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If you could teach the world 1 valuable thing you learned, what would it be and why?

The 1 valuable thing you learned could be anything, whether it is a skill, a lesson you learned, a quote you heard, or even the most simple things.

  • Aug 2 2011: Forgiveness... of ones self and of others... because perception is reality and bitterness can cloud the lens through which we see the world.
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    Aug 5 2011: At any given moment, we are coming from a place of love, or a place of fear. Love is healing, joyful, respectful, content, peaceful, and very powerful:>)
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      Aug 5 2011: and fear is?
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        Aug 5 2011: Fear is hate, stress, anger, disrespect, discontent, anxiety, insecurity, need to control others, violence, abuse......
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        Aug 5 2011: Muhammad,
        I am simply reminding you of what you already know in your heart:>)
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        Aug 6 2011: My pleasure Muhammad:>)
        You remind me of another valuable lesson I've learned on my life journey, and it is that we are all here to support each other with the life experience. We reflect back and forth to each other all the time...providing information...encouraging...respecting...loving. It is with the loving energy of others, added to my own energy, that I have been able to face challenges with love in my heart. So THANK YOU my friend:>)
    • Aug 16 2011: it is also overrated! :P

      P.S. i love to love
    • Aug 21 2011: Dear Colleen, BEST comment ever I read.

      I have no doubt that we come from a peaceful place. We come into being innocent and don’t go that way back.
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        Aug 29 2011: Thank you Shokrullah:>)
        I believe we CAN go that way back, if we live life mindfully, with awareness:>)
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    Aug 2 2011: Asking question.............
    Becasue it opens up the opportunity of endless learning, bringing innovation , breaking status quo etc etc
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      Aug 4 2011: So much insight in this one!
    • Aug 5 2011: That's the one lesson I've been taught in my life that has so far been the most valuable to me and that I expect to turn out to be the most important thing I learned in life.

      If you don't know something, ask!
      If you can't comprehend an opinion, decision, system or tradition, question!
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        Aug 5 2011: Absolutely. Everyone once had it as kid, then slowly loses it in the process of growing up to adulthood so need to relearn, as I feel it very important.
        • Aug 7 2011: I think you are right with this; In addition to that, it is important, that people learn that asking a question is not "bad" and you are not "dumb" because you didn't know this or that ... I mean, you are asking because you want to know it, didn't you ?
    • Aug 8 2011: Well said Salim, the answer lies in asking.
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    Aug 5 2011: That Love, is the greatest thing in the World. Why ? Love transforms, Love elevates,
    Love protects, Love saves, Love can change the worst of men/women and make them the best
    of men/woman. Love is the answer to all questions. Love is the answer to all problems.
    Love is all powerful. Nothing can withstand Love. Love is Peace, Love is Joy. Love is our
    reason for living. Love is our life. There is Nothing greater than LOVE !!! In reality, there
    is nothing but Love. If it is not Love, it is not real. LOVE is absolute. God is LOVE.
    • Aug 5 2011: "Love is a many splendor thing".
      "Where there is love there is life".
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      Aug 5 2011: Love is passion, and passion is fickle. Be careful not to let love blind you. Love can be just as dangerous as hate or obsession when it burns hot enough.

      Not to say love isn't good, but be ever watchful of your emotions lest they control you.
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        Aug 5 2011: 1. Love is relative

        2. Everything in moderation.

        3. Never let others be responsible for your own emotions, people change their minds (about who or what they love) every second and that is their birth given right.
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        Aug 5 2011: Unconditional love is very clear. It is our expectations that blind us at times:>)

        When we have certain expectations of others, we may become obsessed with getting our expectations met, and get lost in our own "passion", or "obsession". When we let go of our need to control others with our expectations, we are free of any control of each others emotions:>)
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          Aug 5 2011: Yeah, and therein lies the beauty of giving without expecting anything in return :-)) The beauty/reward is the inherent gift of loving without putting conditions to the person receiving the love
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          Aug 5 2011: Thank you Colleen that was insightful :).

