Corvida Raven

Community Catalyst, TED Conferences


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What is the single most important question that the youth of this era need to ask themselves?

The youth of today are growing up in a completely different world from their parents and grandparents. With all the technology, media, and economic problems of today, it makes me wonder about the questions that the youth should ask themselves.

What do you think is the single most important question that the youth need to ask themselves? What was a question you wish you would've asked your younger self?

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    Sep 13 2011: I believe that youth need to ask about the value of systems that define our reality. We assume that educational, economic and political systems are "the way things are" and no one seems to ask "Based on current understanding, what's the best way to do this?"
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    Sep 11 2011: I'm a teenager, and if there's one question that's important to me, it's "Why?"

    I think it's crucial to have that sense of healthy skepticism to question why the world is the way it is.
    I also think if this world is open enough for me to dare ask the question "Why?" to the given information or the established "norms", it's a world where we can hope and create a better future.
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    Sep 9 2011: "Why?"

    This question made me who I am today.
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    Sep 6 2011: the difference between freedom and self indulgence.
  • Sep 11 2011: "How can I help?" If we all adopted this outlook and helped each other we would be in a much better place
  • Sep 11 2011: I would say, How can i make the world a better place through the job(s) i will choose?
  • Sep 11 2011: "What kind of man do I want to strive to become, and what do I do to become that" Although we ask our self different questions at different points in our lives, so its a tricky question this topic is....
  • Sep 11 2011: The same as adults. What is my purpose and how do I achieve it.You may or may not need formal education to pursue your purpose. It may change, evolve, become achieved and need to be replaced. Not everyone's purpose is to change the world. I make things better where I can. The small things around me that people aren't noticing. I seek them and serve to fulfill them. I know that I have impacted others who have gone on to impact others. The ripple effect may create more good than I can ever know. Every great achievement can be traced down to small ones. Each step along the way someone served a purpose. Many others may find what appears to be a grander purpose. Someone's purpose may be to teach them how to achieve it.
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    Sep 9 2011: My idea is that they should ask themselves.....what is my purpose?

    I believe thousands and thousands of people wake up everyday and simply go with the flow. And by flow, I mean operating within whats around them in their everyday lives. Young students usually don't find out who they are, and what their purpose is they work like robots in school. They never learn to think for themselves with the traditional methods of waking up, listen to the teacher, do homework. It gives off a feeling of having a job, instead of a system that's supposed to help you discover your purpose. This is major problem in the U.S. We end up with young adults making a life time decision in the course of their senior year winter-summer.....some spring-summer...some just summer...some in a matter of weeks. Then they end up not happy with the majors and careers they picked. All because they aren't tuned into their inner purpose, and are just going with the flow.
  • Sep 9 2011: What is the deepest and most precious gift that I have that I can share with the world?
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      Sep 9 2011: Right on Philip - Sharing is the key
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    Sep 7 2011: My suggestion is: How can we do better than the generations before us did?
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      Sep 7 2011: My answers:
      - Solve the obstruction of ideological divides. (i.e., learn to understand one another and reach agreements -- not necessarily compromises. Or, at least find a solution to working around those divides.)
      - Learn from our mistakes, and take advantage of them.
      - Unite, and progress. It's really all we can do!

      - Use all non-destructive energy. No more gas.
      - Develop an effective public education.
      - Examine the ridiculous economic inequality.
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        Sep 8 2011: Hi Luke, yes, these are some of the answers but the answers are easy on paper. How can this next generation (upon which all of our hopes are pinned) actually implement them? Everyone in every generation might think that they know the answers but putting them into effect is the thing that has stymied us.
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          Sep 8 2011: Plainly put, enter politics as a movement. That's one way ideologies enter politics. (As this is really another ideology, that just takes into consideration the effects of ideological division.)

          Maybe have a candidate run for president on a platform of solving ideological divides, learning from past mistakes, and progressing. Probably won't get into office, but this is how a lot of issues have been brought to the national stage in the past.

          For the more specific issues, I believe solutions will inevitably happen, as society naturally progresses (and I see solving these as progress); we're just moving at an alarmingly slow, and dangerous rate, which is affecting millions of lives.
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      Sep 8 2011: In a nutshell- learn from their mistakes! (easier said then done, I know, but it needs to be said)
    • Sep 9 2011: what is 'better'?

      as an example, many people who object to the pollution caused by cars suggest things were better before the car existed, but remain ignorant of the stench and rampant disease caused by all the horse dung in the street. and that was when he had far fewer people to transport around.
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      Sep 9 2011: Focus on how we are the same and evolve to prize the differences instaed of fearing and ultimately destroying them.
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    Sep 7 2011: Will I lose this idealism when I grow older? (s c a r y )
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    Sep 7 2011: "Which dreams can I make real?"
  • Sep 6 2011: What limits will i put on my life?

    That's the question :D
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      Sep 6 2011: Or, who puts limits on my life? This will inevitably lead to your question.
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      Sep 6 2011: Great question Fadi!

      Luke, you're also right, that could lead to Fadi's original question. Both are very valid! You need to know the limits others are putting on you as well as how you're getting in your own way too.
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    Sep 6 2011: This is the question I believe to be most significant to individuals in my generation:

    What is important? -- There's so much raw data being thrown at me, I'm starting to drift away from texting and social media, because it's so much information, on top of the thousands of advertisements I've learned to block from my perception every day. While I don't expect all people of my generation to see why this question is important, it's crucial that they experience asking it. It is relieving to know that it's theoretically possible to be content without the need to imbibe more information.

    There's an overload of data, and I think we may well see some movements grow out of this. Maybe it's just me, but I feel overwhelmed by the prodigious quantity of things nagging at me. Asking this question forces one to evaluate and filter the data penetrating his or her life.
    • Sep 6 2011: A young mind can be easily confused and deceived with loads of information thrown at her.
      I think you've got it, answer to this question can save many and lead them to good life
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      Sep 6 2011: Oh Luke, I'm enjoying your responses in this topic.

