TED Conversations

Vera Nova

Director Research Analysis, NOVA Town Futuristic Development

TEDCRED 30+

This conversation is closed.

WHEN YOU SEE A BIG MAN-MADE PROBLEM ARE YOU FALLING ASLEEP, FEELING HELPLESS?

Colossal problems - we feel very helpless even when we suffer because of theses problems. However, why is it so hard for a single person to figure out what to do against madness, violations, mindless industries, commonly vicious "healthcare", poor useless education?

Why do we prefer to stay within brainless crowds doing Wrong, rather than do something different, making our human world a little better.

Can you share with your own thoughts?

Share:
  • thumb
    Apr 23 2014: There is an old expression from my day... "It is better to light one candle then curse the darkness." I think that is all one can do. Each of us is attuned in our perceptions as to what is a monumental crisis, which compounds our feelings of inadequacy when we call it out. First, those who we challenge, ignore us as we are just a few voices and they are righteous in their actions or are downright criminals. Second, others with different concerns, challenge us because their causes are more important then ours and we should drop our concerns and join theirs or we are entirely contrary and should stay out of it.
    We do not prefer to stay with brainless crowds doing wrong... We are not doing wrong. We are standing for other colossal problems that are not yours....
    • thumb
      Apr 23 2014: Just a comment to add to your comment: We are born into the crowd - it is not our choice.. but we do have a choice: to let the crowd grug us in any direction or try to find our own way.
  • thumb
    Apr 19 2014: If you want you always can find a lot of problems everywhere. However, are those problems real ones or are the just a problem for you ?
    It's also a question of priority. If you have your own individual problem(s) then this will be your primary focus. You don't care about climate change or world peace if you can't even feed yourself on a daily basis.
    Even if you don't have any personal issues that require your attention, you still can't focus on all problems humanity faces. You most likely will have your pet issue. For some people that might be the environment, for others such as Bill Gates it's getting rid of Malaria.
    In any case, whatever you do, large or small, to make the world a better place already counts. Break the "colossal" problems down in smaller pieces and you'll find the problem becomes much easier to tackle.
    You probably won't change global warming, but you can compost and do other environmental friendly things. If every single person on the planet acts like that we'd soon, maybe not get rid of them, but at least improve a lot the problems we are facing.
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2014: When we consider the big picture Vera, sometimes it may feel overwhelming, and that may cause a feeling of helplessness in some folks.

    My practice, is to focus on one thing at a time, that is doable. I am not going to change the world, and to even contemplate that seems mind boggling. There are, however, things I can help change in my little corner of our world, and that is what I focus on. If everyone takes small steps toward change, we create the ripple effect, and we experience change on a larger scale.
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2014: You do change the world, Colleen. It's great to have someone like you around.
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2014: Thank you Vera:>)

        Because I believe in a flow of energy in our world, I believe we all change something just by "being" in this earth school. It's nice to "know thyself" and be aware of how we may be changing some things in every moment:>)
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2014: When I was just a little child, lost, helpless, abused and trapped in my pitiful existence, I remembered one day I thought that if I'd entirely disappear the whole mighty world would not be the same, my existence is somehow important - because I'm already here, interacting with everything,,, Since that moment I felt that "I'm the world" even it is reavealed in my tiny presence..

          Years later I read the Chinese proverb:

          A SPARK CAN START A FIRE THAT BURNS THE ENTIRE PRAIRIE.

          No matter what I do I somehow change everything, for bad or for good - I'm already here.
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2014: I wholeheartedly agree Vera....your existence is important because you are HERE.....NOW.

        We are the world.....we are the children....let's start giving......

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9BNoNFKCBI
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2014: Another Chinese proverb: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

          My friend who is a wonderful math teacher is often saying "Don't give a man a fish - teach him to fish."
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2014: True Vera!
        And before we can teach anyone else something, we need to learn it for ourselves.....it starts with us as individuals:>)

        If we fall asleep and feel helpless in our self we cannot do anything for anyone else!

        BTW,
        Do you notice that there is no reply option in your comment just above? I scrolled up to one of your other comments so I could put my reply here...in line with your comment I am responding to:>)
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2014: "And before we can teach anyone else something, we need to learn it for ourselves.....it starts with us as individuals:>)" I'm learning still... do not dare to teach yet, but love to share with what I know and make on my own..

          Yes, I see that "reply" link is missing again. Ted has been asking mebmers some questions recently, about what Ted shall improve - maybe this problem can be fixed? Working on a couple of complicated sites I know some technical obstacles can be persistent.

          btw. Right now I'm making a traditional Italian Easter cake, its my happy time - wished I could send you a huge piece.
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2014: In my perception Vera, we are both student and teacher....always.....all ways:>)

        The reply option is not available in 3rd level replies. See the little arrows right next to our photo? This comment is a 2nd level (two little arrows), so it will have a reply option. Your previous comment is a 3rd level (3 little arrows).....no reply option. It is just the way the TED system is set up....nothing is "missing".

