João Coucelo

Medical Doctor, Infectious Diseases specialty resident, Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte - Hospital Santa Maria


This conversation is closed.

Now That We Know, What can We Do?

By having access to TED I have access to knowledge and ideas.
Many of those "just" structured feelings, ideas, thoughts, knowledge I already had, other have reinforced tremendously my beliefs and strengthened me to live with hope in a better future for our World.
The question is not to have access to these thoughts and go around telling well structured ideas about different themes and look like a wise person.

The question is how to change and/or improve what needs to be changed/improved? How to use it towards creating a better Human society?

Is it up to the existing lobbies? Is it up to governments? Is it up to each of us?

Applying changes in central issues such as energy production and storage, recycling waste, collective transport, cities structuring, health research, economics, education system, social and spiritual orientation...

It looks like there is a group of well intended changes on hold!

How can they break through? What can we do to help?

Wish you all a fine day or night!

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    Nov 20 2011: For me it's a matter of being, who we are choosing to be at each given moment. It's not about doing and getting results, it's not about walking the talk because, the way I see it, one doesn't do things and hence becomes something. When one is being compassionate, generous, caring, loving doesn't need to walk the talk, one was already walking before talking, if you know what I mean.

    I think sometimes there is the danger of becoming righteous and therefore a little arrogant. We know what we know, we know what we don't know but there's a whole realm of what we don't know that we don't know. In my opinion we should all have the humility to accept that and be willing to respect and love everyone even at the most challenging times. Which is something I think the article Jesse Phillips shared kind of points out.

    This may sound corny, but I think Michael Jackson hit the nail on the head when he wrote 'Man in the mirror' and sang "if you want to change the world take a look at yourself then make a change".

    Nobody is perfect, the fact that I may help an old lady cross the road doesn't make me a full-time compassionate person. I have my nasty moments too, I don't try to be compassionate, I either am or I'm not compassionate, there's no in between.

    Some people may feel intimidated by those who have developed powerful and resourceful leadership skills that are making this world a better place, and may underestimate their own ability to cause change in the world too.

    Education and compassion are powerful tools.

    My point is: it's not what we do it's who we are being at every given moment, and sooner or later it rubs off on others.
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      Nov 20 2011: So many things well said Helena,
      We ARE like mirrors reflecting information back and forth to each other in each and every moment, and if we want to make a change, first we need to look in the mirror. Perhaps with the reflection, we will get information regarding how WE as an individual can make a change.

      To contemplate changing the whole world and all the challenges is intimidating. As I said in a previous comment, the last time I looked, I didn't have much influence with world leaders. However, I KNOW I have influence with the people I talk with who are in abusive relationships. I KNOW I have influence with people who are challenged with depression, and come to the gardens to sit and relax. I KNOW I have influence with the hundreds of people who visit the gardens. I KNOW I have influence with the offender in prison who suddenly sees life differently because we talked. I KNOW I have influence with the person I sit with as s/he is dying. I KNOW that I can influence my brother and his healing as I visit him today in ICU, just as I have been with him every day for the past 2 months. There is also a LOT that I DON'T KNOW, and I will continue to learn as I explore life.

      I do what I do, not to achieve some greater goal, but because it gives me contentment to know that I may have influenced a person or situation, and contributed in some small way IN THE MOMENT.
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        Nov 20 2011: Thank you , Colleen.

        We just never know how much of an impact we can have on someone else by simply being ourselves and how that someone else can consequently impact others.

        You have certainly made a positive impact on me in the past and I know you will continue to do so.

        All the best to you and your brother, I hope he recovers soon.
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          Nov 20 2011: Sometimes we DO know Helena,
          When regaining consciousness after a traumatic head/brain injury, from which I was not expected to live, I recieved cards, notes and letters from people, which often started out with..."You may not remember me, but 5 years ago you said something that changed my life...or 10 years ago, you did something that changed my life...etc.".

          I WAS NOT DOING ANYTHING SPECIAL...simply being kind...maybe listening, understanding, "being" in the moment with these people. This was a great gift to me, to remind me that EVERY SINGLE MOMENT IS IMPORTANT. EVERY INTERACTION IS IMPORTANT. EVERYTHING WE CAN DO IN EACH AND EVERY MOMENT TO CREATE A BETTER SITUATION IS IMPORTANT.

          I didn't know that before...I know it now because of feedback, and one of my consistant messages, is to be present in each and every moment because I realize how we can influence people and situations when we may not recognize our own influence!

          People do NOT need to experience a trauma, as I did, to learn this simple concept. I'm here to share this information:>)

          Thank you for your kind words for me and my brother. You influence me too Helena, and I am grateful for that:>)
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          Nov 24 2011: That is exactly my point Pierre, and I appreciate your opinion. I did not "expect" the responses I got, and even though you may not "expect" those kinds of responses, we never know.

          Thank you for the compliment, and as I said, when I remembered the words or actions that may have changed someone's life, I was not doing anything special...simply genuinely caring about people....being present with them in the moment.

          Sorry Pierre, but I do not believe that the the only emotions a person may generate in people is fear and disgust. We are all capable of compassion, generosity, caring and loving. Being aware of our "self" helps us to connect with those emotions, and being aware of others, helps us understand when we can share those emotions with others.

          I believe that as we share information and connect with each other, our world will continue to change for the better. I believe it is important to "be" and "do" all that we can, as individuals to "be" what we want to "see" in our world. It is a choice in each and every moment:>)
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          Nov 24 2011: Hi Pierre,
          In my perception, most information is recycled, so it doesn't impact me when/if people embrace and re-use information I provide. In fact, I'm quite pleased when people repeat things I've said right here on TED. That means that I am making an impact, I feel honored that people feel the information I provide may be helpful, and that is the "credit" that makes my heart sing:>)

          I agree Pierre, that not all people make choices that are good. However, I also believe that all people have the capability to make good choices. I agree..."things" will not change until more people change...good point:>)

          I think beauty is important to all of us...think about the beauty in nature...the forests...mountains...the warmth of the sun...the sound of the ocean waves...birds child's smile....I could go on forever, but you get the idea? There is beauty all around my humble perception. I do not think/feel that beauty creates injustice, and I appreciate beauty in every single moment:>)
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          Nov 24 2011: BEAUTIFUL POINT PIERRE!!!