      If I may ask, Luke how do you go about deciding what's important on a daily basis with all that media?
  • Sep 6 2011: Who am I?
    In all this media noise it's quite easy to loose yourself and become one of the crowd. Sefldefining is the first step to get to know the world, it builds confidence and clears up mind. I think its that. Who am I?
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      Sep 6 2011: I think this is a question everyone ends up asking-- not specific to our generation. However, I think the media we have today multiplies the importance of it. The media has become overpowering in that it effectively touches and influences the lives of every youth in our society.
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        Sep 6 2011: Great question roman, & good point Luke!

        The media has made a lot of these questions seem more important and urgent for today's youth to answer. Why is that?
        • Sep 6 2011: Youth are more vulnerable to bad influences of unfiltered information. And theres more of it these days. The selves are diluted in it.
          We're much of what people makes us. In our parents/grandparents world most of the environment was family, home and neighborhood and now theres this Globalization thing.
          I'm sorry I can't find words for my thoughts, as I'm in the middle of learning English, actually.
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          Sep 6 2011: Media can influence a child's ideas of what matters; for example, a shoe company can convince a child that its shoes will make him (or her) freakin' cool. This idea can seed a very materialistic lifestyle. In reality, it's hundreds of companies doing this meddling-- amid fragile child development.

          Another example is the similar effects of reality television on youth my age. It exposes its viewers to an alluring pseudo-reality and influences the behavior of youth.

          In effect, media (the media, social-media, television, advertisement) deeply affects the identity of children and youth. Because of this, it is crucial that the youth today determine what is important to themselves and understand who they are, not who they're molded into being.
        • Sep 6 2011: Luke I see we think alike. I meant the same thing just you put it in better words.
          Now the question is what comes first, defining yourself or filtering out bad influences so that they don't harm you affecting your self?
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          Sep 6 2011: I also agree that the media is a huge problem for the young. I think what needs to be realised is that the problems they see broadcasted to them have always been there...always and not only have we survived but flourished. It now seems more condensed by the media, covering stories from every corner of the world and sensationalizing it. I am suggesting building emotional resilience in the face of the negative media monster. I grew up not having the problems of the world on my shoulders. Todays young have to deal with violence both local and global and are even pressured to take responsibility for the environment and future of this planet. I feel it is unaceptable emotional pressures placed on growing impressionable minds before they have developed the managing mechanisms of maturity.

          To the parents of young children: in my opinion get them away from the tv and media. Let them enjoy thier young precious years of chidhood, let them dream and play in the dirt. Help them to have playful adventures and most of all teach them love and therefore respect. Dont enable/empower them to deal with adult concepts...after all, thats what adults are for. It is our job and we must not shirk from it by misdirecting the responsibility. We owe at least that much to our children.
  • Sep 12 2011: Youth need to ask themselves "if they have the courage to live the life that they want?" In today's society love has come to mean to suffer. A lot of youth tend to make decisions in life based on what their parents want because they love them even though that decision is NOT what they want. If youth have the courage to follow their interest despite disappointing their parents, they are much more likely to be successful in their careers and actually make a difference in the lives of the people around them.
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    Sep 12 2011: Am i passionate and courage enough to face the challeges of the modern world ?How is my thinking going to influence me and my community?
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    Sep 11 2011: Wanting to fix a problem inherently changes your level of consciousness.
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    Sep 11 2011: 'The single most important question' is a tricky question. Personally, I think that anything important requires more than 'single question'. It is simply because we ought to know whether we are asking the right question for the right matter.

    Anyway, we should be asking ourself two most important question which is 1st - 'what do we want?" and 2nd - 'what choice do we have?'

    These two probably the most important questions that not only the youth but the adult should be asking themselves and the rest is only the detail.
  • Sep 11 2011: Personally I think that it's not always important to "be happy" but to be able to recognize and deal with different moods in ourselves as well as others. Sometimes I just want to be left alone and sometimes I need to just leave others alone. If we can be cognisant and accepting of each other, I guess that will help us to navigate life and leave life on earth with peace in our souls. So if the youth can ask themselves "how can I create civility and peace in this world?", they'll be doing okay in my book.
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    Sep 10 2011: How can I fix what is broken?
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      jag .

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      Sep 10 2011: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Albert Einstein
  • Sep 10 2011: Who am I and are we? Where do I and we come from? Where am I and we going?
    What is this world? How should I live?
  • Sep 10 2011: How do I make things better than I found them?
  • Sep 10 2011: When you decide to do something, try to ask yourself :What kind of result will it cause?
  • Sep 10 2011: How are my actions affecting others, directly or indirectly? Positive or negative effects.
    Do I need help or support?
    Do I know who to go to ask for it?
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    Sep 10 2011: What is my talent...what do I love?
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    Sep 9 2011: What is my priority ?
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    Sep 9 2011: What is my contribution to mankind????
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    Sep 9 2011: the question i often hear when we debate outside of class is;
    "why can't they just leave us alone?"

    the second most often question i hear is, "should we care about what parents/society/adults think?" a lot of my friends have advocated that we just wash our hands of you and go to sit out the coming natural disasters due from global warming and just do our own thing. there seems to be a hell of a lot of resentment about the assumption that because we were born in this society, we belong to them and have to follow their rules.
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      Sep 9 2011: I see it as an issue that "youth" see it as an us and them thing. When did it stop being WE? and how do we bring it back to US.
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        Sep 11 2011: i would say a large majority of adults see it as an us and them type thing. "ur the ones with wars". you know?

        youth gotta see we are the ones with wars.
        only adults are the self-responsible ones.
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          Sep 12 2011: I also see it as an issue that adults see themsleves as apart from youth - afterall youth were adults 20 years earlier and adults will be seniotrs in 20 years.

          I don't know if adults or youth or seniors or babies OWN wars - I think wars are all ours, as we all live with the damage, the destruction and the division that they cause.