        I would LOVE to try your Italian Easter cake:>)
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2014: Stay well and happy, Coleen. Thanks for sharing with your naturaly inborn kindness - it shows in all your posts no matter what you say.



          P.S. Thank you for taking the time to figure out why a long thread of comments is losing that "reply" links - I was only guessing in the same direction.
      • thumb
        Apr 20 2014: I do my best to stay well and happy Vera.....you do the same ok? Thank you for your kind words:>)

        I'm thinking of you enjoying your Italian Easter cake today:>)
        • thumb
          Apr 20 2014: 1. I was lacky to be born a happy dreamer, Colleen - always believing that goodness and kindness are invicinble.. but hostility, malice and other ugly "powers" are self- destructive.

          2. You see - our language has another flaw - the WORDS "Easter cake" that I send you and you read them, are not eatable. But the words, even when they express an honest Wish may bring to us some little happiness. Are these postcards with kind words are useful?

          The conclusion of the Easter cake: that fantastic sweet dom, full of nuts, dry peaches, raisins with Vanilla mascarpone and ricotta frosting & fresh Raspberries and blueberries in a side has been eaten to the last crumb. I never was able to bake such a delicious easter cake, missed your presence! but your smile was very helpful

          P.S. You might be somewhat amused to know who my guests were, those who eat this old traditional easter treat. Only three were born to Christian families, two to Islamic, one to Sikh, one to Coptic Christian, one to Jewish, and this couple simply did not remember their family history. Young and old, we enjoyed sharing stories about history of religion, and something we experienced first hand . It's important to know how very similar old teachings, traditions and stories may be but interpreted and practiced in different Languages effect different cultures, ethics and mentality..
          This very young Sikh I trust impressed everyone with his own family life-story deeping over 3 millennia back in time, and
          some of his relatives still live in the same place!!

          Though he is very young but is saying that most of his true history knowledge is not possible to get from his college only from millennia old writing. I think in this unusual gathering one may see the future, peaceful and meaningful, and believe it or not - with the use of English language as our helpful medium.
      • thumb
        Apr 23 2014: Yes Vera, I think/feel that messages with kind words are very useful:>)

        Your Easter gathering sounds wonderful, and it reminds me of gatherings with friends of different cultures, religious traditions, and philosophical beliefs, when we shared thoughts, feelings and ideas with pleasure, while learning more about ourselves and each other:>)

        Since I have had many conversations about different religious and philosophical beliefs, I was surprised when I first came on TED, to observe the anger expressed because of different religious/philosophical beliefs. I believe this to be a BIG MAN-MADE challenge in our world!
        There is no reason we cannot sit down and discuss our personal beliefs with respect and pleasure.

        The challenge arises when someone wants to IMPOSE their own personal beliefs on others inaccurately thinking that THEIR belief is the one and only belief. It feels especially contradictory and hypocritical to me when they say their "unconditionally loving god" is going to send all those who do not accept their religion to hell!!!

        I was born into a catholic family, attended catholic school for 12 years, etc., and I started questioning the teachings as a wee little child....love thy neighbor only if s/he is catholic? Everybody else is going too hell? What happened to the so called unconditionally loving god??? Maybe "he" was asleep!

        I believe we CAN accept each other and our religious/philosophical beliefs as long as those beliefs and practices do not adversely impact other people. I believe we create a man-made/human-made challenge when one thinks that his/her personal beliefs are the one and only and EVERYONE must follow those beliefs....or else!

        I LOVE the learning experienced from the study and research of various beliefs, as well as the wonderful conversations I have had with friends and relatives who embrace different religious/philosophical beliefs:>)

        I am enjoying the "idea" of your Italian Easter Cake my friend....thanks:>)
        • thumb
          Apr 23 2014: Here is your quote, Colleen: " ....the anger expressed because of different religious/philosophical beliefs. I believe this to be a BIG MAN-MADE challenge in our world!
          There is no reason we cannot sit down and discuss our personal beliefs with respect and pleasure. "

          This is the most outrageos "feature" of our human character - the most brainless "reason" for fights and endless war. It is happening when a person demands everyone to see the world exactly as he/she does.. However, it is against the law of mighty nature that creates every single creature as a unique being.

          Some years ago I've published my first book, my amusing utopia of a very-far-away future, where everyone is recognized as a unique self-creating individual. Their Futuristic Golden Rule is

          "NEVER treat others as you would like to be treated yourself -- unless they agree to it first --because what is good for you may be damaging for others."


