Joe Delsen


This conversation is closed.

Will we wait for other people to be converted to our beliefs or convictions before we can transform our world?

We all have different convictions and beliefs that defines our worldview and see it as the complete truth in obtaining a just and peaceful world for all of us, do we really think this is the only way, and hence the rest of the world should be converted, then we will have world justice and peace?

The main cultures are Christians in the american continent, Europe and parts of Russia, Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and Indonesia, Buddhists in China and Asia, Hindus in India and Non-theists in all places as well as all religions present also in most of other countries. Each culture have great power and conviction to right our world but many seem unaware of this power and for those that are aware seem to see their own culture as the only solution.

One of the biggest gathering threat today is the devastating effects of climate change. Ars Technica summarized an International Energy Agency (IEA) report noting that, among other things, inaction on climate goals has added $1 trillion onto the cost of reaching them—in 2009 alone (

According to Lester Brown, the tipping point for all of us to act in averting
climate change is rising food prices ( If we wait for developed nations to feel this, what would have already happened to the rest of the world?

Is there a way to see an underlying unity of our beliefs and convictions and agree on our mutual interests in order to transform our world in to an equitable and sustainable global home?

Closing Statement from Joe Delsen

My belief system and your belief system or principles and convictions is the perspective that you and I believe can transform our world but our diverse society, in order for it to strongly progress needs to be more aware of the fundamental unity that we all have. This fundamental unity can be made more strong and apparent when we define it in a "universal" language that avoids bias and prejudice arising from our perceptions that other belief systems and cultures are different and are invading or converting our own belief system. Our own perspective has wisdom and truth when it can take any other perspective and see its translation into our own, realizing our fundamental unity.

If you and I want to truly see this universal worldview, what our true freedom shows is that we can open our hearts and minds to any ideas that we perceive to be different or contradictory to our own set of principles and see how it translates into our own and realize that we do all have a universal worldview. The only difference is we express it in our diverse cultures and language. We open our hearts and minds to care and understand, the hope and promise is we will see this universal worldview.

The essence of the belief system that I have grown into and the NDE which I would call the"anomaly" of all belief systems (belief systems being only based on "faith") and non-theist convictions (the anomaly of scientific evidence of higher dimensions) has so far shown me our fundamental unity.

This what I call "universal perspective" has given me consistencies and meaning to any TED talk, news or any information that I have encountered so far.

This is the basis of my intuition that we can transform our world, if we all keep an open mind to understand and an open heart to care, and translate all these into concrete actions.

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    Jul 1 2011: Hi Joe good topic you opened up.
    I am taking the liberty of asking a question to you in reply of your question......

    Did people like Martin Luther King, Gandhi or Mandela etc waited for people to be converted to their belief and then move ?

    The answer to my question , hope will give the answer to your question :)
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      Jul 1 2011: Good question Salim, and I think we all know the answer...let us move forward with our belief in unity:>)
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      Jul 1 2011: It is indeed a great legacy that these great people (among many others in our history) have hander over to us.

      I believe this information age is now our moment, our chance, our last decade to leave our true legacy for our children. ( and implement our solution strategies in all fronts (

      We all have wealth, power and influence big and small. Have we directed these resources to transform our world and leave our true mark in this troubled world?
  • Jul 21 2011: Well, in my opinion the problem is that some of these beliefs are directly contradicting the idea of climate change. I remember reading an article about flooding of some island country caused by the rising sea level. They interviewed a christian preacher who refused to believe in global warming and rising sea level, even as the neighboring coast village became fully submerged under water. His reasoning is that bible promises that the Earth will flood no more. How can you convince someone who believes that God will fix everything to act upon the climate change? "Equitable and sustainable global home" means nothing to some of these people.
    As long as people keep making decisions based on their beliefs, rather then based on facts, there will be no unity.
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      Jul 21 2011: Alexander, convincing someone from outside their belief systems indeed seems impossible that's why what I believe is the key is to expound the great essence of these beliefs. For example, seven of the ten commandments demands justice for all and the bible is not a scientific book but a guide for all people to live in justice and peace - in this life and to the next or that big dimension that we are glancing into with this multi-cultural NDEs. (edit. Alexander, I thought we were conversing in my other thread about NDEs but here's the link anyway,

      The preacher you mentioned seem to be imprisoned by the comforting prophecies of the bible not realizing that the work of salvation is to be done here on earth and not in heaven or elsewhere.

      Sometimes it is easier to preach our own righteousness than to really ignite the power of our hearts and minds and do the hard work of transforming our world. I believe it's a hard work and may demand some sacrifices but when we are aware of the power of our hearts to care and the power of minds to understand then this life, this endeavor to transform our world is the greatest adventure that we can all embark.
      • Jul 22 2011: Joe, if I could have a penny every time a religious person tells me how everybody else got it wrong, misread the bible or got "imprisoned by the comforting prophecies of the bible" I would be rich by now.
        The sad truth is that according to the recent polls 41% of Americans believe that the end of the world will happen before 2050 and I don't know how you can convince all these people to care about the environment. (
        Furthermore, living in Kansas I got to talk to some of these people, and many of them admitted to me that they will dismiss scientific facts if they contradict their faith.
        Given these two pieces of information I see no solution other then printing a new Bible translation with artificially inserted environmental messages. This has worked in the past, maybe it will work again.
        P.S. I will look at the link and will reply to the other conversation
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          Jul 22 2011: Alexander, what do you think about this article -

          We apply fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators, but to data itself ... We're not driven only by emotions, of course—we also reason, deliberate. But reasoning comes later, works slower—and even then, it doesn't take place in an emotional vacuum. Rather, our quick-fire emotions can set us on a course of thinking that's highly biased, especially on topics we care a great deal about ...
          ... we have other important goals besides accuracy—including identity affirmation and protecting one's sense of self—and often those make us highly resistant to changing our beliefs when the facts say we should.

