfishness.

    Q: "Are our governments truly helping the world or not?"

    A: Definitely not. Government exists to win votes and to perpetuate dogma - not to make the world a better place. The two are very different. Also politics as a centralised standard dogma cannot account for, or be of any benefit to, regional characteristics and local needs.
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    Jan 8 2014: 1. We do not have correct mindsets for peace, but we are getting there.
    2. Being selfish is actually a good thing, it has helped us survive so far, but I think the next step in human evolution is for everyone to find a balance between selfishness and selflessness.
    3. People are actually starting to care less about their families, a bit of a regression there.
    4. Governments are only as good as the people who elect them, if people ask more informed questions of their governments, then the governments will do better.
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    Jan 8 2014: It's a matter of focus. Millions of ways to get disillusioned yet millions of ways to feel hopeful.
    Edit:I'm not a determinist and yes what you make out of it matters:)
  • Jan 8 2014: Lots of things happenning now in the world I can't say I like them,but I accept them,I enjoy the processing of searching what is the so called:happiness it is,the more I search the more I enjoy the journey,infact the world is so beautiful,no matter I feel happy or sad...because it definitely means I am still alive in this world.It is the only can support me to go on and on...