          If there was only WE and no US or THEM - would there still be wars???
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      Sep 9 2011: Why are these youths asked to bear the emotional burden of their parents? Are they mature enough to take on adult concepts? I feel you have not been clear in your post. An observation.
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        Sep 11 2011: i must congratulate you in your clarity- however it seems to me that you have not been clear with your first question, what do you mean by the 'emotional burden of their parents'?
        to the second question; yes, a large number of students are more than able to 'take on' adult concepts and have been since we were 14, although i would say a large majority of us are uninterested in asking such questions and care more about things like football.
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          Sep 11 2011: My appology Tom, you have answered my second question and indirectly my first. The thread question is asking about children when citing talks related to this topic. In your first post I thought you were discussing kids not young adults, in which case they are indeed old enough to deal with the emotional burdens that are associated with most adult concepts. Thank you.
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      Sep 9 2011: Tom...Unless there are some kind of rules (not mine lol) there is chaos.
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        Sep 11 2011: chaos has a bad implications in english, even though i would say it is the natural state of affairs.
        everyone has their own set of rules, or moral values and without a form of government people revert to these rules, which poses the question; "are people inherently good?" if they are we wouldn't need a government to set laws or to uphold them. if the answer is no, more likely, then it would revert to the strong take and the weak serve.
        anyways i wasn't implying anarchy i was simply stating that many of my friends think we shouldn't have to be confined to the country were born in if we don't agree with its government.
        some people just want to be left to their own devices and let others worry about politics and 'perceived threats' and money and things like that
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          Sep 11 2011: You have a point, Tom. I have to think this over. I'll have more to say.
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          Sep 12 2011: "Responsible freedom of self determination, becoming truly
          self-confident and free, to unconditionally be responsible for oneself,
          without being coerced to accept some higher authority."

          i like how this puts it. btw this is for tom
    • Sep 12 2011: when you (or your friends) say "we just wash our hands of you and go to sit out the coming natural disasters due from global warming" there is a problem in that the average temperature will go up 6 degrees C in the next 100 years and mankind can't keep living in that environment because wheat and other food plants won't grow! so, yes, us adults caused the problem but everyone who understands what's happening needs to get out there and educate sweetly (not arrogantly) that a low carbon economy NOW is v important and lets get on with it
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      Sep 12 2011: On the one hand, there is nothing you can do about the society you were born into, so it's not worth the effort revolting against this fact. On the other hand, I think they "why can't they just leave alone?" also should be heard. It is true that imposing an older generation's rules on the one that follows is only helpful to a certain degree: every generation grows up with its own tools and at its own speed and we should keep this in mind when we ask ourselves what "young people" should or should not do.
  • Sep 8 2011: how can i improve this?
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    Sep 8 2011: is the air i breathe clean, where does the water i drink comes from.
    asking the basic questions, and keep the attention on them, not dismissed like a file that you put in a folder somewhere.
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    jag .

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    Sep 7 2011: Where to find happiness?
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      Sep 7 2011: Personally, I don't see happiness as an objective. It's a product of what I do and who I am. If I'm unhappy, I ask what should I do or who should I be, which are two much weightier questions, I think. What should I do, being the most consequential.
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      Sep 9 2011: Inside you. Happines is a inner status, not a exterior thing. You can't "find" it in any place.
      • Sep 9 2011: That is such a cop-out, our inner status is completely dependent on the environment we interact with.
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          Sep 9 2011: Perhaps what you say is true for someone that's instable and unsecure. This often applies to teenagers but in general it is as Luigi stated: you can't find it outside yourself.
          Let me give an example. Long ago I wasn't happy with my work. One day I decided that as I did this work anyway I best try and do it the best I could. After a short while it gave me satisfaction and I realized that it didn't matter what you do but how you do it.
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          Sep 10 2011: I believe that what we do matters. If we do what is right and make a difference in our surroundings for the better we will be happy. If were happy just the way we are than we will never move forward. So yes its what you do that makes you happy. Its not happiness that dictates what you do.
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        jag .

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        Sep 10 2011: Brilliant, thats what I think (that happiness comes from inside me).

        The thing is in our society we are taught that 'happiness' comes from outside ourselves, e.g when you buy a new pair of trainers, or a car, or get into a relationship, but these just bring pleasure, but we mistake it for happiness. For someone who hasn't had that realisation, it can be hard to understand that happiness comes from inside. We are 100% responsible for our reactions to things. This is why I find things like The Sedona Method and The Work by Katie Byron so helpful, because they are methods of letting go of pain, and naturally allowing more peace and joy.

        A misunderstanding would be that someone might decide that they wont get into a relationship or buy new things, but having new a pair of trainers or getting into a relationship are great things to have, its when we think our happiness comes from them (attatchment) that is when the level of happiness in ones life is lowered.
  • Sep 7 2011: All these questions you're proposing are good, but they might be too hard to answer for a teenager or it can actually hurt her. More than that now I come to think that parents shouldn't allow their kids to answer questions like 'who am I?', 'whats right?', 'what should I become?' themselves. Seriously, would you let 15 years old choose your job? Would you let 15 years old yourself choose a car for you now? No, I suppose not.
    So single, most essential question I wish my younger self asked himself is "What else to ask dad?". I guess I would be better off that way.
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      Sep 7 2011: So you think the reverse should be done Roman? Should kids just be free to ask instead of us imposing what questions we think that should be asking?
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      Sep 7 2011: I emphatically disagree. That is a logical disaster. Would you suggest children shouldn't physically grow? Should children ask, "Daddy, can I get taller?". No. Why then would you suggest children shouldn't grow inwardly? That only happens from curiosity, from exposure, from experiences, which all lead to questions.

      A 15 year old need not need to worry about those questions. A 15 year old should be free to ask questions relevant to their life, as well as make mistakes and learn from them. That's growth.