          I won't deny that love at it's finest is perhaps the greatest thing in the world, but it's important for people to know the difference between love and the other passions*.
          Zanele, moderation is the key to most everything :). And Emotions are paradoxical able to draw out opposite reactions in a person, and Passions are powerful because they heat everything up making what you feel more intense.

          I think we are all saying very similar things but the point I'm trying to make is that love unchecked (not as a movement that's fine, but the personal part of the emotion) can turn into something else quickly. I suppose I'm really just drawing back to moderation, but then perhaps moderation is the first lesson a person should be taught.

          * I currently define the three primary forms of passion as Love, Hate and Obsession. Obsession is the latest of the three, but I feel it has deserves it's place separate fro love and hate. Though I think I'll start a new discussion on just that.
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        Aug 5 2011: Tyler,
        It feels like you may be speaking only of romantic love...love between two people? Most of the people who wrote about love on this thread, myself included, seem to be talking about love in a broader sense. However we talk about it is GREAT...I would just like to be clear, and I'm confused by your comment.

        While I respect how you "currently define the passions", it is often defined as "a strong liking for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept...enthusiasm, zeal, intense emotion compelling action". We can be passionate about anything...kindness...gardens...sports...art...life...etc. etc. The possibilities for passion are endless. We can also love all of our passions.
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          Aug 6 2011: I can't seem to get my idea across, I I'll continue to work on articulating it, but what I was try to say has been almost entirely missed but that's my fault.
      • Aug 6 2011: Conditional & selfish love is dangerous but
        unconditional & unselfish love is harmless. :)
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        Aug 8 2011: @ Tyler Davis, agree with you on moderation...totally everything in moderation! and I do get most of what you are saying
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    Aug 13 2011: Stop regretting the past, dont obsess about the future, concentrate on and enjoy the present.
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      Aug 13 2011: really true Joseph Tagliente..... this is also also the saying of great Indian diplomat "chanakya" the person whos always an inspiraton for me..
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      Aug 13 2011: The past is gone by,
      the future is not yet a reality.
      The present moment is the only reality.
    • Aug 14 2011: This idea is the basic essence of life. We all end up wasting so much of our precious time in worrying about the future and regretting about the past that we are either in the past or future and waste the present. If we can all learn to be in the present, life would indeed be wonderful and we would become highly effective in what ever we do. This is also the key to happiness.
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      Aug 14 2011: Forget the past.
      Be in the present.
      Believe in the future.
      Live for the ages to come. :)
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    Aug 11 2011: To laugh often and love much:
    To win respect of intelligent people
    And the affection of children;
    To earn the approbation of honest critics
    And endure the betrayal of false friends;
    To appreciate beauty;
    To find the best in others;
    To give one's self;
    To leave the world a little better,
    Whether by a healthy child,
    A garden patch,
    Or redeemed social condition;
    To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
    And sung with exultation;
    To know even one life has breathed easier
    Because you have lived...
    This is to have succeeded.
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson
    • Aug 11 2011: Jack
      Thanks for a wonderful quote, with some wonderful things to be.
  • Aug 9 2011: ignorance is NOT bliss....
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    Aug 2 2011: When I bought my first car at 17, my grandmother taught me to read the contract from back to front. I've done that ever since - on everything I sign - and it has saved me in many ways.
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      Aug 2 2011: Wow ! That's smart!
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      Aug 3 2011: Not sure I get this. Is it important to read all of a contract, or to actually read it from back to front?

      I usually find the important stuff is at the beginning. ;-)
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        Aug 4 2011: Alistar - Exactly. All of the "good stuff" is in large type, easy to read, usually what you asked for. It's only when you get to the end do you find the only way the policy is going to cover you is if you get hit by a stray meteor during a full moon on a Tuesday. :))
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      Aug 4 2011: Dawn, your grandmother was a frigging genius. never hear this before. Will never read a contract any other way now. Thank you!
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    Aug 13 2011: Do not be so deluded as to imagine that other people are responsible for your emotional well-being.