          ... paradoxically, you don't lead with the facts in order to convince. You lead with the values—so as to give the facts a fighting chance.

          Chris Mooney - The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science
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    Jul 3 2011: I was led to an essay by a quote in another thread and thought this excerpt applied here (although I do suspect Mr Wilde may not have been fully aware of how "the majority" live their lives.)

    The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism-- are forced, indeed, so to spoil them. They find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man's intelligence; and, as I pointed out some time ago in an article on the function of criticism, it is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease.

    They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor.

    But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible. And the altruistic virtues have really prevented the carrying out of this aim. – Oscar Wilde
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      Jul 4 2011: Thomas,

      "The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism-- are forced, indeed, so to spoil them" So true Thomas, sometimes hearing a great speech or amusing the poor seems to be enough to embalm our conscience. Sometimes we hear it so often that it bores us to inaction. But our power to care and to be enlightened is still there, it just need to be ignited to spur more people to action like the great example of many people today. This is something we can do within our cultures.

      We know this all along but most people seem to be just waiting and saying "somebody, somewhere will solve our problems " or "my own worldview is the only solution and other worldviews is the reason for our problems and we won't solve our problems until the rest of the world conform to my worldview".

      "The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible" and this is indeed the aim of our solution strategies. (
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        Jul 4 2011: Hi Joe,

        I might be mistaken - I didn't read all of Wilde's essay - but I believe he was advocating anarchy not igniting more people to coordinated action. Whether or not that was his point, it is an interesting perspective.

        Personally, I have no desire to "fix the world." I do not think it is broken.

        That does not mean I do not see "problems" - I do. If I see someone who is hungry, (and I can) I feed them.

        If someone sees that I am hungry and they offer to feed me, I accept.

        In my opinion, many of the "world's problems*" are the direct result of our tendency to "solve problems."

        What would happen if we stopped (solving BIG problems?)

        * If we suspend our tendency to project - and anthropomorphize virtually everything - do you think the world, or the universe, would "care" about what is happening?

        We are not actually solving "the world's" problems, it doesn't have any (not even us) - we are solving the problems we perceive in the world. They are our problems. And they may well be problems of perception.

        Again, what would happen if we stopped?

        I have no expectation that we will "stop" - for the simple reason that even suggesting that we do stop usually triggers strong emotional responses. It's as if we are emotionally invested in the idea we must "solve problems." As if we cannot see any purpose in living if we are not solving problems.

        I am not religious but I love wisdom wherever I find it. There is wisdom here:

        Therefore I say to you, “What things so ever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.” – Mark 11:24

        What would happen if we acted AS IF the world was already the way we wanted it to be?

        NOT: What would happen if others acted as if the world was already the way we wanted it to be?

        It's a different perspective, don't you think?


        BTW I cannot access the links in your posts so I do not know what the aim of your solution strategies are.
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          Jul 5 2011: Hi there Thomas!

          "What would happen if we acted AS IF the world was already the way we wanted it to be?"

          This seems to be the secret of millionaires and why not more people do it indeed. Some people say that the sub-conscious mind consider all thoughts as real and we can trick it somehow to synergize our thoughts when we think and act as if, making us more focused to achieve our goals. In the meantime, the aim of our interactions is to exchange ideas and in the process hopefully formulate better ideas.

          We can no longer stop solving our problems because of the problems we made by applying the wrong solution to our problems as you so correctly noted. We just make sure we make it right this time or next time.

          For the solution strategies, I'm simply describing the solutions that we are all implementing like avoiding risks that further weaken our economy, our leader's effort to make our economic system more just and our part as individuals in contributing solutions. I listed it also in my profile.

          The whole idea is to put in our minds and hearts ideas and reasons to expound our great powers to love, hope and trust.
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          Jul 11 2011: Dear Joe,
          I totally the change we want to see...what we focus on expands:>)

          "The winds of Grace are blowing all the time
          It is up to us to raise our sails".
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      Jul 5 2011: Thomas - clear and logical (in a space where logic seems most hallowed of all).

      Joe - systems fail. People succeed. Wanting everyone to all do that together at the same time is a lovely dream.
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        Jul 5 2011: Scott, you're counter thinking is rather energizing. You're a unique individual!

        We may not need everyone but a critical mass of innovators, change agents, people on a mission, great leaders, people with energized hearts and minds. As Viktor Frankl prescribed, lovely dreams is what putting our world forward.

        It looks like my philosophical arguments or language is rusty maybe you ca help me here. You and Thomas are saying there is no "us" but you are also saying that people succeed.
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          Jul 5 2011: Hi Joe,

          QUOTE: "You and Thomas are saying there is no "us" but you are also saying that people succeed."

          Hmmmm ... Am I saying there is no us? I don't think so. I think I am saying there is no "other." There is no "them."

          I do recall quoting someone (Gabriel Pearson) who said there is no us but that was more for his larger point. And I would probably agree with how he used the word "us" - as a hypothetical.

          Now, I may actually have written "there is no us" (I don't remember) but, again, that would probably have been to make a larger point.

          As far as the "us and them" thing goes - now that you mention it - my position is there is no "them" there is only us.

          However, from the point of view of agency, there is only me. That is, I am the only person whose behaviour I can control (and there is some debate about that!)

          When it comes to influence, then, there is me, as an individual; and there is you, as an individual. Meaning, I might be able to influence you and you might be able to influence me. But each of us makes our own choices and take action or not ... as individuals.

          "We" cannot do anything. Only you can do something - if you want to. And only I can do something - if I choose to.

          I find the notion of "other" an abstraction. I feel the same way about "them."

          Half of the world cannot eat food for the other half.