      I agree there is massive value in tapping into the wisdom of parents, who've had those experiences and asked those questions. Nevertheless, investigating the nature of the world is very different from being told the nature of the world.
      • Sep 8 2011: As far as I understand your question Corvida, yes. There really is no single answer to life and if there is we are yet to know it, so we shouldn't be expecting kids to find the right question, let alone the answer itself. We should, however encourage them to inquire, to be curious, we should lead them to the answer and for the best not give it to them on a silver plate, so they can learn how to seek an answer themselves later in their life. Finding answers and defining things is a skill like any other and everyone have to gain it through experience and practice. So they should not ask one, most important question, because they wouldn't handle answering it, but ask all the questions they can come up with in order to create detailed map of the world, so they can later place themselves somewhere in there.

        Luke, as for your last sentence, I'm aware of this as I consider myself a beginning reductionist.
        Here is an article on distinguishing those two things
        To answer someone's question you can do three things: define, show and give her a map to find herself. I would support the third option as it gives the answer and shows how to find it yourself. Two birds one stone.

        We can let kids trip down, but we can't let them stay down. We have to help them get up and going on. We have to be there to support, scold and praise them. We have to moderate the flow of their stream of consciousness so it won't go awry. Especially in these days of information noise when we tend to loose contact with real world in favor of social networks being in touch with people that are closest to you is so important.
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          Sep 8 2011: Hi Roman, we all parent differently but I worked to encourage my kids to think for themselves and ask the hard questions as soon as they felt ready to do so. Of course, they will not have all the answers but just attempting it and believing that their life's course is something over which they have some control is valuable in my estimation. Keeping them dependent on us for 'wisdom' and direction may feel safer to us but will not prepare them for the world. I always found my kids were amazingly aware, reflective and often very able to cut through the obstacles.
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          Sep 8 2011: Hi Roman,

          I was mistaken. I think we have a somewhat similar opinion on the matter.

          - "Providing a map is more useful than giving the answer." -- Providing children with the means and resources to investigate leads to not only the answer but intuition, when in the presence of curiosity.

          - "We should, however encourage them to inquire, to be curious." -- Precisely. Curiosity is invaluable. (At least, it has been the most deciding factor in my education. Make me curious, and a teacher earns my respect.)

          - Inquiry also has been a significant piece of my learning. However, I mostly inquired into many ideas on my own. This is why I disagreed with you; my leading tool for discovery is asking questions, regardless of their size. Searching for answers, myself.

          - "..we shouldn't be expecting kids to find the right question, let alone the answer itself." -- These big questions shouldn't be asked of kids. But big questions should only be encouraged. They should be the result of their own curiosity. These are the questions that shape independent minds -- which I see as important.
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    Sep 7 2011: What is ultimate goal of human life?

    or If you will die tomorrw, what is important to you?
  • Sep 7 2011: What makes me curious, and keeps me curious?
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    Sep 7 2011: Why should I poke my buddy via FaceBook instead of showing up at his door and take him out to grab a bite?
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    Sep 7 2011: "What is really important and for who?"
    • Sep 7 2011: this was a good lesson for me, I agree!
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    Sep 7 2011: Right now to me the big question is how do we put ideas into practice in a significant way. I think previous generations were more concerned and rightfully so with the acquisition of knowledge. Later generation had the duties of spreading knowledge. Now we still need to acquire and spread knowledge, but it seem to me that the zeitgeist is implementing knowledge into practice. It's not enough that we know our carbon footprint. The idea that most people know of this meme and are concerned about it is great, but we need to find a way to reduce our footprint. This is just one example, but I do feel the big challenge is to now put in motion the the plans we were figuring out over the last few generations.
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    Sep 6 2011: Who are you? How do you want people to remember you when you die?
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      Sep 6 2011: A little early to be thinking about death and wills don't you think? ;-)

      Who are you is definitely a question I would agree that more of today's youth need to ask themselves. What would your younger self had said to such a question William?
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    Sep 6 2011: What can I do to help?
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      Sep 6 2011: Why do they need to ask this question? They are "just kids" after all so what help can they be?
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        Sep 6 2011: this is kind of like how can I change my world - How do I make things better, where do I fit in - what could, should, would I be doing. How can I share who I am, and what I can do to make the lives of others better.
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        Sep 8 2011: Less than 5 minutes ago: @corvida... No offense, but if you don't believe kids can be of no help you're mad. Our youth is our future, and while they may not be able to offer immediate help, if they were to ask this question of themselves, and genuinely mean it, then the education and experience they endure can be driven by purpose. I don't think this should be forced on anyone, I believe the desire to help others is one that should arise from the individual, but even the smallest forms of helping others- tolerance, acceptance, compassion- can help the world in tremendous ways, even before these kids enter the workforce or higher education.

        @Scott... It is just like that, minus the change the world part. Change is a collective effort, one person cannot do it all. So while I think the goal is to change the world, the question is more, "What contribution can I make?" so that the individual asking this of him/herself takes into account the reality of what our goals are and how we can obtain them.
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          Sep 8 2011: No offense taken Katie ;)

          I did not state my beliefs at all. I simply posed a response that I receive from kids when I ask them to pursue certain things that I know they want to do but are afraid to pursue because they don't think they can be of help or accomplish their goal. I just wanted to get your response on such a question.

          Thanks for your answer. Passionate and on point! :D
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          Sep 9 2011: Thanks Katie - you noticed I said change my world, not change the world - Change starts with one indivdual act - how do youth want to change thier own world and what act can they contribute/share?

          sharing takes two people - and they both benefit - if I contribute do i just give, or do I also receive?
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    Sep 6 2011: Do they know and care for their neighbours?
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      Sep 6 2011: This is a good one Scott. Why do you think it's important for today's youth to be aware of and care for their neighbors?
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        Sep 6 2011: Sorry - I posted in the wrong place... I think that if youth knew their neighbours, their situation, thier challenges, their gfifts and strengths they would discover the commonalities, and see past the differences, so that people are prized for what they can offer and not exclued for what they can't. Youth would trust their neighbour knowing that they were alike, and prize the differences. It would also help build or re-build community within their communities - so that the challenges that youth face, wouldn't have to be faced alone. Because the challenges of youth, are actually the challenges of us all in the first place.
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    Sep 13 2011: Is what I see on the screen in front of me (in response to a query) the real deal, or a set of abstracts delivered by algorithms that profess to know me, hence "personalise" the world for me? Is it what I am looking for, or something that's engineered for "people like me"?

