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Cleo Abram

Student , Columbia University - Columbia College


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We can learn by exchanging and discussing our own lists of "10 Things I Know to be True."

After listening to Sarah Kay's beautiful speech and poetry, I tried to write my own list of "10 Things I know to be True." I learned one thing immediately: I don't know much. I learned a second thing more slowly: that's okay! I tried to distill my limited understanding of the world into this list, without being overly philosophical nor literal.

One thing I know to be true, but that is not on my list, was that Sarah Kay was right when she said that if you share your list with a group of people you will find that someone has one thing very similar, someone else has something totally contrary, another person has something you've never heard of, and still another has something that makes you think further about something you thought you knew.

So let's share ours, and find out! What do your lists have on them?

Here's mine:
1. Fiction can, at times, feel more real than fact.
2. One person, with a good idea, can change our world.
3. There are things about our universe that we will never understand.
4. #3 is not an excuse to stop trying.
5. Everyone has a story worth hearing.
6. There is always another side to the story they tell.
7. Questions can sometimes teach more than their answers.
8. Children can sometimes teach more than their parents.
9. Everyone should travel.
10. No one's truth is universal.


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  • Oct 25 2011: 1.That I love and am loved.
    2.That life is precious and worth living.
    3.The best things that ever happened to me are the birth of my children.
    4.That I know very little and can learn something new, everyday.
    5.If I had my life to live over again, I would change nothing.
    6.Being happy is a choice. It has nothing to do with what you own and another person is not responsible for your happiness, only you are...
    7.The saying "If at first you don't succeed, try again" is not just a saying.....
    8.Laughing is really good for the soul and should be done daily and several times each day.
    9.The best gift is the gift of time.
    10. Last but certainly not least, God is real, he is love and he is good.
    • Oct 25 2011: Amazingly said!
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      Oct 26 2011: I like these, they are true only from your perspective yet could be universal too.
      God is only real in the minds of men as a concept and the actions such men take.
      People can't take your happiness, but they can take your food.
    • Oct 27 2011: re: 10

      I do not know which god you believe in. The bible god that I knew has not learnt to forgive. It takes a life to wash away the "sin" which was the first human eating a fruit. By allowing suffering to occur to new born child, it is not loving and it is not good.
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        Oct 27 2011: I'm an atheist, so I don't believe in supernatural beings, but that doesn't mean that concepts (abstract patterns) in the minds and brains of men aren't 'real' or don't have effects upon their actions, which effect the world.

        If you speak of the god of the Jews, I think the Christians believe he sent a profit to die for human sins, and cleared that whole thing up.

        The problem of Theodicy, the problem of evil in the world, is fundamental to most religions, but I was given a reasonable explanation by the book of JOB. The conclusion they come to is that a God, if such exists, is beyond our simple understanding of suffering or justice, that it need not answer our questions, but we must accept the world as it comes. Naturally.

        That makes sense to me, I can accept the suffering imposed by the natural environment, but what I can't accept is the suffering imposed by society, cultures of abuse, and social injustice. However, I don't think that such is imposed by any real 'God', just by the kind of concept or irrational beliefs that cause action, as I described. They make us do unethical things, like take people's food.
        • Oct 27 2011: Obviously, we are off the tangent here, but let's just indulge ourselves a little.

          The issue of suffering and justice are human values. How we judge whether a situation is a suffering or whether something is just based on our values and emotions. Saying that we are too simple to understanding god's will is simply brushing the problem under the carpet. As social animals and with the "mirror neurons" in our brain, we can feel (in the shoes of the other) how other is feeling. That's where suffering comes in. We can feel and see suffering from the expression of the person. Young child, starved to dead by simply being born at the wrong place at the wrong time - to an atheist - is just part of chance. For the theists, they have a big problem to simultaneously claim their god to be good, loving and just. For a loving god with all the power it has and yet allows suffering to occur, by any argument no one could call it a loving god. For allowing this randomness of luck to occur, again if god has all the power to prevent and yet does not do so, is unjust.

          Can we judge god? Sure we can, just like we can judge other and show our approval or rejection.