          I speak to individuals (and I accept other individuals might be listening in.)

          I have a choice: I can separate myself from everyone; or I can separate myself from no one.

          So you can see, Joe, for me, it is never about "them;" it is only about me ... and you.

          It's much more manageable that way, don't you think?
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          Jul 6 2011: Joe - My brain contradicts itself all the time, (un)fortunately.

          Thomas - "ThereIsNoThem" was my original name for my band!
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          Jul 7 2011: Joe,

          Did FreeLove fail?

          I heard that at the end of the 60's, everyone got sour and denounced freelove as poppycock that was bound to fail. It's the same as when people blame religion for any injustice done in the name of religion.

          People get impatient. Change is inevitable. Conflict is a harbinger for Change and these days, it's quick.

          Peace and love didn't fail.

          Commercial aspects fall to fashion as all commercial ventures must. The image begins to parody quickly in these days of wires and words and despite the devilish details, it's appearances that count, initially.

          Peace and Love met with popular culture and then mingled with capitalism and every goldrush comes to an end.

          I believe in the power of the flower.

          We will get there in the end..
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        Jul 5 2011: Thank for that great clarification Thomas! So yes, there is only us and there's only me and you.

        When I'm talking only to you like for example in a phone or email, then there's only me and you and the things that we can do together. When conversing in a diverse group such as TED, then other people are involved, hence there is "us" and "we". And considering how we are inclined to perpetuate our own worldview, then there are "others" or "them" and this thread and the universal worldview that I want to refine and bring awareness to others should help bring us together and think only as "us".

        I thought you were also hinting the dynamics of our political systems. You work in China and you appreciate how the great old culture of China is brought into fruition into a communist political system but with somewhat capitalist market system. Intrinsically, our democratic systems looks great but we somehow miss the mark in its perfect implementation. The problem as you noted is we sometimes implement solutions that further exacerbate our problems. Much as we try to exert our powers to right our planet, believing that it is also in the interest of the people, we sometimes create more problems.

        In this information age, we know what the problems are and what the solutions are. There's only me and you and together we (us) do have the power to transform our world.
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          Jul 5 2011: QUOTE: When conversing in a diverse group such as TED, then other people are involved, hence there is "us" and "we". And considering how we are inclined to perpetuate our own worldview, then there are "others" or "them" and this thread and the universal worldview that I want to refine and bring awareness to others should help bring us together and think only as "us".

          As Mohandas K. Gandhi said, "Be the change that you want to see in the world."

          If the concomitant of perpetuating a world view (any world view) is that we see "others," (those who do not share our worldview) it will be challenging to lead a crusade that will culminate in the perception of a unified "us." If we use ideas as our means of discriminating who "gets it" and who doesn't, we will always have an "us" and "them." We will never have us. Our ideas will not allow it.

          Try a little thought experiment: Forget whatever problem you think perpetuating your worldview will solve or how it will improve the world and, for one week, act as if everyone already embraced a universal worldview.

          Be the change you want to see in the world.

          EDIT: Colloquially, we use "us," "them," and "other" as you do in the paragraph I have quoted but we are not speaking colloquially when we get to the rarified heights of ideas and to the scale where we want to "transform the world." At that scale, a small error could have large consequences.
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        Jul 6 2011: So it's about bringing awareness that "others" are the same as "us" and that we only differ in language - same universal ideas but different expressions. Considering how we are sometimes personally invested in our worldviews and see it as the only truth, it is indeed a challenge.

        I agree with you that we should be the change that we want to see in the world and it's better to act and think as if everyone already embraced a universal worldview.

        If I may I ask Thomas what is your worldview about the perceived problems of the world like earth sustainability (climate change, water, oceans etc.) and equality in basic rights?
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          Jul 6 2011: QUOTE: "If I may I ask Thomas what is your worldview about the perceived problems of the world like earth sustainability (climate change, water, oceans etc.) and equality in basic rights?"

          It's a fair question. I don't actually have a "worldview" - I find the practice limiting. This moment has never existed before, why would I want to confine it to, or make it conform to, an image I created before I arrived here? I do not care how pristine my image is nor how complete, I could not have anticipated this moment ... or this one ... or this ...

          Or the next.

          Does that mean my mind is "empty?" Of course not, I am as familiar with most worldviews, as I am sure you are. I'm just not invested in any of them.

          Unless you would like to call "kindness, honesty, and integrity" a worldview. Or unless you would like to call the idea that we will find whatever it is we think we are looking for within ourselves a worldview.

          I'm okay with that.

          What do I think about the perceived problems of the world? Well, I do not think the problems themselves are "perceived" problems. Not all of them. Some of them are real enough.

          The question is, "How is that we have created these problems?"

          That is where the issue of perception comes in.

          Let's simplify to the extreme: If I want to "feel secure" and I believe I need to horde food, own a gun, use violence, convert others to my point of view, and own a BMW to do so, then my perception will give rise to a particular set of problems: Food shortages, domestic and local violence, state sanctioned violence, intolerance and prejudice, and the destruction of the earth to create roads I can drive on with my BMW.

          So "what is the solution?"

          For me, the solution is to change MY perception [not yours.] I do not want to impoverish or limit myself by tying my sense of security - to continue with the example - to anything that requires me to compromise principles such as love, compassion, and acceptance.
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        Jul 7 2011: Great perspective Thomas! So we're okay with "kindness, honesty and integrity" as a universal worldview. From my personal perspective I started to identify also "love, hope and trust" and "freedom, justice and truth" as our universal worldview and although it sounds boring to some of us, the principles don't fail as Scott mentioned.

        I think that these universal ideas has been with us in the past it shows in the great sayings of great people as you are often quoting them.

