TED Conversations

Daniel Vineberg


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"I don't try to be right, I choose to be happy" ... wait, what?

With no disrespect intended to RIc or any readers with opposing views, I take issue with the quote I pinpointed. The pursuit of happiness is a great thing and all, but I don't think it should actually take precedence over being right.

Now I know there's a fine line between "being right" and "doing the right thing". After all someone who tries to "be right" on every minute issue can get very annoying fast ( -- ever met someone who insists on correcting grammar when it's clear what's being said? case in point).

But on larger issues I would like to suggest that proving that you are in fact right constitutes doing the right thing.
eg. Galileo would've been a lot happier if he just agreed the earth was flat and stopped insisting he was right -- but aren't we happy he was stubborn?

more recent eg. Fighting tolerance / discrimination. Though intrinsically rewarding, most of us can live an easier, happier life by turning a cold shoulder. But who would argue that this is good advice?

I don't mean to pick apart Ric's quote and use it out of context. All I would like to show is that what may help you live on a micro level may actually promote apathy on a macro level. I'm only twenty though, so I'm still at the idealistic age where I think some hard work can save the world. But isn't that what TED's all about? :)


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  • May 3 2011: There is no love in right.
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      May 3 2011: Hi Michael, that is an interesting statement. Is there love in knowingly allowing someone to believe something that is untrue? I am not asking because I know the answer. I am asking because I wondered if there is love in wrong?
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        May 4 2011: don't we have to let people believ what they want and choose when and how to change that? proseltzing and trying to "rehabilitate" others beliefs or what we see as wrong choices for them is a very bad paradign for change..all we can do is model faithfully what we ourselves value and believe and hold those in our hearts we see may be harming themselves or others.
      • May 7 2011: If you are defining truth as "right", then I don't think there's a relationship between love and "right or wrong" (but I might argue that equating "truth" to "right" is wrong).

        If my friend who does not have a good singing voice thinks she does, is there love in telling her that she does not, and thus ruining her enjoyment of karaoke? On the other hand, when she decides to audition for American Idol, is there love in supporting her delusion, and allowing her to be humiliated on national television by Simon Cowell? If my (hypothetical) adopted son was given up by his now-deceased biological mother because she simply didn't want him, should I tell him that, rather than let him think she gave him up because she was unable to support him and wanted a better life for him?

        I think what is "right" is situational, and unrelated to "the truth".

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