    This means people/things can't *make* you happy; only you can. Nothing makes you sad; you decide to do that. Sadness and anger may be appropriate, just realize that it is your choice to feel that way. And you can change your choices.
    • Aug 14 2011: hear,hear........but agreeing and practicing....are far apart in my experience
    • Aug 17 2011: I couldn't agree with you more. We have the power of deciding how we want to feel, I did not understand that till know. I had someone tell me that once and could not comprehend what it meant becuase I was so in my head. Thanks
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    Aug 29 2011: "When you are busy judging someone,
    you have no time to love them."
    ~ Mother Teresa.
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    I would tell people that if world as we know it, would be powered by Islam system, everything would be different. There wouldn't be wars, bad politics, conspiracy etc.
    • Aug 7 2011: There is no single answer that is universally the "best". The universe is shaped through opposing forces like the magnetic fields created by the north and south poles together they form a protective blanket. The world needs balance between these opposing forces in order for these vital systems to work effectively. Remove or focus too much energy at one end and the system collapses. This phenomena is also used to wire our brains in the sense that its two hemispheres are like the ends of a magnet (logic and intuition) or as I like to call them structure and chaos but because neither is inherently positive or negative structurally they remain in a constant state of flux pulling toward and pushing away from each other much like the dance of two passionate lovers. To make anything that is entirely one sided is unwise and I doubt even possible. The world needs conflict in order to grow and evolve. I believe by mirroring biological systems use of genes both dominant and recessive (don't forget the mutations they are very important as well) we can synthesize governmental and societal systems that pull from human knowledge more holistically and would represent all of the people and truly be for the people.
      • Aug 9 2011: Very well articulated Nitesh!
        • Aug 10 2011: Thank you and may we all find mutual ground on which to stand united and together build a future that is both beautiful and abundant.
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      Aug 7 2011: it is good that you threw in so much arguments, and not just baseless claims.
    • Aug 7 2011: blue bubble......................for lack of a better word you exhibit the traits of naivette and are the most naive person this side of heaven.Can i name you the most volatile regions of the world with the highest number of muslim adherents?1.Somalia2.Indonesia3.Vietnam4.Nigeria5.Palestine6.The greater russia7.Libya8.Egypt9.Syria10.Iraq11.Afghanistan12.Iranneed i go on??the problem is not the religion but the the paradigm of the peopleSkylar you have it nailed
      • Aug 7 2011: Thank you for the affirmation, but why poke a hornets nest? A little harsh maybe, but then again I have no place to judge because I used to be a bullies bully (the guy who pushes back in the defense of others as well as himself) and still am sometimes. Yep, I am just as flawed as the next guy, but have found overtime that it is important to befriend potential enemies whenever possible. Vocabulary can be a powerful tool and may be used to bring people closer together or deepen and widen the divisions between them. Thank you again and the best of luck in your journey.
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      Aug 8 2011: The day all people learnt to respect others,started feeling about them and be concerned about a gift called "life", we will need no religious guidelines and moreover, the crux of every religious story is same, then why to go for complex and complicated stories? Are they serving any mental food for progress? These stories are making particular sections of some socities more adamant and stubborn to accept path of peace and love. I would urge everybody to spread only small messages and not the stories to drive positive growth in budding mentals cells of young generation and save them from becoming fanatics. ~Spread love, Not religion~
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      Aug 8 2011: Never knew before that Islam was a system. Thoug though it was an appeal to love one another. Have you heard of the Qur’an?
    • Aug 11 2011: I AM THE BEST SYSTEM OF LIFE

      I would tell people that if world as we know it, would be powered by ME, everything would be different. There wouldn't be wars, bad politics, conspiracy etc.