        Your key word here I believe is "compromise" which many of us feel what we are required to do when another worldview or belief is presented to us. You are right when you say we don't compromise our principles of love, compassion and acceptance, so does the principles of hope, integrity, justice and honesty.

        My deep intuition is these universal principles are also present in our own personal beliefs and convictions but we are somehow limited by bias and prejudice when we state it as it is and believe it as the only way. This is our own paradigm and we need rise above it by translating the language of our beliefs or convictions in order to see this underlying unity that we all have.

        So the solution is changing my perception indeed - our perceptions. This is one of the main reason why we have TED and I think our ability to change our perceptions or more appropriately our ability to unite our convictions qualifies us as a true Tedster or a true citizen of Earth.

        This will in turn help transform our world.
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          Jul 7 2011: Hi Joe,

          I appreciate your tenacity.

          And the tenacity of your brain and its memes.

          I was thinking about our conversation at breakfast and literally laughed out loud.

          It doesn't matter how I try to say, "it is not about 'the collective;' it is about 'me' and 'you' (as individuals),'" you find a way to bring it back to "a universal worldview" and the "ability to unite our convictions."

          I am saying we do not have to transform our world (we never did); that "transforming our world" has led to the problems we now want to "transform" ourselves out of. And you bring it back to, "Yes, we can transform ourselves and THEN we can transform the world."

          And there we have agreement - in a manner of speaking.

          If we transform ourselves (as individuals) I think you will find WE will not have to transform "the world" at all; IT will "transform" all by itself.

          Let me be very plain: that sentence does not mean you and I should make an effort to transform our collective selves (yours, mine and everyone else's); it means if I transform myself, I will not have to transform anything else. It means if you "transform yourself," you will not have to unite the world with a universal world vision. You will simply see unity - unity unencumbered by the trappings (semantics) of "a universal worldview."
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        Jul 8 2011: Thomas I apologize if you find me somehow naive. I myself is wondering because I seem to have only been born two months ago. But I do appreciate and thank you for patiently conversing with me.

        So it's about you and me transforming our personal selves and hence effectively transforming the world outside us.

        When I'm talking about the collective, I'm talking about the likes of TED phenomenon being able to change or reinforce perspectives that shows our universal characteristics of kindness, love, hope and integrity, or the strengths of freedom, justice and truth that our systems need.

        In this situation you won't be labeling TED as a platform to transform our world. It's simply is a forum of great ideas worth spreading and it is up to me and you to take the challenge to transform ourselves which will in effect transform our world.

        Let's just say that I'm impatient. When the great wisdom of the past has been continually ignored and somehow enable us to make huge mistakes. When the diffusion of science can be slowed and make us believe we have all the time in the world to fix it later. When everything else fails and simply say, this is the best we could do and it's all part of the process. When we say that this is the best that our great humanism or love can get us with the state of our world today. Or when we say we cannot integrate the global information of our reform efforts and excellently manage it as corporations do in their business. And when we simply say that stupidity is as abundant as hydrogen.

        Then I'd say it does not have to be. Life can be simpler and we do have the power to transform our world and it is high time we start igniting each other. We start igniting more hearts and minds. It is high time that we wake up to the fundamental unity of our convictions and speed up our international cooperation and truly transform our world.

        cont. 1/2
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        Jul 8 2011: cont. 2/2

        If I'm the only one talking and you're the only one that hears me then it doesn't matter anyway, all I can do is wait and be the change that I want to see in this world, as you do. I'll do the best I can and I shall learn more as I continue to converse with great people like you, and understand more TED talks.
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          Jul 8 2011: QUOTE: "Thomas I apologize if you find me somehow naive."

          Not at all Joe. Sorry if it comes across like that.

          You may have read in one of my posts somewhere here on TED, that I take full responsibility for the effectiveness of my communication. So by acknowledging "your tenacity" I am really commenting on my communication. ... And I get that that might not be obvious.

          In another post, I said my objective in communicating is understanding - not reaching agreement. If agreement is reached, so be it. But what I'm striving for is understanding.

          I do not think of you as naive ... I do think you are making me work hard at being understood.

          And, I am enjoying the process. [I have actually copied this conversation to a permanent file on my hard drive!]
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          Jul 8 2011: Hi Joe,

          So let's strive for understanding:

          You are impatient; you feel we have ignored the great wisdom of the past, and thereby made, and continue to make, huge mistakes. You believe that if we accelerate the diffusion of science, we can fix the problems sooner rather than later. Saying "this is the best we can do" does not cut it. You believe humanism and love, properly applied and managed can achieve more than is evidenced by the state of the world today. If we integrate the global information resulting from our reform efforts and manage them excellently, as corporations manage their businesses, we can resolve the existing problems. And when we simply say that stupidity is as abundant as hydrogen we are being defeatist.

          Further, you are saying, "life can be simpler, we do have the power to transform our world and it is high time we start igniting each other. We should be igniting more hearts and minds. It is high time that we wake up to the fundamental unity of our convictions and speed up our international cooperation and truly transform our world."

          EDIT: Also you think we should propagate the universal characteristics of kindness, love, hope, and integrity and the strengths of freedom, justice, and truth that our systems need.

          Is that about right?
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        Jul 8 2011: Hi there Scott, as you describe it, the love in freelove did not fail. Same as the marches for peace did not fail peace when peace is also understood to necessitate some war that prevents greater evils.

        The world "love" seems to be one of the most maligned yet most expounded word in the world but like anything else, there is a true or false understanding of the word "love". In the 60's when other people were opposed to the culture of freelove, surely somebody must have known what true love was all along.

        It seems that when I try to expound the power of true love, a similar sense of failure ensues. We never again want to get sour and we denounce all matters involving love this time. It's fuzziness defines its impossibility.

        Yet love is what sustains the relative peace we have in our world today. I think all we need is a little nudge to expound the power of true love and realistically transform our world.