          No, I do not believe it is "wrong" to write and publish a can even use some of the information I have provided, and I would be honored:>) I believe that the kinds of ideas we are sharing on TED have been available to us for many centuries...maybe since the beginning of humankind. It seems that as humans, we need to be reminded of some things over and over again. I believe we are fine tuning many ideas, and technology now allows us to share more ideas with each other...don't you think? To me, it doesn't matter what form our sharing takes...videos, books, dialogue with each other...etc. etc. It's all important, and I would never deny myself or others the opportunity to learn and grow in whatever way possible.

          p.s. Since you said in your previous post that you were waiting for my answer, I want to tell you that I am leaving now to visit my brother in the hospital, so if you want to continue this conversation, I will respond later:>)
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          Nov 25 2011: Thank you for your valuable perspectives too Pierre. We are all students and teachers in the life experience, and I appreciate exchanging ideas, thoughts, feelings and opinions.
          Thank you also for your good wishes for my brother...he's doing better:>)
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        Nov 24 2011: Hi Colleen,
        Yes we sometimes do know and it's great that you are aware of how you can impact people's life in such a positive way. It would be a shame if you didn't and you underestimated the power of your kind words and actions. A lot of people would miss out on a lot. But imagine the possible situation where you may have a conversation with someone who is feeling blue and in a bad way, lets say a complete stranger on the bus. You may embark on a trivial conversation but somehow what you say completly shifts his-her frame of mind and that stranger goes and becomes the next Nelson Mandela or Mother Theresa, for example. How many people would you have indirectly made a positive impact on?
        You are right that people don't need to experience a trauma to realise all this however I think you will agree it's a good wake up call. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
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          Nov 24 2011: Hi Helena,
          I believe we impact people all the time. HOW we impact people is the question huh? I know you know this Helena, and I'm simply presenting the idea to continue moving the conversation:>)

          You are absolutely right! We can encourage and support each other on this journey, or we can discourage, undermine someone's self esteem with every interaction. We are mirrors to each other, constantly reflecting information and emotions back and forth.

 experience was a good wake-up call for me in many ways. I was aware of influencing people with each and every interaction...I've gotten enough feed back in my life to be aware of that. I was very surprised to learn about the extent of my influence.

          You are aware of the butterfly effect? The butterfly flutters her wings on one side of the world and impacts someone or something on the other side of the world?

          Or the ripple effect? We watch the ripples in a body of water as they grow, expand and move out farther and farther. This is what I envision for our world and how we will change things:>)
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      Nov 20 2011: Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Probably I didn't understand some lines.
      I think people are in part what they do. I believe that inside we are all made of the same "light" but in this world people are what they do. If a person is reckless and selfcentred I can't say that he/she is compassionate. Yes people are not the same in each moment but if a person is in a overall life of practicing the good they will still have the conscious of what is right and wrong, even to self judge right after they failed their conscious. May be I missed understood what you meant. Sorry in advance.

      Then, I agree with you. It is very easy to fall in intellectual arrogance and I have witnessed this.
      People who indeed know about something and have the right mind set, not only know as also care about more knowledge and different opinions. As important as being open to learn is being ready to share knowledge with those interested.

      Perfect? Well I think that no one is perfect as well. Concepts as perfect, always, never, all, nothing are danger.
      One doesn't need to seek perfection (whatever that means) to practice good actions. Let's say one sets a group of values (pyramid) then does his best to live accordingly and feel as much as possible at peace with self conscious, being it the common one.

      The last part again... In this part are you trying to tackle the comments of giving an opportunity to young people? And the problem that there are leaders in different areas blocking the way and holding back good changes? I can't tell... But yes I very much admire people leading and doing great work towards common well being..

      How to bring more of those in places where matters to a larger number of people?
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        Nov 24 2011: Hello João Coucelo and apologies for the late reply. It's a long one so I will do it in two parts.

        I don't think we are what we do. I know of people who, specially around this time of year, donate considerable amounts of money to some charity, however it's not compassion their core motivator, it's their private agenda(whether it's looking good in front of others or getting self-pomotion, etc.) And yes their donation will be used for a good cause but does that action compensate the fact that some of these people are self-centered, selfish, arrogant people who are mean to their own children and are depriving those around them of their love and compassion? In my opinion just because they donated all that money doesn't make them "good" people, just people with a lot of money.

        The same goes with Colleen. As far as we know, Colleen could've been talking to all those people about the weather, however it was who she was being when talking to them what made a difference. She was just talking, we all do that everyday, we talk, that's an action, words can be very powerful, in a positive way but also in a negative way. Someone else could've said exactly the same words she did and not have had the same effect.

        When I spoke about arrogance I wasn't referring to intellectual arrogance only, I was talking about arrogance at all levels. Sometimes we can become condescending and smug. We think we know better, we do the right things therefore anyone who does things differently is wrong, and maybe we are right but being right doesn't make a difference, doesn't contribute to anyone. There are a lot of things that we completely ignore that we don't know. And that was my point talking about humility and prejudice towards others.
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        Nov 24 2011: I agree that one doesn't need to seek perfection to practice good actions. That's not what I meant when I stated no one's perfect. I still think that trying to be compassionate or trying to save the environment, for instance, is inauthentic and actually takes away all the credit of what one may have done so far. As I said, some days, I'm compassionate, some days I'm not, some days I recycle and walk instead of drive, and some days I indulge in hot baths and can't be bothered to go all the way home to grab my canvas bag before I go to the supermarket.