    Whither wisdom?
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    Sep 13 2011: I believe there are many questions one needs to ask themselves, no matter their age. How can we overcome anger? Why should we create a better future when conventional science says we won't see its glory? What can I do to help humanity?
    Where are my talents best placed? When will I die? Who on this planet could possibly create such an important question?

    I believe the answers can be found everywhere. Look to yourself and everyone else for not only the answers you wish to have but for the questions that inspire the quest for knowledge.

    Oddly enough the question that keeps coming to mind to ask my younger self is-"Why didn't you try better?"

    P.S. The answer to this question could very well be the question in question.
  • Sep 12 2011: Where are we going? I feel like a lot of my peers are just sort of living without thinking about the future and I think we could really benefit from some... direction, I guess.
  • Sep 12 2011: As a younger ,i think i should know what i want to get it . i haven't no idea. sometimes, i think to do something that i like it . maybe that is a job .i want to try my best to do it .
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    Sep 12 2011: We need to ask ourselves, especially youth in Africa, who are ever on a crossroads between the old and new school of thought,(what Prof. Ayittey refers to as the hippo vs cheetah generation... whether through our words/silence, actions/inactions we are part of the problem or the solution.
  • Sep 12 2011: We need to ask ourselves how we can fix what the previous generation ruined for us I.E. The Billions of dollers of debt we are gonna to receive from them or the global warming they started with fossil fuels if you ask me that's a pretty important question
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    Sep 11 2011: "How can I make a change with the technical and communicational possibilities I have today which my grandparents did not have fifty years ago?" -- New media, innovative communication technologies, virtual platforms for debates: we take all these things for granted, spend hours on polishing our Facebook profiles, but forget to ask how we could make use of them for the future of humanity.
  • Sep 11 2011: all of the answers are around this temporary world. whatever question you ask, the idea of darwinism adn atheism flags the only one criteria for sucess which the the power, money, dominance and imperialism. all atheists are in the competition for these "values" whatever else they would defend verbaly. when money and conscousceness and equity nad fairness come accross money will always win. therefore, at the end of the day, you all ask one question, what shall I do to earn more money. there are certainly the reasons for that and you will find answer to this question if you analyse hisotory of europe starting from the times when Konstantin, rome empiror accepted christianity and untill the industrial revoilution.
  • Sep 11 2011: the youth of this era has confronted with the chaos world. this world doesn't give you various virtues of life.
    something like 'Being just', 'Being generous', 'Sense of existence of others, other world, other time.'
    so we know why we have to live with 'others' by our head, but we really don't know it by our heart.
    these chaos world is breaking down 'the meaning' of the things you can't see but exists in life of mankind.
    destruction of 'the meaning.' ......

    So I think we should ask ourselves
    'Which 'meaning' is the most valuable thing as dear as life itself to me?'
    not the thing, but the meaning.
  • Sep 11 2011: "Since society will be responsible for building my life in their reactions to MY actions, how should I act so that society will accept my views, even if they differ from everyone else's?"
  • Sep 11 2011: how do i fix what my parents couldnt fix
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    Sep 10 2011: While we are discussing here the youth is already asking that important question:
    And as I guess there's nothing much new under the sun here's the original for pleasure's sake:
  • Sep 10 2011: I think we (youth) need to ask ourselves what will be best for mankind in the long run. I feel that we are at a point technologically where a few bad decisions could be the end of civilization. We need to ask ourselves how every decision and budget cut will affect our planet and it's inhabitants.
  • Sep 10 2011: What can you do to change?
  • Sep 10 2011: Who brought us to this Era & how to avoid their mistakes?
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    Sep 9 2011: I think the fundamental question is "Why do we have to ask ourselves questions?", or another form of that same meta-question. Asking ourselves why we need to keep asking questions is a key first step against apathy towards ourselves and the world, which is one of the greatest dangers of future generations, and has the potential to fuel action, though and emotion. I believe the act of asking "What can I share with the world?", "What is the world's greatest problem?" or "What is my passion?" is much more important per se than the actual answer. We may not agree with the answer, but we can't neglect the value of the question. Naturally, it is not about leaving open questions - asking a questions means nothing without pursuing an answer, but there is always a first step.
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    Sep 9 2011: I think the youth of today are burdened with far more choices/decisions to make and almost an overkill of information. The youth of today primarily need to be able to be able to rest their minds so as to be able to analyse, segregate, then make and enjoy the decisions that they make in their life.
    There is so much pressure to do things, so much competion, a crazy rush to be more successful than the other.
    The constant drive/need to push down the other to be able to be ahead. We push children straight from childhood into adulthood. Where is the time for them to enjoy learning, discovering their desires maybe even some hidden talents that lie latent for years.
    Where is the time for them to live in the moment and enjoy it?
    The youth have to learn to preserve their energies so as not to get burnt out soon...enjoy each phase of life, discover themselves.
  • Sep 9 2011: Perhaps a question will surface by the time I've finished writing my response, but I'd like to offer a few words even if one doesn't. Currently a college student myself, I constantly wind up asking myself what the people around me are doing; what are their goals, if they have any, and what do they want from their life? I feel like a lot of the youth today don't have even an idea to offer as a response to these questions, and I believe it is, in part, due to what education has become in our society. A college degree--in most cases--is crucial to finding a job and living somewhat comfortably, and because of this many teens apply for college not because they want to pursue a specific field of study, but because it's just what you do. Junior year in high school you take the SAT, and then you know come senior year, you have college apps to look forward to. It's not really something many people even question; everyone goes to college now. As a result, however, you now have people pursuing higher education not because they have a clear goal, but because it's a necessity for survival, and thus you have a larger number of people who are still stuck playing the high school games of fitting in, meeting people, and having fun. I don't mean to downplay the importance of these things, but I feel like today's youth value them so greatly that they become the driving forces in students' lives, in an environment that requires a much different lifestyle and mindset.