        My hope also is that we get to a just and peaceful world in the end.
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        Jul 8 2011: Thanks Thomas for understanding. Aside from trying to understand you, I'm also trying to understand myself that's why I explain it by my impatience and the reasons as so far my understanding of our world today. This means that I maybe wrong as you duly noted.

        That's why I also said in the end that all I can do is wait and be the change that I want to see in this world, as you do. I'll do the best I can and I shall learn more as I continue to converse with great people like you, and understand more TED talks.
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          Jul 8 2011: QUOTE: "Thanks Thomas for understanding.

          You're welcome.

          Have I understood you completely?

          Have I left out any of the important bits?

          QUOTE: "Aside from trying to understand you, I'm also trying to understand myself ..."


          QUOTE: "...I maybe wrong as you duly noted."

          I don't recall saying you are wrong. It's unusual for me to say someone is "wrong" unless it relates to a matter of simple fact, wrongly stated - or some such "clerical" matter. And, even then, I don't usually use the word "wrong."
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        Jul 8 2011: Yes Thomas you never used the word "wrong". Poor choice of word on my part. I would not have described you as someone great and a true intellectual otherwise.

        I say you are great and fairness demands that I'd be true to our fellow Tedsters so let me also state that this is our assumption for all people, as we understood in our conversation.

        Perhaps understanding each other is all we need in this world.

        Thank you again Thomas. You're an amazing man!
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          Jul 9 2011: Thank you, Joe. You are very kind and generous in your praise.

          I think understanding is a good thing too.
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    Jul 3 2011: Hi Joe,

    A day or so ago, I addressed a specific point in your subtext, namely, the question, "Is there a way to see an underlying unity of our beliefs and convictions ...?"

    Today, I wanted to point up some challenges embedded within the principle question: "Will we wait for other people to be converted to our beliefs or convictions before we can transform our world?"

    The language is inclusive and, paradoxically, exclusive. You use the words, "we," "our beliefs," and "our world." And you also use the phrase "other people." So one obvious question is, "Who are the "we" and who are the "other people" that "we" are waiting for?"

    It's possible the juxtaposition is intentional and I know we can also be trapped by syntax - that is, we are shackled by the limitations inherent in the languages we use. But nevertheless, language is what we have and wars have been fought over the wrong turn of phrase.

    There is a lot of wisdom contained within the TED community. Here are two excerpts I think address the point I am making:

    There is no us, and there is no big picture. There is the individual (meaning oneself) and the details in the day-to-day... Many things of great value are often overlooked in an attempt to look for the "greater good" that we cannot prove we will find or achieve. In this search for big results the details are overlooked and sometimes the greater good just becomes the less obvious evil. Value life. All life. – Gabriel Pearson


    The improvement of the world must be highly contextualized. – Hans Rosling

    And, from a much earlier iteration of TED talks:

    To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right. – Kong Zi (aka Confucius - 551 - 479 BCE)
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      Jul 3 2011: I totally agree with you Thomas...before we can do anything in our world, it helps to first have our own house in order:>)

      When I saw your comments, I always thought of you as Thomas, because that is the information you provided, UNTIL you explained why you prefer to be called Thomas, rather than Tom. Now I always have an urge to call you Tom to see what would happen!!! LOL:>)
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        Jul 3 2011: Well (I think I mentioned this) if people call me Tom Jones, "it's not unusual" for me to burst into songs about green, green grass, pussycats, daughters of darkness, and so on.

        Unfortunately, I sing rather badly so I do not recommend testing to see if this is true.

        It might take a whole lot longer to convert other people to our beliefs if they hear me sing (to keep the post on topic.)
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          Jul 3 2011: Yeah! I saw that...that's why I have the urge to call you Tom!
          To keep the post on topic...let's try it and see how many we can convert! LOL:>)
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      Jul 4 2011: Thomas, thank you for such an excellent observation! Like many great Tedsters, you energize my thinking in my conversations with you.

      I guess I was trying to phrase the question in a dynamic interchange. "We" is our united humanity as Gabriel Pearson and Bill Gates' Foundation describe "Value life. All life". Primarily, we usually read the question in the context of our own perspective, hence, "other people" exist, which in our attempt to right our world, we believe that other people needs to be converted to our own worldview before we can truly change our world.

      I agree when Mr. Pearson said "Many things of great value are often overlooked in an attempt to look for the "greater good", that's why I also integrate the "power" to personal world transformation (http://Bit.Ly/KeyPower) to set our hearts right as Kong Zi said, as a transforming power to gradually expand to our global home (

      My goal is to use univeral words (if there is any) and universal perspective but as of today, my words are somehow limited by my own personal perspective and limited scientific or philosophical knowledge. This is one reason why I deeply appreciate the input of our fellow tedsters like you.

      Pearson's statement "... greater good that we cannot prove we will find or achieve" is I think a reflection of the dire state of our world today. I believe that there is reason to hope and I think it's our best choice, with the power of our great humanism, scientific knowledge and our information infrastructures.
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    Jul 2 2011: I don't see any reason to wait until everyone believes the same thing. All I ask is that people respect one another and we would help each other and live in glorious peace. What bugs me is how do we approach the problem of proponents of radical beliefs that espouse violence ?
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      Jul 2 2011: Hi Helen,
      I read once about a practice in some native american tribes to deal with violence within the tribe. A tribal council would be arranged with all the members of the village participating. Each member of the tribe would tell the offender what his/her good qualities were, and they would also tell him/her that violent behavior is not acceptable and they would be bannished from the tribe if it continued.