        Of course I think it's very important to offer young people an education and the opportunities that come with it, but why not offer those to everyone? I wasn't criticising people who take leadership I was just saying that often times, some people feel they cannot contribute to the world in the same way these people do and therefore underestimate what they can actually do. I may not be able to donate great amounts of money to charity or embark in a huge project that will save millions from dying, but I can be someone who is willing to practice every day compassion and integrity although I may not always be successful, and also be someone who will educate her children so they too live their life practising integrity and compassion.

        I'm not sure if I've expressed myself in a more understandable way but feel free to ask and there's no need to apologise. We may simply be of a different opinion, that's all.

        Great debate, by the way, and a pleasure taking part in it.
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          Nov 24 2011: Hello Helena,

          Thank you for answering.

          I believe we see things pretty much alike. Just have a different way to express them.
          I agree with you, there are people that are cynic, fake, egocentric, and I know it because they still, and this I will write has no interest what so ever, they Do it. Doing things is not just to do, so people are what they do, because to do is not just to do, is the way, the moment, the intention.
          I know football players just send money to charity because they get fiscal benefits, they just visit children oncology hospitals to set a frame for their self and sponsors, I think I know that, but who am I to judge? It's their problem, or not. This exactly because people are what they do... being or "to do" all the aspects of doing it. A lot of "do's" in these sentences.

          As with other things, I think it depends on each person... I am terrible on having "guilty pleasures" like a bath tube filled with water... I can't stop thinking about the waste and how it is against my conscious, or wasting food, or spending too much fuel, etc. I just try to do my best according what I know and what I have as resources. Though I can't change the world I can try to be the change I would like to see.

          I don't know how people can do something they know it is not correct in a simple, plain sense, without adding excuses or odd variants. I just imagine... people are confused and many things have been mixed up.

          I don't think that many things being done today will effectively in changing the world, but there are only two options: help improving a certain action or cope with actions being held at the moment if I see they are better than nothing.

          The other part deserves its own comment by it self.
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          Nov 24 2011: What is right or wrong, arrogance or humbleness... a lot to tell here may be it deserves it own discussion!

          Human beings are wired to live in groups, so called societies. We are social beings, who need to interact in order to live and evolve. It is also a fact that we live on Earth and we need spring water, oxygen, food resources being animals or not. We need the nature surrounding.

          This said, we need to care about the common well being: Nature, other animals and beings, each other (already in the category of nature, animals, beings).

          So the right and wrong come from there. We are all different but we need to set common objectives. To truly achieve them we have to love each other, care, be compassionate, tolerant and practice peace. We must respect the "Universe" in order to be correct. Then we must respect this set of values whoever or whatever is at steak.

          We are not correct from the moment we think something is good and perfect to everybody, but we or someone exceptionally and because making mistakes is Human, because we have a special reason do not comply with this values, we can do something else.

          The challenge is not to look like something, so we get benefits or other admire us.

          The challenge is to get home, meditate on our day and be able to understand where we could have done better, then to feel energized to do better tomorrow.

          Once we fail the common well being, then even if we just rationalize, justify and transform that reality, to do that we were aware of the mistake.
          This done over and over will ware off on us and bring frustration, conflict, depression, anxiety... because our soul is the love energy if we use the brain to go against it there will be two opposite forces...there for the problems.
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          Nov 24 2011: Thank you for the kind words about the topic.

          It is always good to have the feedback of people full of ideas and willing to share and set a light on such complex topics.
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        Nov 25 2011: Hi João,

        Yes we do see things pretty much alike, and yes we are what we do, to a certain extent, I just strongly believe that what we do is determined by who we are being in the first place and not the other way round.

        I totally agree with most of what you've said so far. I too find it important that we all take the time to meditate on our day and get present to what we can change and do better. I actually think that this is the main issue with people; we are sometimes not present to the damage and harm we are causing, we are not present to other people's suffering or needs, we are too self-absorbed in a our privileged lives to even pay attention to small details that can make a huge difference.

        I guess that could be one of the keys to making this world a better place; people getting present. I find creativity is a magnificient way to raise awareness. Think of how different the world would be if more people got to really listen and understand John Lennon's lyrics, or movies like 'No man's land', or this year's TEDPrize

        Wouldn't it be wonderful?

        I find your question very pertinent and I assert that, at least the people who joined this conversation, have their thinking caps on and are getting present to the little changes we can all make.
  • Nov 13 2011: Good topic, I agree with what everyone says here.
    "... use our positive powers....words, deeds."
    "... Everything starts with a dream, and we can accomplish much, by working together toward a collective goal."
    "... create a shift in our communities to create a society more focused on each other than on money..."
    All of them are very true, Rhona Colleen, Jesse.
    all I will add is that Individual change / improvement is the key to Collective change / improvment.
    If we choose to understand and follow Gandhi's way of life, then we may achieve more than we have achieved untill now.

    I will recommend reading the following books:

    TO HAVE OR TO BE and FEAR OF FREEDOM, by Erich Fromm
    NON-VIOLENT COMMUNICATION by Marshall Rosenberg
    TAO TE CHING by Lao Tzu

    or watching this:
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      Nov 13 2011: Thank you for the books recommended! I never thought I would be alone in my thoughts but I find very comforting and helping to have feed back from people that are ahead in their knowledge/path and already have read from such wise people.
      Thank you!
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    Nov 15 2011: We must lift up our young in society. I think the bitterest among us, who had a hard time climbing to the top, are too miserly to give an open chance to young people. We should encourage hard work among them of course, but why is it non-existent: a society that widely invests in, actively mentors, and community-raises children to be active, participatory citizens from their young age? Why are we such insufferable gatekeepers--in every industry?

    I recruited a teenager through doing the TED 2011 Wish / Prize in Tokyo! She is a full-time student, but man, does she RUN and JUMP with every opportunity and nudge of encouragement. She put out so much more, with so much more meaning than adults on the team. This week, she'll host the TED x Youth here. She is going to Nepal to introduce potentially useful grain in a few weeks. I hope she wins the Nobel Peace Prize at 17. Why not!
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      Nov 15 2011: Great contribution.
      This is exactly one problem I agree we find.

