TED Conversations

Amir Azizi Sarajy

Film maker, Timescratch

This conversation is closed.

Are you an Outcast ? TED Men and X-MEN

so many Great Thinkers, Artists,Scientist, and.... seem to be outcasts and detached from their own society for a time or even their entire lives.

I don't know if that is good or bad , but what I am so curious to know is how many TED members were or are an outcast ? Do you feel good or bad about it ?

to me somehow TED people seem like mutated people in X-men, so did you ever wanted to be Normal ? not to think ? not to worry ? not to care ?

inspired by a conversation with Debra Smith

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    Oct 5 2011: I never felt like an outcast, because that would mean other cast me out, I think I'm more like an outsider. I've never been a member of any communities really, and always had only a few friends (if any). Part of it was because of social anxiety and another part that I felt like I was different.

    I don't feel comfortable in a society where people are more excited about, say, a new iPhone or game release than they are about stuff that matters, that's crucial these days, and that's exactly what TED is about. BUT, I think this comparison is also a bit exaggerated, as I don't claim to be or feel like a great thinker, artist, scientist, or in any way extraordinary. I'm only (trying to be) conscious, mindful, empathic and supportive - which is, compared to the truly great historic figures, a really uncool mutation ;)
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      Oct 5 2011: Renata if any artist or scientist did something of a value it was because they cared about others more than themselves and that is exactly who you are as you said: conscious, mindful, empathic and supportive

      I don't believe just being smart makes anyone special, but caring , conscious and curious certainly does.

      by the way great mutation and by my sight a very cool one :)
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        Oct 5 2011: You're saying, "if any artist or scientist did something of a value it was because they cared about others more than themselves" - so do you think that artists and scientists only work out of selflessness? I disagree with that.

        Many artists, especially poets, writers, painters, etc. create things because it's their way of coping with their own suffering. Surely you know lots of great artists who have suffered from depression or some other sort of mental disorder. Some of my favorite poets and poems are about pain and misery and I am entirely sure they didn't have humanity and mankind on their minds when they wrote them. They are deeply personal and I don't think most of them thought about becoming famous either.
        So would this mean that these personal, pain-driven (or happiness-driven) creations are not valuable? I think not. What's the definition of "value" anyway?
        Or how many inventions and discoveries are the results of pure coincidences?

        You see, I don't think you have to be caring, mindful, selfless, you don't have to want to help in order to create something great and vice versa - if I'm mindful and supportive, it doesn't make me great.
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          Oct 6 2011: Jean paul sartre in Being and Nothingness says , we live for others and if we are all alone we would live a different life,

          I believe Da Vinci , Newton, or any other Genius would have lived another life if lived all alone in a deserted island, We humans need others respect and we would try for it , If many artists felt miserable about life it was mostly for caring about other not just themselves

          All I am saying is caring is a valuable thing and as Dan Dennett said here on TED We are the only species that Sacrifice ourselves to serve an idea , and a goal, for the future of others.

          But I agree , just being mindful or careful does not change anything.

          Great People are innovative hard working and caring .
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          Oct 7 2011: Also agree. I think art is the greatest form of self-indulgence.

          It's also the only self-indulgence that is worth sharing.
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      Oct 5 2011: what??? games are cool! :)
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        Oct 5 2011: Of course they are :)

        I didn't mean to imply that those things aren't cool, because I have many interests myself that don't serve the best interest of humanity either. It's good to have fun and good to be careless, but what I wanted to say was that many people don't care about stuff that matters (TED-material, if you will) at all. And that just makes me sad.
        I don't know if it's laziness, stupidity, carelessness or what, but I don't like it. I know I'm not going to save the world either, but I'm at least interested, I'm concerned, and I do my best to change little things for the better - and sometimes that's only playing a game to brighten my mood :)
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          Oct 6 2011: or just routine. sometimes people just do what they see other people do around them. thinking can take you places you didn't want to go.

          maybe ted is a way to escape swamp of local culture?
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        Oct 8 2011: Definitely. I always hated when people said that it's harder to do certain things in certain areas (here Eastern Europe for example). Hated that people went to the USA or any other Western country to pursue their dreams. I thought that it was just a stupid excuse, but the more involved I am, the more I see the truth to it.