      People who violate others are generally insecure in themselves, so reminders of their qualities/talents/skills may help build self esteem. Constant reminders that violent bahavior is not accepted in the society, could change things? With our present systems, they simply keep re-offending, and we keep putting them in jail, or fighting against them. In my perception, there is no real effort to spread the news that violence IS NOT acceptable! What do you think?
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        Jul 2 2011: Colleen, I agree with your example and assessment. We should complement our academic education with cultural, moral or values education.

        It won't matter how excellent our scientific advances or technological advances are if our love, care and humanism has not equally advanced - it results in global problems as we have today.
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          Jul 2 2011: Joe,
          I believe we are at a crossroads right now in our world. We have the technology to connect, and perhaps resolve issues on a global level. Isolation helps foster many of the challenges we face in our world. We are no longer as isolated as we once were. Knowledge is power, and the more we spread the knowledge/information, the more powerful will be the transformation:>)
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        Jul 2 2011: Colleen............You are right on the mark. It has been my long held belief that we (society) do not have the right to punish anyone. In America, our justice system is based on that principle. I advocate that justice is served by rehabilitation and restoration. I think the death penalty is barbaric. Now please understand that I realize that there may be sadistic, violent persons who must be removed from society and if restoring them to sanity is not an option then incarceration for life must be the answer.Otherwise if we can change the self view and worldview of perpetrators, lets go for it.
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          Jul 2 2011: Helen,
          Whether or not we have the right, history teaches us that punishing does not necessarily work. I totally agree with you that justice is served by rehabilitation, restoration and education. In my years of volunteering with the dept. of corrections, I saw the files of many offenders...most of whom were emotionally, physically, sexually assualted from the time they were children. I remember the guy who was the toughest in the unit...sexually assualted by members of his family from the time he was 2 years of age. Does punishing him for repeating what he learned make sense? Or would we be better off teaching him something different? There are a lot of wounded people in our world. We cannot change someone else, but we could offer more tools and opportunities for them to change their own behaviors.
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          Jul 3 2011: Thank you Colleen for such a great service to our imprisoned brothers and sisters. Never imagined such great courage in your sweet smile!

          Your are so right about describing this more horrendous prison that this abused brother have sufferred, the prison of hatred and distorted heart and mind.

          Manny people have a varying degree of this psychological and moral prison and many also are not aware or feel helpless but great love such as what you are extending is what can heal these invisible wounds of hearts and minds.
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          Jul 3 2011: Thank you Joe! The smile goes with me wherever I go:>) If I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem.

          Prior to a near fatal head/brain injury, 21 years ago, I was a professional actor, singer, dancer, performing often in musical theater. After the injury, I had balance issues, and have an over sensitivity to sound and light, which facilitated my turning the corner from one phase of my life to another direction.

          Interestingly enough, other opportunities started presenting at about the same time...volunteering in the women/children's shelter, family center, dept. of corrections, advocating for children in state custody, guest lecturing at the university, etc. etc.

          You are right Joe...many people live in varying degrees of "prison". I believe we are all on this earth school to support each other in this life journey:>) We are all teachers and students, and when I extend love...guess what I get back??? :>) It's a WONDERFUL cycle:>)
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        Jul 3 2011: Colleen............I have also worked in prison parole unit where prisoners are prepared for release. It was my job to transcribe the life histories of the parolees. It would break your heart to see how someone's life can go wrong. One thing these people had in common was a very low IQ. They, almost to a man listed some sort of religious affiliation. There were no atheists there according to their histories. And they did not start their life of crime (at least most of them) as adults. We were escorted into the officers mess hall by the officers.As we went by the prisoners you could just feel the anger. It was palpable. I really did not expect them to stay out of trouble. The recidivism rate was high.
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          Jul 3 2011: I agree Helen!
          It is very sad to know the paths some people have traveled in their life. We are starting to realize more about what victims need and are providing more assistance for them at this point. Society still percieves the offenders as "bad guys", and many have given up on any change for them. I see them as people who, because of their life experiences, have learned some behaviors that are not usefull to themselves OR society. I found some of the same commonalities you mention, and I always questioned the low IQ, because some of the guys were VERY intelligent, but the information they were using was often misdirected. They know quite well how to use the dysfunctional societal systems for example, because they've grown up with it as part of their daily lives. They know how to survive on the streets. If we could direct that intelligence to a more usefull purpose, it might be helpful.

          Another thing I noticed in working with offenders and victims in several agencies, is that we are seeing many of the same families falling through the cracks over and over again. It is a cycle that needs to be broken, or we are going to continue seeing wounded people in our world, and you are so right...the recidivism rate is very high. I also felt the anger (fear) when dealing with both victims and offenders.
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      Jul 2 2011: Helen, the proponents of radical beliefs that espouse violence are usually extremists that believe they are put in the corner and have no other recourse but desctruction. I think all our great cultures does not have extremism as the core essence of their beliefs that's why we all play an important role in avoiding extremism by expounding the great power of our beliefs to care for one another.

      We have to let everybody realize that there is unity in our beliefs and a universal worldview that we can find meaning and relevance and do it concretely by transforming our world into a just and sustainable global home.

      I like the analogy that I gathered in another conversation:

      There is this one great river that we are all traversing. Sometimes we think we're the only one rightly traveling in this great river as we seem to be comfortably riding our boat, but when we rise up and look around this river, there are other boats journeying. This great river is the fundamental unity of our beliefs, cultures and convictions.
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    Jul 1 2011: Why wait? Let's build the bridges with respect, acceptance and love for each other. We are more the same than different, and when we recognize the underlying unity, and our interconnections, we can grow, learn and evolve with each other.

    I LOVE it Thomas..."be nice to each other regardless of what we believe":>)
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    Jul 1 2011: QUOTE: "Is there a way to see an underlying unity of our beliefs and convictions and agree on our mutual interests in order to transform our world in to an equitable and sustainable global home?"

    Sure. Neurobiology and neuropsychology go a long way in explaining the underlying unity of all beliefs (and every other kind of thought too.)