      Some why people grow in their life and professions, they adapt to certain realities, get used to deal and fix a certain situations or problems and by the time they get to the "top" they tend to hold reality static as much as possible. This happens almost everywhere, from small structures to a complex lobby.

      Two days ago I was thinking about how the generation in power today (mostly people in between 50-70 years old) are the final product of a refined system developed in the last 100 years (roughly). I mean the system where in anything you do there is money, being that the money is bought from banks and invested in specif products of interest and to retrieve profit from that investment people must manipulate as much as they can, and if that means not changing towards a better global reality so be it.

      Now that the system is failing...and at the globalization point (the information changing and access) we stand today, will it be possible for these groups of interests hold evolution towards an all different reality (I mean really different, towards better)?

      Now that we know and see this, will we one day reach a leading role and be afraid from being for gotten? Feel that if we don't keep reality as it is we won't profit from it? Feel that the only way we will keep of being significant is if our experience is the key to most problems? so will we freeze reality yet again and hold back people that can change it? and by doing bringing along new challenges?

      I admire you by opening a door for some one so young even though I don't know the exact way it happened but is good.
  • Nov 4 2011: The most powerful thing we can do is express and insist upon TRUTH.......always or as much as possible. Truth is powerful. I think there is a high correlation between truth and sanity. Furthermore, we are all role models. If we live according to our own highest awareness of what is right, e.g., truth, kindness, others will observe our behavior and the positive payoffs we enjoy as a result of our positive behavior. We can be assertive in positive ways. Simply smiling sometimes causes a smile on the face of someone observing our smile. Let us use our positive powers....words, deeds.
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      Nov 4 2011: Yes. I agree. In what concerns what each of us can do, living to our highest awareness and having light and love in each small action we do is a good way to start part of this change. It is a daily exercise too.
      • Nov 14 2011: Great. Joao. We are working together right now accomplishing our positive goals. YIPPPPPEEEEE for us! Keep expressing your true feelings and thoughts and doing all the positive things you do. You are being effective. POWER TO THE POSITIVE!
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    Nov 19 2011: Fundamental reform in the world starts in the heart of an individual. Be the change you want to see in the world. It is as simple as that.
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    Nov 14 2011: Sometimes I listen to music and lyrics and they just tell so much about what I wanted to tell everyone... if only people would listen and feel them...

    I can't say that there is a certain musician who does it in each music... but there is a group of songs that have it their... is it a way to spread better messages?

    I am thinking about:

    The Black eyed peas - where is the love
    Imagine - John Lennon
    Midge Ure - Breathe
    Bob Marley - One love
    Bob Marley - Three Little Birds
    Coldplay - Yellow
    Jason Mraz - I am yours
    Pachelbel Canon in D
    Nessum Dorma - Luciano Pavarotti
    Beethoven: Bagatelle in A minor

    These are just few I listen to... doesn't mean I listen with these alignment. I know there are more... more musics that are just full of love, peace, energy and good vibes... couldn't they be contagious? Or be more used to cheer us each morning or afternoon? Is music one more way to breach in what concerns spiritual well being?
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    Nov 13 2011: Act right. Take the right action in harmony with the knowing of the truth. This will always result in the common good.
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      Nov 13 2011: I agree, the problem is that we all have seen the truth being adapted to what is more suitable on the moment.

      I dislike the concept of truth because I can never tell that something is not true. It depends on the perspective and your belief, I always tell people that I have no 100% reason and neither they have.

      To selfless share love, be kind and compassionate, to be tolerant is different. It doesn't depend on the perspective it happens when concept less one wishes and work towards the common well being of other and not towards a particular interest.
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        Nov 13 2011: "Be kind, Be compassionate, Selflessly share love" would work since your intention is to bring about the common good. I hope for everyone to be happy!!
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          Nov 14 2011: João and Juliette,
          Selflessly sharing love, kindness, and compassion is a GREAT place to start changing our world:>)

          I also agree with Edwin, that "individual change/improvement is the key to collective change/improvement". "Be" the change we want to see in our world:>)
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        Nov 14 2011: João, I agree with your thoughts about the truth, if people were more open to the idea that the truth might be wholly unknowable (similar to Plato's idea of Forms) than people might be more understanding of one another. Also this idea helps with paradigm paralysis, where people develop mental models that negate their greater prosperity and negatively impact the world but they can't see that their mental models are wrong or at least prohibitive of their prosperity, that they are hurting instead of helping.

        I also agree with Jullete that we should strive for the truth and to act in harmony with right action. But finding the right action is difficult! And I will also agree with Edwin and Colleen! Glad we have such agreeable people in the world and such good ideas to talk about.

        How can we best spread these ideas of compassion and individual change outside of the TED discussion board?
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    Nov 13 2011: Hello João...good question:>)
    I think/feel that first we need to be clear in our "self" about what we want to do, and how we can realistically reach our goals. I agree with Jesse, Rhona and you, that we need to start with small steps within ourselves to do our part, as well as be good role models for others. Everything starts with a dream, and we can accomplish much, by working together toward a collective goal. We all have different skills, talents, thoughts, and ideas, that pooled together, can be very powerful in our world. People sometimes get frustrated by looking at the big picture, and it seems overwhelming. When we each create one small change at a time, anything is possible:>)
  • Nov 24 2011: I have been applying it to my job, life & spreading to others at the same time. Knowing is the important step of doing something.

    It is not necessarily possible to act on everything you know.
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      Dec 1 2011: Hello Shokrullah:>)
      This is very wise my friend..."Knowing is the important step of doing...", and it is not necessarily possible to act on everything you know".

      I think the concepts of "knowing" and "doing", sometimes actually stop progress. When people "know" all that needs to be done to change our world, it sometimes feels overwhelming, and people don't know where to start, so it immobilizes the efforts. We sometimes depend on governments, world leaders, big industry to make the changes. We need to contribute as individuals in every moment of our you say our job and every aspect of our lives. These efforts may not seem like anything as we evaluate the importance, but many little steps by many people lead to change.