          God is a concept and most people really do not have a good definition of it. As seen in this thread, there are many equating nature as god. To them, I ask why don't we just say nature. Obviously, there are more than just nature when theists use the word god. I am yet to see anyone clearly articulate his/her version of god. I can only refer to god in the bible - the Jew's god as a representation of god.
      • Oct 27 2011: Mmmm, my # 10 said God is real . To me it has nothing to do with religion whatsoever.
        • Oct 27 2011: Really?
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          Oct 27 2011: What DOES religion have to do with?
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          Oct 27 2011: Well said Carol.
          I love TEDsters, everything always gravitates towards religion. Then God gets the blame. God is real; it's so obvious; but many can't see past the religion.

          God Bless

      • Oct 27 2011: Albert, to answer you question, I believe in the one true God. I don't ask anyone else to believe.
        • Oct 27 2011: Carol, I am so sorry for you. Whatever education you may have, you have demonstrated that you failed to use your logical rational mind to see the delusion of the myth of "one true god".

          I am not asking anyone to believe there is a god or there is no god. That's not the point.

          I am asking everyone to make decisions based on evidence, not wishful thinking nor voodoo.

          Humanity is at a cross road right now. My grand child, if I have one, may be the last generation of human unless we, humanity at a whole, recognize the damage this generation has made to the planet and quickly rectify the wrongs. The atmosphere has CO2 level leading to a minimum of 2 deg rise in average global temperature - and we are still accelerating the rate of dumping CO2 into the atmosphere! I am afraid a 4 deg rise in average global temperature is inevitable and that would trigger unstoppable positive warming effect. A mass extinction is around the corner.
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        Oct 27 2011: Albert,The question posed for this conversation was, "What 10 things do YOU know to be true." Carol has expressed her 10 things. Perhaps instead of trying to dissect someone's belief with your "big brain" and "logic" you could have simply listed your 10 things YOU know to be true. Frans K. sums it up perfectly below, "Your words sound logic in general.
        Yet it is as with that elephant. We can both look on the beast from our own fixed positions and agree that it's an elephant yet seeing different things."

        If you want to batter everyone over the head with your gavel, do it in the DEBATE section please. Carol has chosen to share what she knows to be true for herself. She has not beat anyone over the head with her beliefs, let alone ask to consider her views as your own. I find it blatantly disrespectful to target in on someone and tell them what they know to be true wrong just because you feel it is. CLEARLY this question is a subjective matter.

        Thankfully Carol has also chosen not to dignify your replies and insults ("Whatever education you may have, you have demonstrated that you failed to use your logical rational mind to see the delusion of the myth of "one true god").

        Think about re-directing your thoughts in a more appopriate forum.

        That is all I have to say.
        • Oct 27 2011: Nicely said Louise and very to the point of this discussion.
        • Oct 27 2011: Louise,

          Please read the opening statement again. It said, "We can learn by exchanging and discussing our own lists".

          What I have done is in the spirit of discussion.

          As for my list, I don't have one. Life experience cannot be listed as 10 "truths". I am yet to see any evidence that there is any "truth" in all the lists. Yes, many posters have put up insightful viewpoints and I am learning and taking notes. However, delusion are plentiful too.

          The fact that Carol's list has 6 "thumb ups" so far reflects either the feeling that she was a victim of my dissection or that delusion is widespread. So far I have only focused on the last one the list. Here is my full dissection.

          re: 1

          Carol is lucky to be born in the right place at the right place. Not everyone has loved and has been loved. About 30,000 children died of starvation everyday. Are these children loved?

          re: 2

          We have valued our own life too much. Life in fact is cheap. See how political leaders are willing to send other people's children into war, but not their own. Letting 30,000 children die of hunger everyday also illustrates how cheap life is. By placing our own life too high, we lost our compassion to our fellow human being.

          re: 3

          Yes, our biological need is to reproduce. But are we too successful as we shall have the 7 billionth child by the end of this month? My wife and I together have one child. That's more than enough.

          re: 4 - totally agree.

          re: 5

          I suggest if there is another chance of rebirth, try being born at the wrong time at the wrong place. You won't feel so lucky.

          re; 6, 7 and 8 - agree. Laughing is also good for the physical health too. Laughing loudly helps in oxygenation.

          re: 9

          I agree life is short. Human existence is only about 100,000 to 200,000 years out of 4.5 billion years of Earth's existence. While we are here, try not to damage the environment too much and leave a better place for the future.


          I have said too much already.
    • Oct 27 2011: Carol, I love your list!!! Although it is different than mine, I would have had about the same list too, so basically your and mine would be my Top 20!
    • Oct 27 2011: Carol
      I like your list a lot. Thank you.
      • Oct 27 2011: THanks Micheal!

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