    I have friends and hobbies just like everyone else, but when it comes to school I'm always aware of the fact that I am here to build a greater future for myself. College isn't a summer camp where you have fun, and then return back to your real life after four years. I feel a lot of the youth today are entirely too short-sighted and have their eyes set on the wrong things, if on anything at all.

    Students should ask themselves: How is the life I'm living today going to contribute to the life I will live in many years time?
  • Sep 9 2011: The question that everyone shall ask themselves is why has I been created by the God in this world.. Anyone can answer this qiuestion by perceiving the amazing balance and absolute non-reproduciable and human-uncreatable balance and harmony of our universe and the earth and each and every creature, flora, fauna, natural reserves and everythign that surronds us. A reasonable thinking person will understand that all that has been created by the only God, all-knowing, all-hearing, all-seeing and the posser of all the best and perfect qualities for us. What we have to do is to thank him and to follow the path he has tought us. he has not left us, rather he showed us the two roads that will bring us to different ends. And this is what we shall all fully understand. otherwise we will all be in the ultimate loss...
  • Sep 9 2011: After having read through most of the thread I think we can separate the proposed questions into two categories: the technical and the metaphysical. One analyzes the mechanics of a phenomenon, while the other analyzes the reason for it. It is essentially a How? and Why? divide. This observation is crucial, and the resolution of the two conflicting references points ought to be of the foremost importance. Therefore, the single most important question my generation must ask and resolve for itself is -

    Do we live and operate in a mechanical world, or do we exist in a metaphysical world? (is the Why? derived from the How? or the other way around?)

    And then proceed from there.

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    Sep 9 2011: If we see the youth from a reductionist aproach, maybe this question could be reduced to a one single question, but thats not possible because youth is hope and their capabilities to ask are alive and well, but not in just one single question. Of course we have to accept the questions instead to offer the answers.
    The youth is not an age matter is an spiritual status. Maybe the most intriguing questions in the history are from the children. Youthness has no age limits. Thats a wrong position. Also the boundaries or frontiers for questioning the actual circumstances are always flexible and change everyday. We cant mesure the ages from a narrow point of view taken from positivism. We all have the resposability to transform (not change) the world in a more lovely place. Redesign our own utopies and paradises for parents, grandparents, sons, childs and every living form of Divinity, included youth.
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    Sep 9 2011: I would go with: what can/will I do with all the information that is easily available?

    And I would say that, because one of the different things that this generation has in comparison to previous ones is a greater access to an unprecedented amount of information about everything, so at least one of the questions I would put as important would be what to do with it.
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    Sep 9 2011: I agree with Theresa. Kids these days need to ask themselves what they really want to do in life, what do they enjoy to do. One of the problems with technology is mass producing and then you become what type of phone you have. Same thing with other things it that kids try and "fit in" so they try and get what everyone else has. It's turning into a world where everyone is becoming the same thing. People get scared of being different. I say dare to try and be different and do what it is you love!
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    Sep 9 2011: "What do I really love - to do, be, create, accomplish, contribute...?
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      Sep 9 2011: My dad always told me to find something I love to do and that I'm good at and then find someone to pay you to do it.
  • Sep 9 2011: "What is a riemann hypothesis?" :P

    It is entirely subjective, thus it is irrelevant to search for single answer.
  • Sep 9 2011: What is the best form orientation/form for a modern democratic government system to take?
    These days, take Australia for example, there is too much similarity between the majority parties. They virtually attempt and try to pass the same bills, with the opposition always just trying to oppose and block the bill in house. It becomes a popularity contest. Our government needs to be more representative, rather than two major parties that tred on the exact same line. We're not actually given a choice when there is such little difference and we can't choose the differences we want. The Government needs to start working togeather, rather than just blocking and immediately opposing the oppositions bills. If you're going to block it, suggest something better to do! Politics should not be allowed for two parties to verbally joust 24/7, it should be much more serious and focus on solving the problems our modern world faces each day. Something needs to change, because if this continues, bills just aren't going to get through parliament in time to address the ever changing world that we create. Because that's when we're really in trouble.
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    Sep 9 2011: Where do we go from here?
  • Sep 9 2011: What is education's real purpose and if that purpose doesn't reflect the core of what it means to being a a concious, aware being, how do we change it and create something that will?
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    Sep 9 2011: I like the idea of simply asking "Why?" You could also do the same with "how?" Either way, I think it is best to be open ended to where the question doesn't even have an immediate so-called right answer.
  • Sep 8 2011: I don't think that there's a single question that they should be asking themselves, specifically, but I think that they question "How did X come to be?" is one that they should ask of everyone and everything?

    Many of us of all ages judge people, ideas and objects according to what they are now - at this moment. However, it's much rarer that we trace things to their foundations. It's much less common that we ask "how did I become me?" or "how did that mean/kind/successful/poor person come to be who they are?".

    In short, I think "the youth" need to start asking "how" so that they/we can develop a greater understanding the word which enable them to empathize and solve more problems with their new-found knowledge.
  • Sep 8 2011: You cannot direct what the youth of America should asks themselves. Each individual must come upon that question on their own. The topic should be not "What is the single most important question that the youth of this era need to ask themselves" but rather "How can we help the youth of America discover what questions they need to ask themselves".
  • Sep 8 2011: What are the things I can do, and what has to be done around me?
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    Sep 8 2011: What will there be in your Room 101?
  • Sep 8 2011: Is there even a single most important question to ask?

    Sure, we still didn't answer the "why are we question".