      "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop"
      (Mother Theresa)
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    Nov 16 2011: Fabulous question! And I think its worth saying that it is THE question for people who have figured out who they are and what their passion and mission really is. With global communications and community building social media etc, it is now more possible than ever for people to actually effect real and positive change. So what to do?

    What ever your field or industry Be a thought leader! Be a real scholar and disciplined thinker and know the problems of that field.

    Be a leader! To me this means Creating a Vision for The Future and then COMMUNICATING that vision. It means being a great communicator and teacher. It means giving yourself to it and realizing that the vision is bigger than just you, its your whole field or industry that is with you. It means being very visible in your community and in your field. It means being at the cutting edge of innovation and being willing to think outside your box and look at new even "weird" solutions in an academically disciplined way.

    I'm in the US and in the finance end of the housing industry. We have tremendous problems. Many families in a form of debt slavery. Yet there is new knowledge and technology of how people can manage and reduce debt 2 to 5 times faster than ever before. For many people it can easily be done.

    So what can I DO? Just what I said before. Be a thought leader, a communicator, a teacher.

    So for whatever a person is passionate about - go do it and be a thought leader. Create new visions.

    Thanks for THE great question!
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    Nov 16 2011: I think people become fearful with age. They get a family, a job that pays well and a mortgage. It is a comfortable plateau that they don't want to shake up. Perhaps, also subconsciously, they are afraid of anyone else changing it (i.e. young people)---and they actively set up systems to stop it.

    Huge student loans cripple young people. However, having to get a degrees in university in the first place can be a waste of time (when in many jobs, you can realistically learn on-the-job). Moronic movie and pop culture is designed to occupy minds. Huge financial barriers to get a home, makes people spend too much time worrying about making rent and where to live etc. In the US, lack of health care (still) cripples families. Finally, waging wars that takes the lives of so many capable young people overseas and to death.

    There are so many anti-youth industries and polices in place.
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    Nov 13 2011: Good topic of discussion Mr. Coucelo. I enjoyed Iain McGilchrist's talk on the divided brain, at the end I was wondering what can be done to be more aware of "the gift" in our daily lives and to create a shift in our communities to create a society more focused on each other than on money or technology, on the real over the virtual, on communal living over bureaucracy, on the how more than the what.

    I think Rhona makes a good point, to live by example and search for truth in our own lives. But what can we do (here I go with my left hemisphere again) to create goals to shift our focus away from power and control and back to freedom and uniqueness? What ideas work to achieve this?
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      Nov 13 2011: Thank you. I had been tempted to close this conversation because I felt it is to broad to engage in simple comments.

      On other level, comes to my mind how can our simple actions influence more than our "small" universe, I try every day like a daily exercise of compassion, selfless kindness, love, tolerance, non-violence, I meditate each day and if there are small actions, attitudes I had that were mistakes by what I need to achieve I feel bad about it but I understand this as part of a long term learning "project" called life.

      When I look into our world and try to understand global problems, lets say "hunger & poverty (not only poor countries) and actions taken by charity institutions in distributing food and helping", if we take time and understand it from the basis we realize that to change the global paradigm it is not theoretically difficult and after few months or weeks I actually manage to take it "all" into a scheme that summarizes it...

      In the end I just ask "okay it would take an all hearted, compassionate, brave group of people, but if I can see it how is it possible that the people in charge don't?”
      I can't belief they don't, so I must ask why don't people take the good path.
      A good path is not abstract, it is one where we truly wish other people well, one where we don't look to a problem and try to create a solution that parasites on the problem because now we have to come with solutions to the problems and the "solutions" living around them.

      Besides our inner path that I belief it can collectively help because what we do can be reflected on our communities I also ask what will it take to our world leaders realize that the only true interest is a global one and not particular interests from particular nation or lobbies that just want to protect and expand their power?
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        Nov 14 2011: "why don't people take the good path." Great question! One I am deeply interested in finding good answers to. More specifically I am looking for solutions to the question, "Why do we often act in ways that negate our greater prosperity?" But I believe being compassionate and taking the good path is essential to our greater prosperity.

        "what will it take to our world leaders realize that the only true interest is a global one and not particular interests from particular nation...?"

        Another good question. I think it is hopeful to think that in ancient greece even local city states were at war, societies that lived as little as hundreds of feet away from each other were at war. Now we have much larger global communities, perhaps we will one day reach a time where we see all communities as one.

        "...or lobbies that just want to protect and expand their power?"

        I think this part is related to why people don't take the good path. People don't understand that their happiness lies more in being compassionate towards others than worrying about their own self. Check out this article by McMahon author of Happiness, A History:
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          Nov 14 2011: One of my utopia dreams is that one day there won't be the concept of countries, or continents as concepts of division, just as concepts of geography.

          Sometimes it looks that Human conscience takes a little while to assimilate reality and then transform the way things are perceived .
          About now, I can't see me as a Portuguese, a Spanish or Czech, I can't think of a person race as more than a factor that give me information about diseases incidence, such as any other that characteristic...
          With the globalization and a world in deep need of a global spiritual awaking as a driving force toward an extensive list of changes I foresee (or wish) that we will head towards a global conscious. I hope.
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          Nov 18 2011: Good article Jesse:>)
          There are a couple ideas that jumped out at me while reading the article, which I believe to be very relevant to the questions you ask above...
          "Why do we often act in ways that negate our greater prosperity?"

          The article reminds us that happiness is not "out there" somewhere...we can create happiness in and around us in each moment. The article also says there are things that are "within our power" to change. I believe many times people give up their own power, in favor of waiting for someone or something else to "create" for them. We are sometimes waiting for the government to "fix" things, or some people may be waiting for their religion to "fix" things...waiting for another member of their family, a partner, etc. etc. etc. Each and every one of us can re-connect with our true power to change our world.