      It would also be terribly montone.
    • Sep 1 2011: The same could be said for any other religion, or belief system... if we all though the same way, we'd never fight... or learn... thankfully we don't all think the same way
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    Aug 2 2011: That we have the power to bring more happiness to our personal world and to the world of our fellow earth citizens.
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      Aug 4 2011: Joe, You are another one who practices what he preaches! Thanks for practicing this here on TED.
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        Aug 5 2011: Thank you Debra. It's my journey and struggle online or in land to aim for our ideals. Thank you too for your "motherly" care for TED and our fellow Tedsters. :>)
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    Aug 2 2011: Even impossible has the word Possible.
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    Aug 27 2011: To Change the Language from "Struggle" to "Grapple".
    To Choose to "Grow out" Instead of " Squeeze Out"
    To Decide "How " you are going to leave your world and your Children - Not WHAT
    Communicate your "Stand" and not where you are "Standing"
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    Aug 18 2011: "We see the world not as it is, but as we are." - Internet Talmud or Anais Nin

    And a similar idea -

    "People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    And another similar idea:
    "We shall not cease from exploration; And the end of all our exploring, Will be to arrive at where we started; And know the place for the first time." - T.S. Eliot.

    If people read those quotes repeatedly and actually understood and internalized them, many unconscious discussions, political and otherwise, would be infused with additional self-awareness for all the parties involved.

    Or so I like to imagine :P
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      Aug 29 2011: Good quotes Bill,
      We really DO reveal our true character to ourselves and others with our perceptions of the world. We see what we want to see, and project what we choose to project. I believe that if we are truly living life to the fullest, we are constantly exploring new and different information, and if people read these quotes repeatedly, actually understood and internalized them, many unconscious discussions would be infused with self-awareness, respect, kindness, compassion, and love for all parties:>) It is possible:>)
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    Aug 18 2011: “Do all the good you can,
    By all the means you can,
    In all the ways you can,
    In all the places you can,
    At all the times you can,
    To all the people you can,
    As long as ever you can.”
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    Aug 9 2011: THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS! Choose your thoughts carefully, they shape your life!
    • Aug 10 2011: I have had this debate with many over the years and agree that indeed the power of a thought unspoken or otherwise is highly underrated for they lead to other thoughts and eventually action. Thank you for your insight.
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        Aug 10 2011: Interesting to hear that it's a debate.

        Wasn't the table an idea? The wheel? The computer? Society?

        • Aug 10 2011: It may be obvious to us, but you might be surprised how many people believe thought and action to be separate and deny the accumulative effects of positive and negative thought patterns. I blame this on the Newtonian paradigm that I was taught in school and is taught still I am sure in classrooms around the world. Granted it is an outdated concept much like the earth being flat, but there are many who still cling to the idea that the universe is made of tiny little solid particles like legos and perceive everything to be separate from everything else. This traps them in a world of absolutes instead of possibilities. It is one of my many desires that one day the law of contradiction be either revised or deleted from every textbook on the planet replaced or accompanied by paradox and the connection of all things through networks and systems.
        • Aug 10 2011: Hear hear Skylar. Great insight.
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        Aug 10 2011: I'm both surprised and unsurprised, but I do think it's incredible how much people take creation for granted. It's not like our species arrived on a planet with cities intact and cars just waiting to be driven around, yet still we debate on whether the things with think of "truly" effect our lives.


        And of your textbook wish, I don't doubt you'll see that done within the next 50 years...if we give ourselves that much time on Earth!
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    Aug 9 2011: Take time to understand, never judge.
    • Aug 10 2011: Absolutely if time and circumstances allows but some judgments need to be made with haste and in these situations listen to your intuition it can save your life as it has mine on numerous occasions.
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    Aug 5 2011: you dont have to figure out who is right and who is wrong to be able to generate a solution.
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        Aug 5 2011: :-D Hi Birdia , i learn this from my own communication with one of my friend. We at many times try to solve a "problem" by starting with "i think you are..." which is very frustrating and later after conversations we realise what we were talking about is nothing but figuring out right and wrong (probably in somewhere of the head says: if we are clear of this ,then the wrong side need to apologise , then problem solved! ) but when you start with that , things get more complicated when it dosent have to. so we tried put all these aside and then askwhat you want me to do next time.and it made a difference.
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    Aug 4 2011: I've learned the lists I've created, over a lifetime, of what I think I want is often not what I need.
    I'm not referring to basic human needs. We are such complex beings with linear streams of thought, fed by media, peer pressure and social structures, that thinks it knows what it wants. Truth is, if we allow the road to bend in directions we did not plot, or walk the paths that appear at our feet but seem to be going in the wrong direction, we will often discover the adventure is far greater, and the lessons exponentially larger. Those roads have often led me to much more magical and fantastic places or people than my most creative visioning list ever could have.
    • Aug 5 2011: I agree Linda. Launching out on new roads, in new directions is hard, but very worth the trip.
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    Aug 4 2011: It ain't over 'til its over!
    Do not give up. No matter what it looks like now, give it a few minutes and the weather changes- even if its only the weather (the set of ideas) in your own head.
  • Aug 3 2011: - Do your best everyday to become "imperfectly perfect" by learning from your mistakes.
    - Always remember to smile even on a "bad" day for someone may be having a worst day than you and your smile can make their day a little bit better. ;-)
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    Aug 3 2011: if you are sure you are right, but you have no hard evidence, quite often you are actually wrong.
    • Aug 3 2011: Forgive my rudeness, if I may add to your sentence: if you are sure you are right, but you have no hard evidence [and you are intuitively so confident that you do not look for it], quite often you are actually wrong.