    But often the answer to questions lies within the understanding of questions themselves. If you can't answer a question, maybe it's worthwhile to think about why you are asking it?

    What I find very usefull is to try to understand my own thoughts, by trying to figure out the ultimate consequences of them, and thus deriving the use of these thoughts from that.

    So pherhaps the answer to some important philosophical questions lies in the universal understanding of what we are. Which can probably only be answered once we are able to fully engineer a being's mind. And maybe even then our understanding might not be absolute.

    As genetics, informatics and other sciences evolve, sooner or later we will have to tear down the wall between mind and matter, I strongly believe.
  • Sep 8 2011: considering that many generations before me have decided that their pocket books were more important than the overall health of the world and those who live on it, what am I going to do to insure that that does not happen ever again?
  • Sep 8 2011: The single most important question that the youth of this era need to ask themselves is "Have I done justice to my talent and abilities?" Because, I believe everybody is gifted in one way or the other. It is just that you have to identify what special ability of yours separates you from others. In order to identify that special talent/ability youth has got to explore... explore.. explore... and explore. Once the talent is identified it must be polished and utmost use must be made of it. These two tasks ensure justice is done to the talent you possess.
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    Sep 8 2011: I think the single most important question EVERYONE should ask (not just youth) is:

    "What can I do to make the world a better place?"
  • Sep 7 2011: What skills are you going to learn now that will prepare you for the world of tommorow? A world of unaffordable oil, enviromental collapse, global food/water shortages, exremists use of WMD.

    More importantly, what are you going to do today to prevent that world from happening?
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      Sep 7 2011: This is a question to ask of departing generations still in office, what problems are you going to leave us with? What are you so incapable of solving?

      I think our generation understands what needs to be done. I'm sick of the petty ideological battles. Just get it done, and move forward.
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      Sep 7 2011: I agree with Joe. From the people I see around me, theism is fading. There's still a lot, but it's a literally ancient idea that is declining. Evolution is apropos to the times and is a much less silly idea.

      These are important questions, and I've explored many, very deeply, my whole life. However, I haven't found religion enlightening in the slightest.

      Regarding your last sentence, I'd like to point out:

      1) People of no religion and other religions love just as well as christians -- it's a human thing.
      2) Loving is important -- far from the meaning of life however. Understanding is more important to me. Everyone has their own priorities they've formed through their experiences.
      3) I don't see how living as a christian and love cover all questions, otherwise we would know everything by now, wouldn't we?

      I think questions of understanding love, people, and our place in existence; and of the impact we're capable of making on other people and the planet are questions that should be asked along this line of "big life" questions.
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        Sep 8 2011: This is less about "big life" questions and religion, and more about a single important question that today's youth should ask themselves right now. Let's keep the conversation focused on this, shall we?
    • Sep 8 2011: Let me be aggressive a bit: religion is crap. Not to be confused with faith, that is inside and that influences your ethics, religion is generally a factor preventing from being open to new ideas and from acting freely,.
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    Sep 7 2011: I agree with Debra:
    As history always returns in circles, how can we learn from the mistakes further generations already made?
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    Sep 7 2011: What do you want through your whole life? What's your real life objectives?
    When we were born in the lonely world, we've been trying hard to get something. Maybe something to eat or something to do. But are you happy?Are you happy with what you are doing? As the saying says: Life is a journey not a destination. All humen being's destination will be death! So don't push your self so hard. I always wonder whether a satisfid smile will appear in my face when i am gong to leave. Enjoy your life and make everyday count!
  • Sep 7 2011: A question about peer pressure?
    Are decisions made or actions taken due to peer pressure?
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    Sep 7 2011: is this what i truely believe in, and where do i see my self in the world in 10 years
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    Sep 7 2011: What is my social responsibility ?
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    Sep 7 2011: Simply .. Why they live?
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    Sep 7 2011: Who do/can I trust?

    We have many different kinds of relationships today and I think that the world has turned into a great global village so it's very important for young people to understand who they can and should trust and who thinks of their best interest.
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    Sep 7 2011: Anything a child should ask themselves, should be what the forefathers of thought asked themselves time and time again... Those questions should be planted by YOU the educators. No challenging question has one answer or one idea to that question. I do not know a question a child can ask themselves that I can't ask myself from time to time that is existential..

    The meaning of life? What is time? What is "fact"? Who do I trust? Is this right to do? Were the consequences worth the reward? How are they looking at this? (wording is variable)

    This question to me is a paradox, therefore I am in a literal mindset, the idea of ONE or even A FEW, is a lie, life is a constant series of fuzzy logic (a multitudinous series of quantum considerations).

    Awareness is correlation to perceptive, and perception is key, a key to understanding "reality" just a tad bit better.

    To build awareness, many many considerations are needed. Question children, do not expect them to question naturally, in nature, when the environment is safe and secure and positive emotions are tied to the developing nurturers... Curiosity is affected, mystery of environment is lost.

    Since your asking in the respects to modern technology, well, what does anyone need to know in order to use a computer efficiently? Critical thinking skills? Analytical break downs? Hands-on practice? Overall it requires mechanical academics. No questioning is going to teach a child to run a computer, but after the have learned the machine, it is still IMPORTANT to educate on filtering claims and information. Again critical thinking...

    Not one question should be asked but many, often, and make sure they are interesting/fun... We think with our emotions first, pretty much always... Imagine being a child while being with a child, and try to relate, and ask about the environment... build up their awareness. That is a building block of curiosity.

    Moral: If there was ONE epic question a kid should be concerned with, they shouldn't
  • Sep 7 2011: What is gratitude and how do I show it?
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    Sep 6 2011: "What is the Matrix?"

    No, I am not kidding...
    For some hints about it I'd recommend everyone watching Adam Curtis' documentary "The Century of the Self" (you can find it on youtube) and then Peter Joseph's Zeitgeist series.
  • Sep 6 2011: "What decisions can I make today that will improve life (democracy, mental/physical/spiritual health, communication, compassion, etc.) for the next generation.
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    Sep 6 2011: Really great question Corvida, which I think many should be considering.