    The challenge is that many existing beliefs (that are continuously passed on to succeeding generations) make an "underlying unity" unpalatable to people who derive a sense of self from the content of their beliefs. We identify as, say, Christian, and we are qualitatively different from "them." If all beliefs are shown to be more or less the same in terms of their underlying mechanism (our wetware), that doesn't make being "something" rather than "another thing" very special.

    I think we should just be nice to each other regardless of what we believe.
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      Jul 1 2011: Thanks Thomas, I've been wanting to assimilate all the scientific knowledge and scientific basis of our unity and I believe many of our non-theists scientists friends know and can share this.

      Yes I agree, some people get their "sense of self from the content of their beliefs" and when we respect them and lead them to translate and contribute the power of their beliefs to work for our mutual interests then we can indeed transform our world.
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    Jul 1 2011: Lets build a bridge from your world to ours!!!!!!
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      Jul 7 2011: this, as i would love to walk to an island!
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    Jul 1 2011: great calling.
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    Jul 24 2011: Maybe I have misunderstood what you mean by cultures, but cultures are not controllable entities that you can sway or mould. And by cultures I suppose you are just talking about ordinary people?
    Making ordinary people aware is of course good, but it is far from being the answer. For the majority of people, they are far too preoccupied with the important issues in their own lives to give enough time to anything else. Media is also the only real way of getting information to the people, but the media write about what the people will listen to (or, more importantly maybe, buy). And even when people take in information and DO care, what can they really do?
    These issues require groups of professionals and intellectuals, like Bjorn Lomborg's economists, to do serious work on the problems and the problems surrounding them. Meticulous work. I agree with the idea of 'prioritising': why spend a lot of money doing a little bit of good, when you could do a lot more good spending much less money?
    I think we should realise that we only have so many resources and so only much money, and governments/organisations are only so willing to put so much into a project (especially when the odds of that project being truly successful are unknown). If it is more certain that some problems can be fixed than others, is it not a good idea to actually fix them? Why throw money at everything at the same time and get nowhere? I am not saying that important things should be neglected, but maybe it is best to focus on something, move that towards becoming solved, and work down the list? You can't solve everything at once, and if you try, you won't get too far very quickly.

    And in my personal opinion; I'm glad that humanitarian issues were at the top of the list in Bjon Lomborg's presentation. But it is so sad that even though these issues are the 'cheapest and easiest' to rectify, they are still in such dire straits.
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      Jul 25 2011: Adam, my proposition is we transform our world in all fronts with our solution strategies.

      I define culture as belief systems, religions, or non-theist convictions or principles. The theist and natural belief systems are organized, therefore there is a way to expound, translate and contribute the essential elements and power of the belief systems to transform our world. I would see a great opportunity for non-theist convictions to simply translate their identity and mission into a universal worldview as they seem to be very knowledgeable about how our world works.

      When we view our personal and global problems from our ordinary lives, I see great promise also in our personal contributions with the media information campaign that you noted, highlighting solutions 4 and 5 of our solution strategies. The irony too of course is the government which is the voice of the people, should invest in massive information campaign to push these strategies and it doesn't seem to be happening.

      Bjorn Lomborg's efforts would be part of the leadership to push of our solutions and I greatly admire him for this. There are also efforts of the WEF (world economic forum), our governments and NGOs but we don't seem to be making huge progress. Recently the UN and key nations are at a stalemate about our efforts to avert the devastating effects of climate change.

      If businesses and corporations can progress fast and globally, why not our global effort to transform our world into an equitable and sustainable global home?

      The UN can push our solution strategies, together with key nations of course. Our scientific knowledge today is enough to take care of everybody but the power of our hearts to care seems lacking and I say it does not have to be. We have the power to transform our world.
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        Jul 25 2011: Personally, I have some specific disagreements/points I am sceptical about.

        1) I think that these belief systems, especially if we look at them as memes, are not interested in anything until any threat towards them are imminent , and therefore we cannot rely upon them for change.
        2) I'm not too sure what you mean by 'simply translate their identity and mission into a universal worldview'. I don't see how anything about that could be simple?
        3) I'm not sure if I agree with a media information campaign. People who want to read about global issues usually do any way, and I think the few that would be drawn in through any type of campaign would be minimal, and therefore generally ineffective. I don't think people can ever REALLY view these problems in their ordinary lives either. To have a good and non-biased understanding (which will never be possible through the media as it is today) people would have to read so much to get a balanced idea of a situation. The ones that do may become passionate and sign some petitions, the ones that can't be bothered will continue with their lives, unchanged. I believe it would be a wasted effort.
        4) Businesses and corporations progress because they are concerned with capital. 'Transform[ing] our world into an equitable and sustainable global home' is not only a mammoth task, and much more complicated that making profit, that is what it is exactly not. There is no return for any one, except in the (what I'm sure businesses believe to be) the unforeseeable future.

        The organisations with the money have the power, and the people with the incredible ideas, the people who have made it their jobs to think about these things, need to keep going, and to the put pressure on organisations like the UN.
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          Jul 25 2011: Dear Adam,
          If we think "we cannot rely on them", if we think it is "generally ineffective", if we think it "will never be possible, or people "can't be bothered", or it's a "wasted effort", "no return for anyone"..."it cannot happen", that is the reality we create in our own lives.

          You said it best in your last statement..."...the people with the incredible ideas...need to keep going...". When changing something, it is important for each individual to be the change s/he wants to see.