          As we grow up I think we all shall be aware of this truth:

          "Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world."
          Arthur Schopenhauer
        • thumb
          Apr 23 2014: People make up their gods in minds but think it is only the true one. We imagine only based on our own abilities to imagine adn feel.
        • thumb
          Apr 23 2014: Colleen, I had a few friends who were badly suffering in Catholic school - some of them very damaged psychologically, they still cannot manage..

          My beloved book "Erasmus of Rotterdam" by Stefan Zweig - I think it is the best living portrait of a remarkable classical scholar. Amongst humanists, "Prince of the Humanists", Erasmus lived through all the horrors of inquisition, but always as himself. He was physically so fragile and vulnerable, but was empowered within his extraordinary, invincible inborn kindness and compassion.
      • thumb
        Apr 27 2014: I agree Vera, that sometimes, an inability to discuss something with respect, is one of the reasons for fights and wars. I do not agree that it is a "feature" of our human character. It certainly CAN be a "feature" for some people, and I believe it is a learned behavior.

        "Fighting", to protect our self in some way may be a human characteristic, so perhaps when people fight and engage in war, they perceive they are protecting something. I agree with you that it often happens when a person demands that everyone see the world exactly as he/she does. So, what do you perceive they might be protecting in this scenario? What is to be lost if everyone does not have the same world view?

        Personally, I appreciate the differences, as long as the beliefs and practices do not adversely impact other people. However, when some folks try to push their personal beliefs onto others, it DOES adversely impact other people.

        Regarding "suffering in catholic school"....
        I have heard the phrase lately...."recovering catholic".....!

        Since I was a child, I perceived the life experience as a adventurous exploration, so I cannot say that catholic teachings damaged me in any way. It certainly gave me cause to ponder my worldview....even as a wee little lass. While being brought up in a catholic environment, I learned a lot about what I DO NOT want to be in this life experience. I do not appreciate control, domination with fear, or contradictory hypocrisy, and I felt sure of that even as a child.
  • thumb
    Apr 15 2014: Sometimes life presents us with overwhelming challenges that seem to come like a flood; but problems are battles to be fought and won.
    Persistence is vital. There would never be a problem-free world, because even if one chooses to run away from a problem, that too is a problem.
    • thumb
      Apr 15 2014: Thank you for your thoughtful contribution, Feyisayo . Great points, as I understand.

      Persistence! - works great but only if people choose intelligent moves. If they keep hammering, missing the real problem they create more problems, it is so common!
  • thumb
    Apr 18 2014: .
    Yes!
    We are.

    Reason:
    "FALLING ASLEEP" lets our brain find a solution most easily.
    It is our instinct --- ancestors' successful experience.
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2014: I don't think people actually "prefer to stay in brainless crowds," but I do know this is an assumption many people make about others. Rather I think people tend to find ways of doing meaningful things but don't necessarily announce it to the world. When you see a stranger walking down the street, I think it is likely he is doing some things to make life better. It just isn't written on his t-shirt. Many, many people don't prefer to draw attention to the contributions they are making each day, but they may be doing more than you guess.

    Here is a different perspective too from today's New York Times about an activist who has changed the scale of his efforts: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/magazine/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-and-he-feels-fine.html?hp
    • Apr 21 2014: We indulge in our children until they have grown up and then we indulge in the environment and then we indulge in "collapse" like Kingsnorth in the NYT link.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Apr 17 2014: Well, this is always our last reserve :)

      I was more persistent than those people I knew, in finding my ways, and at least, made big changes in my own life..

      In any case the mighty world is all about change and instant transformations, no matter what we feel, we are changing within ourselves, within our environment.
      It is great though, when we particiapate more constructively, and learn from our mistakes.
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2014: I think you can't fight every battle. And even within the battles you choose to fight, you have to be realistic about how much you can do, it's better to do something even if you don't entirely solve the problem rather than to do nothing.
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2014: It is frustrating when we feel that the problem is so huge that it would be impossible to do anything at all, so we do nothing. For instance, one has to eat and feed her family, she goes to buy that questionable food in supermakets, or medications that should not be ever produced in the first place.

      But it is so great to see that some of us become little revolutionaries, on our individual scale, just by ignoring gigantic producers. This might do miracles, when each of us participates in making big changes.
      • thumb
        Apr 17 2014: well, you might not have to buy food in supermarkets, most people live near some kind of farming area so perhaps they could travel to buy the food. In Glendale, the city where I live, there is a farmers' market on Thursday where all the farmers bring their food to sell to the city folks. In fact, these days there are farmers' markets all over Los Angeles County, they're in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and so on.
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2014: Yes, Greg. That is exactly what I mean - we always have the way to make our own choices. But millions among us are still asleep.
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2014: well on any issue a person has many decisions to make. One is whether to get involved in trying to improve the issue. One is whether to try to convince other people to try to improve the issue. One might be what mix one wants, in other words, do you want to spend 60% of your effort trying to improve the issue yourself, and 40% trying to get other people to try to improve it? Or do you want a 90%/10% mix? Or some other ratio? But then one also wants to ask if one can convince other people to get involved, if not, then one can either try by oneself to improve the issue, or perhaps will decide not to try to improve the issue. Of course when one decides whether to try to motivate others, one will try to assess whether they are already motivated, and if not what it would take to motivate them. These kinds of decisions go on and on.