          You ask...
          "what will it take to our world leaders realize that the only true interest is a global one and not particular interests from particular nation...?"
          We ARE the leaders...we ARE the nation...we ARE the people who make up the groups who make the decisions regarding what is important to us as individuals AND the whole.

          "People don't understand that their happiness lies more in being compassionate towards others than worrying about their own self".
          I agree Jesse, and when we re-connect with our own power (authenticity and unconditional love) we also become more aware of the whole, and the fact that we are all connected. When we are "taking" from the whole, depleting the resources that sustain us all, we are actually undermining our own happiness. We can understand this only by connecting with, and being aware of the whole.
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        Nov 15 2011: I think we are getting there! Look at how little conflicts and slavery exist globally because of differences in geographical location. Did you read Happiness, the Hard Way?

        I think the idea of Eudaimonia is a very powerful concept and agree with McMahon's conclusion that, "we might focus less on our own personal happiness and instead on the happiness of those around us, for relentless focus on one’s own happiness has the potential to be self-defeating."

        And the idea of Eudaimonia, namely that compassion for our fellow man is our greatest virtue, relates back to McGilchrist's conclusion that we must focus less on the static non-living objects and more on how we should best use objects and act ourselves in the context of the living world.
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          Nov 15 2011: Quote: "Look at how little conflicts and slavery exist globally."
          Do I read this well or isn't it what it says?

          Today our world counts more slaves than all slaves put together in previous history. And also about conflicts I think there are more than you know about.

          Yet I like your positivity. Maybe it's better not to know.
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          Nov 15 2011: I already read the article! Very nice analyses of its evolution and actual meaning. A lot to explore there and surely to keep in mind. It is interesting how things come together.

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        Nov 15 2011: Frans,

        I had originally typed a much longer response explaining my point but accidentally refreshed my browser and was too lazy to retype everything. Also you cut my sentence short which changes the point I was making...

        Instead of defending (I am after all not here to argue but to discuss for our mutual benefit) my point I will direct you to Steven Pinker's talk:

        "Steven Pinker charts the decline of violence from Biblical times to the present, and argues that, though it may seem illogical and even obscene, given Iraq and Darfur, we are living in the most peaceful time in our species' existence."

        Although you may very well be right in saying, "Today our world counts more slaves than all slaves put together in previous history. And also about conflicts I think there are more than you know about."

        I would prefer to remain positive and to know. As I stated previously, "we should strive for the truth".

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    Nov 18 2011: now that we know we must take action I think.
    yet there is a problem in here: the problem of knowledge. do we really and genuienly know? what do we know really?how can we know what we know? Is there a source or a stable standpount by which to measure what we know?are we at the ending steps of knowledg or just the beginning?can we be sure?

    sorry to answer with Qs...:)
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      Nov 19 2011: Dear Zahra,
      You ask some good questions...."what do we know really? how can we know what we know?"

      As João states in his introduction to this discussion..."It looks like there is a group of well intended changes on hold! How can they break through? What can we do to help?"

      One thing we know for sure, is that abuse and violation of rights is not acceptable....yes? We can take every small or giant step to change violation of human rights for anyone and everyone. This may mean taking action on a local level, or on a global level. Every journey starts with a single step. Every change starts with awareness.

      Another thing we KNOW is that people who are deprived human rights do not flurish....yes? Human rights, in my perception means very basic necessities like food, water, shelter, safety, freedom from harm. We can take steps on local and global levels to start ensuring that all people have very basic needs met.

      I believe we are at the beginning of a new time.....a time for us to realize our connections to each other and awareness/mindfulness in moving toward answering your questions:>)
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        Nov 19 2011: dear colleen
        thanks for the elaboration
        I should say I believe in the old adage "every little heps" or that "charity starts at home"
        I do believe that nothing will chnage unless we want it to.
        an last but far from least, that Samerset Maugham was totally right when he said" life has a funny quality.If you refuse to accpept anything but the best it will come to you":)
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      Nov 19 2011: Hi!
      Colleen and other answered part of the questions, but yes we have to go even further seeking for objective answers.

      If you noticed the videos added there are two kind of videos. Half are more about spiritual/self awareness and behavior changes, other half about examples of new technologies in critical areas such as energy and recycling.

      What do I mean by "now that we know, what can we do?" ?
      At a practical level, behind our arbitrary choice of practicing good and being the change we want to see in the world, what can we do so the system changes without having to go through a war? Without any major one moment revolution?

      We may well do what we have written here so far and I know that it is important and at the level of family, community and our limited world it is important, but behind this reach what can we do?
      We all know that politicians are bought and instrumented by lobbies, and by doing it so, we have a system that works not towards the common interest but only towards their own.
      Imagine how the world can be changed if energy become "no power plant at all?" imagine how the world change if plastic becomes really recyclable? or if there is a change in political behavior towards creating governments who care about people instead of caring about the system and lobbies in control? Imagine a government really opting in the best interest of their people?

      I mean what can we do besides being good "shepards", working on being even better "shepards" and evolving our inner and people surrounding us spiritual awareness ? What can we do to overcome the established, suffocating system? The system is prepared to take advantage from most of the behaviors taken so far and then dissolve them and turn them into meaningless movements that later become part of the problem..
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    Nov 18 2011: Yes... Oh.. Its true... I saw this clip the other day... It is indeed something extraordinary!
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    Nov 16 2011: Thank you for the great contribution.

    Again TED is worth reading, this is what I like about it. People put in words their thoughts. Some how I think I had these thoughts before, but didn't manage to get it in words that were simple to read as yours, and thoughts become real and meaningful when shared by any kind of language.

    "Be a real scholar and disciplined thinker and know the problems of that field."
    "means giving yourself to it and realizing that the vision is bigger than just you,"
    "means being at the cutting edge of innovation and being willing to think outside your box"

    I think your text has here three great messages to take into our lives.

    At the end of these 29 days of open conversation It will be great to sum these with other comments here written and take lessons from these experiment.

    Imagine these attitudes you mentioned joined with "compassion, kindness, sharing, loving, non-violent, truth" and a "must lift up our young in society"...