        TED, and the internet in general is not just an escape but also an opportunity for me because here it's nearly impossible to live the life I want to live, especially in this little town. I used to judge the people who left the country for a better life and now I'm about to do the same.

        Well, the cultural revolutions and innovations always reached us belated, so in a way it makes sense even now. What I don't understand is why, because the internet, the modern infrastructure would make it possible everywhere to change things. So I have to assume it's because of the way people are thinking...
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    Oct 1 2011: Back in high school I wasn't one of the "cool kids". I belonged to a small, lively group of nerds. We had lots of fun.

    A few years later I was in a social club with a group of adults. Some said I was in the prime clique. It didn't matter. Outside the club, though, I had some close nerdy friends. We had lots of fun.

    Somewhat later I was in a political party. Some said I was near the center of power. It didn't matter. My actual friends were apolitical nerds. We had lots of fun.

    Still later I joined an intellectual organization. I was on the board of directors. It didn't matter. My best friends were unaffiliated nerds. We had lots of fun.

    I remember the pre-Internet days when I'd be online with my nerdy friends. People thought we were weird, but we had lots of fun.

    It has always been easy to see myself as an outsider. But it was always ME who cast myself out. And I had lots of fun.

    Now I'm here on TED! Make of that what you will.
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      Oct 1 2011: very cool

      I think intelligent people have very different values and as for that ways of joy , and to most people that does not make sense , a small gathering with 3 people talking about some nerdy thing might be as fun for us as going to hawaii for some people, but when you say I am actually enjoying it they don't believe it or they don't get it . We can't blend in and we either being cast outside or we cast ourselves outside by our own. I personally feel so happy and so good even if I am an outcast .

      Thanks a lot for the comment, it was cool and heart warming :)
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    Oct 5 2011: I can't speak for Amir, but I can provide one example of how this community,although public, is quite different from other sources of information and/or collaboration. When the Amanda Knox decision was made earlier this week, I saw the story on CNN's site. I also saw how very simple it was to just select a username and provide comments. The remarks about the trial were (with a few exceptions), astonishingly brief, offensive, or just plain ludicrous. One commenter wanted to know why anyone cared and who the girl was (even though the this story has been ongoing for four years). Others cited her looks as a reason not to care. A good number of them simply resorted to the kind of name-calling even my kindergartener wouldn't stoop to.

    I would stop short of saying that the commentary here on TED is more intelligent...I've seen a number of very bright and insightful comments on other sites. I would assert, however, that the level of involvement is quite different. For the most part, people on TED are heavily invested in these discussions and debates because they see their value. Personally, I have seen (and been involved in) hotly debated topics that clearly show a difference of opinion, but still demonstrate respect for others' ideas. Again, I can't speak for Amir's situation, but it is not always easy to find such an environment "out there" where disagreement is seen as a knife in the back.
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      Oct 5 2011: Amy thanks a lot for the amazing comment.

      On may 2004, I was getting into chat rooms just to be able to talk and communicate about art and culture , I d love to know more about different cultures and people . long story short , Yahoo chatroom, Art, Movies, Culture and…..People were just talking about porn or cyber sex or things like that not a single word about art nor culture and even worse when I started talking about it, they laughed at me , mocked me and wrote the nastiest things you can possibly imagine.

      After two days and visiting over 100 chatrooms I almost got the same reaction everywhere. I am not a religious person but I respect Art and more than that people, when you go to Louvre or British museum you are there to see art not porn. That was the last time I visited chat rooms.

      And based on the Amanda Knox story on CNN it has not changed that much.
      hopelessly many of them think Freedom of speech means doing porn right in the middle of British museum and if not then you are not Free.

      unlike Krisztián I believe in here debates are serious and real and not even close to those places, I would not put TED community in the same league let alone the same level.
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      Oct 9 2011: I know how it is , we are the first generation who lives most of the time on his own
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      Oct 6 2011: wow that is amazing , and about different masks, I can't say its bad although I had the same problem of trying hard to blend in and wear a mask, but now I always try to be myself , and because of that I don't have that many friends

      " All the world's a stage,And all the men and women merely players " - William Shakespeare
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    Oct 5 2011: strange. i feel the complete opposite. outcasts are outcasts here as well. ted represents the educated, thinking parts of society, but otherwise not at all filtered. the mainstream outside is the mainstream here.
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      Oct 5 2011: somehow , but at least in here you can talk about things that people normally would not tolerate outside.Debates in here sometimes are really amazing.