        Therefore if on any issue you think millions are asleep, the questions become whether you think you can do something to wake some of them up, or do you just want to do your little bit to make the issue better, or both, or neither.
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2014: Good point, Greg.

          Your ratio samples are fine. As I personally see the situation - we cannot force anyone to help others, as we know, most of people do everything to survive on their own. It's our natural instinct.

          But in our postmodern time of colossal man-made disasters, it is impossible to truly separate ourselves from our crazy society We participate in creating or growing these disasters because we are ALREADY inside those systems, industries, political games...

          The reason why I've posted this topic is to find out what some individuals can do, or think, personally or as a group. Are they organizing some movement or just do something good on their own (as you describe the options)

          What am I doing? Since I was a teen I was doing a lot of charity, besides giving valuable things to struggling needy people, I tried to wake them up... I've learned that giving away money and things is not changing anything -- unless you get people involved in some meaningful work and learn.

          I see only one most effective way to change for the better where I'm very involved - is to create sustainable small communities, within our neighboring area.

          Cheers!
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2014: it does seem that we should give appreciation to people who simply do a job that contributes to society, whether they do it to help society or not. For example, there may be farmers who produce food not because they care about helping others, but only because they want to make money. But whatever their motive, they still produce food that we all need to go on living and enjoy life.

        A lot of times people may get involved in change not because they want to help society, but because they want to make more money. For instance, a farmer may start growing organic food because he sees there is more profit to be made. His motive here may not be extremely admirable, but he is contributing to positive change?
  • Apr 15 2014: It is about Powerless vs Powerful. Its like you on one side and the whole world on other side . If you will stand up then the common cliche which you will often hear is :

    1) Change yourself
    2) Its EGO
    3) Who appointed you the leader of the masses
    4) Why don't you think of yourself first

    To bring a change against the already established rules and convention , POWER is required .
    • thumb
      Apr 15 2014: Agree - what you're describing is our recycling situation..
  • thumb
    Apr 15 2014: We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
    Albert Einstein
    • Apr 15 2014: Most of the problems which we see today have not been created today but they have taken its root long before. Its like a person goes to the doctor and comes to know that he is suffering from cancer. Did cancer occurred to him when he visited the doctor or it has taken its root long before but he was not aware of it ?
      • thumb
        Apr 15 2014: Oh Yes. It is so hard to recognize the problem when you do not wish to face it. Walking while asleep is our human "way".
  • thumb
    Apr 26 2014: "Cowards can never be moral.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi
  • thumb
    Apr 26 2014: “Few men think; yet all have opinions. ”
    ― George Berkeley
  • thumb
    Apr 26 2014: Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.
    Arthur Schopenhauer
  • thumb
    Apr 19 2014: A truly great man never puts away the simplicity of a child.
    chinese proverb
  • thumb
    Apr 19 2014: Don't underestimate the potential destructive power that a seemingly minor problem can cause.
  • thumb
    Apr 19 2014: A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion.
    chinese proverb
  • thumb
    Apr 19 2014: Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
    chinese proverb
  • Apr 15 2014: Our ignorance of our boredom is the problem.
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2014: Also something makes us so lazy to think for ourselves.. everything is "ready-to-go" food, ideas, strategies, entertainment. We do have many idiotic manuals for "life"
      • Apr 17 2014: We are too successful. Awareness consumes energy. Success is consuming as much as possible for as little action and thought - and awareness - as possible. Life on this planet will come to a halt unless we, the human race, convert our surplus of energy into self- awareness.
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2014: "Life on this planet will come to a halt unless we, the human race, convert our surplus of energy into self- awareness."
          Rodrigo - I hope others would be able to hear and understand what you're saying..
  • thumb
    Apr 15 2014: I'd say when we are avoiding problems we are avoiding ourselves.
  • thumb
    Apr 15 2014: How do you like this observation?

    When we talk about settling the world's problems, we're barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect. It's a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.
    Joseph Campbell
    • Apr 15 2014: But when everybody has straightened themselves out they will still need to co-operate.
      • thumb
        Apr 15 2014: So true. To know how to cooperate is the most colossal problem we face every day, I think. Wondering, we are so crowded but so separated from one another in a sense of co-existence and cooperation..
  • thumb
    Apr 15 2014: Don't tell your problems to people: eighty percent don't care; and the other twenty percent are glad you have them
    Lou Holtz
  • thumb
    Apr 15 2014: Love this super wisdom articulated by great Groucho Marx: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”