    I would propose the question of: What is important to me?

    As you note, there are so many problems put forward to this rising generation. A single person or group will not solve all problems but I have seen people who are driven in their respective passions accomplish incredible things, solving individual problems very well. The drive and passion for tasks must surely derive from what is important to that person. With each young person finding what is important to themselves, a passion can develop, time and energy can be devoted towards it. Ultimately the question should hopefully assist in the unique directions taken by each person in the future generation. Each who can contribute something to society.
  • Sep 6 2011: What is motivating my decisions?
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    Sep 6 2011: Since my lifespan is expected to be in the range 60 years to 100 years or more, and since humankind has accumulated perhaps 2 million years of information (understanding and art) and talent (methods and skills), what imformation and understanding do I need to start recognizing my preferences for my lifetime and experiencing the joys life offers?

    This approximates the challenging duty to self that each newborn faces. It seems daunting and needs to occur at the right time in the child's psychological development. It needs to be presented in a loving, confident, non-threatening way by the most responsible of the child's care-givers, hopefully the parents.

    A child who has embraced this question will need only one exposure to each lesson; for example, Plato's "The Apology," to understand that some readers think Socrates died to respect and preserve the rule of law, even though his trial was unjust. Each lesson will seem vital to the child.

    I'd love to read responses to Corvida's question by some of today's recognized leaders, for example, company founders like Steve Jobs and world leaders like Angela Merkel (not to slight the others).
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    Sep 6 2011: How can I be free and truly happy? And when I say free I mean from everything that's holding us back from pursuing our dreams (mental, physical obstacles etc.)
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      Sep 6 2011: Can today's youth really be free and truly happy in this world?
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        Sep 6 2011: Well why not? Of course there will be obstacles when asking such a question but ultimately to be free and truly happy you must do something you love and that could be anything depending on the individual.

        The most difficult obstacles that stop the youth from being happy though and pursuing their dreams are usually mental ones as a result of philosophies that state that being part of a group is far more important than being an individual, unique in it's own way.

        I think they can be happy and free as long as they ask more questions and use their mind more and more actively seeking their own happiness with a positive attitude.
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        Sep 7 2011: One of major obstacles of my pursuit of independence and happiness has been the public school system. It still tries to churn out cookie-cutter workers who know how to obey instructions. That goes against every grain of my nature, so it's been a battle. I feel physically suppressed by my teachers and the general environment of my public school.

        Makis, you ask how today's youth can be free from restraint in pursuits; school has not once genuinely encouraged the pursuit of my dreams and my ideas, beyond the poster that says I can be anything I want to be. That might be a simple step to encouraging this in kids.
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          Sep 7 2011: I completely agree with you on the school issue Luke. I think Sir Ken Robinson summed it up well in his talk about how schools kill creativity.
          The education systems in most countries need a serious change. I've met with people that are teachers in the past outside their workplace and when I start talking to them it makes me wonder how some of them end up teaching children and passing on ''knowledge'' that harms them instead of actually doing good for them.

          One of the best things you can do as a parent I would say it's to encourage your children to ask questions and not be afraid of being different and above all to stand on their own. If they can stand on their own proudly then they can do so much more even when in a group.

          Like you said it's a simple step yet the benefits could be great.
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    Sep 6 2011: Am I accountable? Am I responsible? You are the leaders of the future. Endeavor to be more and do more than your predecessors. If you were placed on a trial by your peers, would they find you to be an accountable and responsible leader?
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      Sep 6 2011: Trial by peers? I think every kid would fail that, but young adults might fair better. At such a young age, do you truly expect them to be "responsible leaders"? And exactly what is a responsible leader in terms of the youth? There are very few examples I could give at 23 of what a responsible leader is.
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        Sep 6 2011: The "youth" of today are the leaders of tomorrow! Perhaps you should have defined an age group. I assumed (dangerous, I know) that "youth" represented all persons younger than the "adult" age.

        Yes, a trial by peers. A child is never too young to learn about responsibility and accountability. I firmly believe that these two core values represent a huge part of what is lacking in many of our leaders today.

        As for "failing" it has been said that "The only real failure in life is the failure to try." Not one individual caved to the fear of failure when they decided to speak up and include themselves in the TED project! Nor did you when you chose to start this discussion.

        I commend you for your courage, unless you were just looking for a place to start a debate. I do not believe that is what TEDtalks was intended for, nor is this the place for that type of conversation.
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          Sep 6 2011: I understood the first part of your comment, but I'm not sure about the last paragraph.

          "I commend you for your courage, unless you were just looking for a place to start a debate. I do not believe that is what TEDtalks was intended for, nor is this the place for that type of conversation."

          What are you referring to when you say that TEDtalks nor TED Conversations is the place for that type of discussion? The discussion of failure? That is certainly a place for TED and I'm sure there are TEDtalks on failure like JK Rowling's talk on the benefits of failure.


          No age group definition is necessary in my humble opinion. I would prefer to see what everybody's personal definition of youth is. It is my belief that the world "Adult" is a word that has nothing to do with numbers. That is why I left numbers out of the picture.
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          Sep 6 2011: No, I think this is all immensely important.

          More people of my generation need to adopt this sentiment on failure. I'd also like to put, my view is that failure is the measure by which one fails to learn from mistakes.

          As for responsibility and accountability, I deeply believe public school has taken away opportunities for me to grow more responsible and accountable for myself, because 180 days a year, students are told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.

          I decided to try home schooling last year, and man was I incompetent. I didn't know how to manage myself; yet, I had the responsibilities of my entire education, my entire future. It was terrifying.

          If schools rather taught students how to be independent, responsible people, future generations would be much better off. Many find it impossible to learn on their own, yet self-education is probably one of the most useful tools anyone could possess.
  • Sep 6 2011: What am I doing for others?