      By the way on your profile you have a line that says , concerned citizen , I love that line.
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        Oct 5 2011: can you tell me an example, what you can discuss here, but not outside?
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          Oct 5 2011: the debate about Education was pretty amazing
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          Oct 5 2011: I can not come up with an example over a topic, but I can demonstrate the difference response that people have, depending on where the topic is being brought up. If you post an idea here, it remains roughly civil, as people here are attempting to spread ideas and knowledge rather then shut it down. If you were to post that same idea on a site like youtube, you would be attacked by an army of trolls.

          Here, it doesn't matter who you are, as there will always be someone who takes a moment to listen to you. In the outside world, where differences are more easily noticed, many people will tune others out based off of appearance. If you do not speak with confidence, then people immediately downgrade what is being said. It's the most obvious when you see a child attempting to explain their idea to an adult. Rarely will you see an adult taking the child seriously, as they look down upon the youth of the child. Here, people are judged based off of their ideas.

          Where I live, there is most likely no topic that I could talk about on ted, that I couldn't talk about in public. In other cities, where prejudices run deep, you're unlikely to find someone who is publicly willing to agree with you if your view is opposed to the majority. My best example of this, would be someone who is homosexual, attempting to talk about sexuality in a small homophobic town. They're more likely to be attacked, then to have their argument listened to.
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        Oct 5 2011: and this topic is not tolerated by your local community? why?
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          Oct 5 2011: it is not tolerated globally by parents , when you talk about Education system most of the times Parents strongly oppose you no matter what, seems like Education system and that is Global, it is almost the same everywhere around the world and has became the 21century taboo.

          Parents are afraid to talk about it cuz they have enough trouble sending their kids to these boring schools already
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        Oct 5 2011: yeah, you might be right about that. it is pretty hard to sell any change.

        but actually, once i was able to convince a colleague of mine about free education. but i was never able to convince anyone about anything else. so people seem to be a little bit more open about education outside too. certainly not enough though.
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          Oct 5 2011: yeah, most people don't like changes , specially the big one, and boy Education is pretty big.

          and for most big ones we need the majority of people, the same ones who are always afraid.
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    Oct 3 2011: Yes, I have always felt like an outcast.

    and yes, I spent a large portion of my childhood attempting to fit in and be normal.

    But now that I'm older, I've learned to use the differences to my advantage. That being different and being an outcast provides me with a different perspective from the majority of people around me, and that makes me useful. That I end up being called upon as a last resort, to deal with something only when everyone else has tried and failed.
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      Oct 3 2011: wow, Mike that sound like a true mutated X-men, boy you have no idea how happy I am to hear these comments , I always felt like an abnormal and sick person , until I got to know TED and TED members

      thanks a lot for the comment :)
  • Oct 2 2011: Nope Amir, I took the blue one. ( I know, I should have taken the red one) Mutation is the best! ( OH, p.s., we all have choices.) UNLESS, we have idiot parents that rely on an idiot government! With Respect to TED!
  • Oct 1 2011: Hi Amir,
    Let me get this straight. You are comparing history to TED? ( i love X-Men!) Oh, FYI, history did not have a clue about TED!! Oh, nope, I would not ever want to be normal. I do like TED!! (crap, I am mutated!) With Respect To Ya!
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      Oct 1 2011: Hi Tishe

      I am comparing history and outcasts and now that they have a community and it feels like X-men ;)

      HA HA , I am so happy to hear that , so you actually like to be an X-men :)

      when mutated, you can't go back to your normal life , we have chosen the Red Pill of matrix long time ago.
      • Oct 2 2011: Oh yeah! I chose the blue one! (oops, am I bad?)
        I liked your OP! I hope I am not being a smart butt!?
        Stay mutated my friend!! (normality bites!)
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          Oct 2 2011: cool , but are you sure you took the blue one ? I mean does not sound like it

          you know reading more and being more curious does not necessarily mean that it makes us happier , but we don't have any other choice do we ?

          when in doubt , find it out