    Thank you once again.
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      Nov 18 2011: Good summation so far! I wonder if it might be helpful to create more concrete goals to effect change. My guess is that the people in this discussion already do much to advance good works in their own communities. Perhaps there is some way we can support each other, to advance the goals each of us have for our local communities?

      For instance, it seems the most material contributions so far has been that we must support our youth. How can we best support our youth and end anti-youth industries?
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        Nov 18 2011: My guess also is that those who appear on this thread are already "doing" and "being" to advance the goals each of us have for our world. We are supporting each other with this conversation...planting seeds...sharing ideas...sharing a dream...everything starts with a dream:>)

        One way to help support our youth is with mentoring programs, which connect good adult role models with kids at risk.
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          Nov 20 2011: Of course supporting each other and sharing dreams is good and the people in this discussion are already being the change we want to see in the world, but how do we judge if what we are doing is enough or if our actions will be successful in achieving our goals?

          Often I am impatient and want all injustice and behavior that does not have compassion as its driving force to stop immediately. Of course this is a bit unreasonable.

          I do think perhaps it would be helpful if we expressed dreams that are more concrete than to be compassionate and to be the change you want, etc.

          Being a disciplined thinker in a specific field and to push the bounds of originality is a bit more concrete but still overly vague. Perhaps I am over thinking the need for concrete goals?
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        Nov 18 2011: Mr. Philips I think you are just right!

        Well... in my world...
        Where I work is difficult to do something that would have a impact... I am just starting and when depending so much on other people to progress in my carrier (I just started my specialty) steps and attitudes have to be taken wisely.

        But there are things that can't hurt. Being honest, straight forward, respecting other people.
        Respecting other people can be done on everything, from not standing in the middle of the corridor as if there weren't other people going through, to going to the w.c. and not living toilet paper on the floor and a mess behind, to not speak loud so you don't have to move, to simply remembering the common well functioning and being of other people at each moment instead of thinking only about the things you have to do, not caring about the means you use to achieve what you need or the personal problems someone has with you or otherwise.

        What concerns environment I try my best with electricity, garbage, rationally using water, minimizing food wastes, using car as little as possible, not spoil places like dunes, beach, ocean.

        What concerns eating and exercising... I don't need even to talk, by behaving so differently people around are the one's "picking" on me. They agree I do the right thing, but they just wish they could they don't even try.Fortunately I found 2 or 3 people alike.

        Now I was recalling these things I realized how annoying people find my way of being.

        Each day I try to set an example, I do not compete with anyone I just try to be at peace with nature and my consciousness... If people would try do this first they would become insane...then at peace...
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          Nov 20 2011: João Coucelo

          Great attitude! I wish everybody would read this article, to be aware of their "default self" so that they might act more like you! The following is a great article by David Foster Wallace:

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          Nov 20 2011: João Coucelo, don't focus on the people who you think find your way of being annoying. Focus on those who admire and have great respect for your way of being. I think you'll find the numbers are far bigger.
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          Nov 20 2011: Hi Helena,
          I agree...focus on the people and projects in our world that we believe in. What we focus on expands:>)
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          Nov 20 2011: Hi Colleen!

          Right on! Good to see your smily face again.
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          Nov 20 2011: Thanks Helena...always nice to see your smiling face too:>)

          I can relate to what João says about people "picking" on him for having certain practices regarding the environment. My parents always conserved, recycled, reused, and restored EVERYTHING, and we always had gardens to grow our own food, so I grew up with those practices, which seemed very logical to me, so I continued the practices as a young adult. Many friends "picked" on me over the years because they felt that conserving our resources was not that important. 45 years ago, protecting and conserving our resources was not talked about as much, but it ALWAYS felt like the thing to do for me, whether or not we knew the environment was threatened. So, I experienced some verbal abuse over the years for being conservative and aware of the environment. I focused onwhat I care about, and it didn't matter what people said to me. It feels GREAT that now, so many people are starting to agree!!!
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          Nov 20 2011: Yes Colleen, unfortunately there are people who instead of thinking: "Hang on a minute, here's something that works, let me model it" they choose to criticise and or pick on others, just simply cause they ignore the potential positive impact or don't know any better or doubt they are capable of achieving the same results. Their critique is really unimportant, what's important is that one sticks to one's guns, sooner or later, everything falls into place.
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          Nov 20 2011: Yes...yes...yes Helena!!!
          I posted this quote on another thread recently, it seems to reinforce what you say, and is relevant with so many life challenges.

          "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
          (Marianne Williamson - A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles)
          I believe Nelson Mandela quoted this in a speach, and credit is often given to him.

          To me, the word God does not refer to an individual entity, but rather, to the energy that powers and connects all of us as human beings..
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        Nov 20 2011: Dear Jesse,
        You ask..."how do we judge if what we are doing is enough or if our actions will be successful in achieving our goals?"

        How would it be to suspend judgment, and realize that we may be doing as much as we CAN realistically do at any given time? What each of us can do as individuals may not EVER be enough to achieve the goals we would like to see manifest in this world. Together, however we CAN do it.

        You say..."Often I am impatient and want all injustice and behavior that does not have compassion as its driving force to stop immediately. Of course this is a bit unreasonable".

        This is not an unreasonable goal to work toward fact...I think it's very reasonable. However, you probably cannot do it alone, and this is where we can do our part as individuals, and trust that there are many other individuals working toward the same goals. What we focus on expands. If we focus on impatience, that is what we create in our world. If we focus on what we as individuals can contribute to the whole, we have a better chance of making progress.

        The things that get in our way, are impatience, frustration and anger at what we have created. It would be wonderful to see changes happening over night, and I do not think/feel that is realistic, so I accept and appreciate the progress that we are making in each and every moment.

        If you "think perhaps it would be helpful if we expressed dreams that are more concrete than to be compassionate and to be the change you want, etc.", then DO IT Jesse. We are all capable of contributing in many different ways, depending on what our talents, skills and interests are.