      P/s: Thank you Timothy Craig, I like how you relate to my response, and how you can put in words what I haven't been able to: fallacy as a matter of personal decision.
    • Aug 3 2011: Came to share something similar: I have learned to value being wrong as it means I no long have the consequences of my self deception. To Simon's point, being wrong is frequently our own choice, though we don't recognize it as such until after the fact, opting rather for denial, justification, etc... to maintain a false sense of pride.

      Unfortunately, actively choosing to be wrong seems to be increasing in our culture. Value truth, even if it proves yourself wrong.
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    Aug 3 2011: Never give up because opportunities are everywhere.And believe me, they are all golden!
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    Aug 3 2011: To be truly open to new experiences and new points of view.
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    Aug 2 2011: There is no such thing as "I can't dance" and "I can't sing"
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      Aug 3 2011: "Only thing about me is the way I walk..."
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      Aug 6 2011: While I consider myself to be quite brave in most things -even singing- dancing has me utterly self conscious. I like your can do attitude on this and I'll try to implement it next opportunity!
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    Aug 2 2011: Sharing is better than giving.
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      Aug 4 2011: Sharing takes a relationship and so much more is given in that circumstance. Thanks Erol!
  • Sep 1 2011: Always answer with "yes, and" rather than "no, but", which is the natural way we respond. This allows to build on something that the other person has said, rather than be judgmental or confrontational. This is a simple but effective technique taught in improv and helps greatly in building relationships and relating to people instead of controlling.
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    Aug 13 2011: If something bothers you in life, change it instead of constantly complaining about it. But before you do, make sure you understand why it is functioning the way it is. Then, spend time focusing on how you can make it better.
  • Aug 11 2011: I would teach the world the importance of the three "C"s; Common sense, Compassion and Credibility.

    Common sense is the ability to understand that for every action there is a reaction, and with a little insight and intelligence, it is relatively easy to predict with a certain amount of reliability what that reaction will be. It is too bad that Common sense has become almost extinct in modern society.

    Compassion is understanding and accepting another being's circumstance or feelings, and to me includes empathy and sympathy. If you are Compassionate it is impossible to hate someone because of physical differences, different beliefs or different backgrounds. In this world of riots, wars, racial and religious discrimination it is painfully obvious that Compassion is severely lack ing also.

    Crediblility is "saying what you mean and meaning what you say", and if you profess to have beliefs that you live according to those beliefs. All you have to do is listen to any politician or religious pundit to see that Credibility is nonexistant in the modern world.

    With these three concepts we would be able to honestly communicate with each other as equals, without prejudices getting in the way. Governments would be caring about the disadvantaged and marginal part of the population as well the rich and powerful. Maybe even business would understand that without a sufficient standard of living there is no one to purchase their goods and we could stop the race to the bottom we are in now. What we need is for people to stop trying to do the same things over and over and expecting different results. There are alternatives, other ways that have never been tried.

    What we have tried isn't working and has never worked.