          There's a quote I really love in "Science of Mind" by Ernest Holmes:
          "One of the great difficulties in the new order of thought is that we are likely to indulge in too much theory and too little practice".
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        Jul 25 2011: Dear Colleen,
        I'm afraid you may have missed my point on some things.
        The quote "we cannot rely on them" was part of another point in which I was talking about belief systems. Belief systems are not simple entities that can be changed or affected easily. They are not a series of tabloid newspapers. They are not the vehicles for spreading information.
        In fact, all of the things you have quoted have been removed from their context, and therefore come across as very negative. I'm going to inject a bit of sarcasm here and say 'thank you very much'.

        I agree, it is important to stand for what you believe in and to be 'part of the change' that you wish for, but we need to keep rational. The truth is the power is in the money and the organisations who have it; the media in particular have made us believe (not necessarily intentionally, please understand) that we as consumers can resolve the global problems. We can help a little, but it is not our responsibility (although I do not disagree with feeling partly responsible). Those with the power to change things need to do so.

        And so, to go along with your quote; practice is needed, but put it in the right places. A scientist will think carefully about what he is trying to do or prove before testing. Random experimentation is not the way to solve specific problems. And the same goes for the global issues. Think what will be most effective. If people really want to change things they need to, somehow, put pressure on these organisations; not just make sure they separate the plastics from the paper.
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          Jul 25 2011: Hi Adam,
          I don't feel that I missed your point, nor did I remove your words from context. MY point, is that when we use those words, we create our reality. I wholeheartedly agree with your statements that "the people with the incredible ideas, need to keep going", and "those with the power to change things need to do so". I "think about what will be most effective" all the time Adam, which is why I encourage words that motivate all of us. I believe that seperating "the plastics from the paper" is an excellent start for some people, and those of us who can go beyond that stage and address the issue in another way will do so. We all need to be a part of the change in whatever way is possible and rational to us as individuals:>)
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        Jul 25 2011: Unfortunately I was not just talking about individual beliefs, for the most part, mainly about things that will spark actual and imminent change. However, if you want to move the conversation to personal contribution and positivity, through actions and thoughts, then we can.

        I completely agree Colleen, separating the plastics from the paper is great for getting people to feel they're doing something to help, and therefore continuing the 'eco-soldier meme'. Whether separating the plastics from the paper is ACTUALLY good or not, I'm not sure. I have heard stories of the plastics just being shipped off to China and into land fill - so not only the same thing as regular trash, but also a larger carbon footprint (but I have seen no evidence to back this up).

        But yes, positive thinking is great, and we should all encourage and spread ideas that will truly help our planet. The more people believing in and caring about change, the more chance there is of it happening.
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          Jul 25 2011: I'm not "just talking about individual beliefs" either Adam, nor do I think/feel I am totally moving "the conversation to personal contribution". I do, however, think that personal contribution is a big part of the whole. The topic asks..."Will we wait for other people...before we can transform our world". In my perception, we are all part of the larger systems...political, environmental, religious, business, cultural, etc. We often look to those organizations to change things, and I believe we all need to take responsibility for the changes we want to see. So, in my perception, it is both a personal and global quest:>)As you insightfully say..." positive thinking is great...encourage and spread ideas that will truly help our planet...the more people believing in and caring about change, the more chance there is of it happening"......I LOVE that!!!
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        Jul 25 2011: Colleen, I thought you might :P

        Well, let's just hope enough people start becoming concious of the issues, and lets hope it sparks enough interest from people who can have a larger effect!
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          Jul 25 2011: Thank you Colleen and Adam for that great discussion! I could not have said it any better. :>)
  • Jul 4 2011: Even though there are many convictions and beliefs of people all over the world.The increase in the rate of climate change and its disasters depends on "WE" (People all over the world) and not on the respective religions or caste.You are saying that "What happens to rest of the world if we wait for the developed nations ???".I think this sentence refers as insisting the developing nations and underdeveloped nations.Developing nations are not meant only for developing the nation in terms of technology.As you said "Many in the world are having their own rules".I suggest this will not resist with the caste but also with the governments.The different governments are having different rules.Hence by their own rules they can be as a change to put the efforts in changing the environmental system of their nations.This will make a change in rest of the world.
    Explaining it in a simplified manner "For example if we consider India, as you said most of the population is confined to Hindu culture.If the Indian government implements the protective measures to save the environment, the other governments also implement their measures in protecting the environment.
    This will create an impact on the developed nations such that "The developing nations are contributing to environment and why can't we???".If you consider this change with respect to religion,If Muslims adopt a measure then automatically Hindus will and rest of them also contribute to it.Simply this issue can be solved by competition as we all know "The present generation represents the competitive world".Expecting your comments and suggestions......
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      Jul 4 2011: R Vishnu Prasad, Perhaps you are right we may solve our problems by competition and not cooperation and this seems to be the current direction right now considering that I don't seem to see a clear global leadership and cooperation. (

      The other direction that we would like to see is global collaboration because our problems' expanse is global and obviously not one nation can solve it alone and not one nation can stand alone.

      My hope is that we go beyond the comfort of our own solutions by clearly seeing our fundamental unity as one human race and ignite the great positive power that each culture can contribute to truly accelerate our transformations.
      • Jul 5 2011: I also have dreams of making the world unity.I am saying that the problem is not confined to one nation. A single nation could not solve the problem of this total world but they can contribute or make changes in their nation.If so then the competitive strategy brings everyone to solve the problem.Thus my view is competition bring out collaboration and unity in solving the problems.this process of uniting the human race as one rests with everyone of every nation in the world.I think the forth coming generations will be united as the word "unity" is supposed to know as a student and a citizen of the nation.I will also say that to unite every people the first step is nations must be united and their governments must also be united by following the same rules for every country.Expecting your suggestions and comments.....
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          Jul 5 2011: Great answer Mr. Prassad! Competition in our diversity as guaranteed by our freedom and unity in governance as demanded by our basic rights, reinforced by justice (security and accountability) and truth (transparency) made possible by our moral sence and information age.