        It feels like you are waiting for someone to tell you what steps to take? You write..."I wish everybody would read this article, to be aware of THEIR "default self" so that THEY might act more like you". We all need to change our belief that THEY (whoever THEY are) are going to do something, and realize that WE need to take action in whatever way we can.
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          Nov 20 2011: "In view of the fact that all knowledge and every pursuit aims at some good, what it is that we say political science aims at and what is the highest of all goods achievable by action. Verbally there is very general agreement; for both the general run of men and people of superior refinement say that it is happiness, and identify living well and doing well with being happy; but with regard to what happiness is they differ, and the many do not give the same account as the wise. For the former think it is some plain and obvious thing, like pleasure, wealth, or honour; they differ, however, from one another—and often even the same man identifies it with different things" -Aristotle

          I think, unfortunately, there is a difference between the many and the few. To say that humanity "may be doing as much as we can realistically do at any given time" seems to admit that the many cannot become wise, for how can humanity be doing everything we realistically can do to better our world when the many think happiness is some obvious thing? Or worse to admit that there is no distinction between the many and the few and that humanity "may be doing as much as we can realistically do at any given time" suggests that none of us can improve ourselves, because if we are doing as much as we can do at any given time how can we improve ourselves?

          I agree that we cannot do it alone, so, in the spirit of expressing our dreams for review and discussion, with the hope that by accepting critique about our dreams we may find more success and better effect change, I admit that my dream is to create a collection of ideas that seeks to discuss answers that aid us in living and doing well both as individuals and as social beings. I also coach youth water polo, run a company, and try to live compassionately. Ideas from TED Talks provide seemingly limitless insight to help answer this question. But I still have much work to do on the collection of ideas before it is ready to be reviewed.
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        Nov 20 2011: João has offered some very simple basic ideas that we can all embrace, to make our world a little better, and although they may not make a big impact if one or two people practice these habits, just imagine what might happen if a majority of people in our world embraced these practices?

        I volunteered with the dept. of corrections facilitating cognitive self change sessions, as well as various other programs, volunteered at a womens shelter, family center, was an advocate and case reviewer for children in state custody, volunteered at a terminal care facility and guest lectured on the topic of violence and abuse in relationships.

        I served on the local planning commission and development review boards, and presently serve on the regional planning commission, transportation advisory committee, project review committee, and brownfields committee (reviews toxic sites for clean-up and redevelopment). I reported a local toxic business to the environmental board years ago, even though my home was damaged and my life threatened. I have extensive gardens, which clean the water and air and provide beauty, joy and food.

        I'm not blowing my horn here, I'm simply offering some ideas. What can each of us do at any given time? Again...what are our interests? Skills? Talents? Resources? I have not been sitting back waiting for the government or some other entity to take charge at any time in my life. When I noticed something that I could realistically do, I did it, and continue to do it.

        "One of the great difficulties in the new order of thought is that we are likely to indulge in too much theory and too little practice"
        "The Science of Mind" - Ernest Holmes

        It actually kind of bugs me when people keep talking about these things...I agree with Ernest Holmes...too much theory and too little practice...I say just do it!
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        Nov 20 2011: Dear Jesse,
        I totally agree with humans, we identify with different things.

        I did not "admit" to anything, nor did I say that we cannot improve...please read my comment again? I simply suggested to "suspend judgment". It is very possible to be doing as much as we can at any given time, AND there is ALWAYS room for improvement, as individuals and as a whole. My policy and life practice, is to build on what I/we have, rather than judge myself and others to be wrong or deficient.

        You say that..."Ideas from TED Talks provide seemingly limitless insight to help answer this question. But I still have much work to do on the collection of ideas before it is ready to be reviewed".

        That's ok...if you want to continue to review the information, that is a choice you make which I respect and admire. I, and many others have made a choice to act on the information we have at any given time. For you to say what I and others are doing is not enough, doesn't feel very good to me. The last time I checked, I didn't have much influence with world leaders, so I know I cannot change the world over night. I CAN, however, influence in some way, each and every person I interact with in each moment, and that is as much as I can do in the moment. I can be aware of people and the environment and do whatever I can to protect them whenever possible....that's all I'm saying:>)
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          Nov 20 2011: Good points! But how can we build on what we have if we do not evaluate what we are doing and find areas where we can improve?

          Also, I never intended the notion that you are not doing enough and apologize if this is how you took a previous comment. I did propose the notion that we could all benefit from examining our actions so that we may be more successful in achieving our goals. I believe one of the purposes of friendship is to call our actions and beliefs into question so that we may improve one another, "The friendship of good men is good, being augmented by their companionship; and they are thought to become better too by their activities and by improving each other."

          João's description for this conversation is that "By having access to TED I have access to knowledge and ideas. Many of those "just" structured feelings, ideas, thoughts, knowledge I already had, other have reinforced tremendously my beliefs and strengthened me to live with hope in a better future for our World. The question is not to have access to these thoughts and go around telling well structured ideas about different themes and look like a wise person. The question is how to change and/or improve what needs to be changed/improved? How to use it towards creating a better Human society?"

          Which is why I said, "I wonder if it might be helpful to create more concrete goals to effect change. My guess is that the people in this discussion already do much to advance good works in their own communities. Perhaps there is some way we can support each other, to advance the goals each of us have for our local communities?"

          If you are one of the people who already do much to advance good works in your community that is awesome, I was trying to question how we solve more concrete problems as João requested in his description: "energy production and storage, recycling waste, collective transport, cities structuring, health research, economics, education system, social and spiritual orientation..."
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        Nov 21 2011: I agree Jesse...
        Evaluating how we can improve, examining our actions in order to be more successful in achieving our goals, questioning our actions and beliefs as friends, having access to knowledge and ideas, and all of these ideas can be put into practice to change and/or improve society.

        Which is why I said, it is up to each and every one of us as individuals to evaluate, examine, question our actions and beliefs, gain knowledge and put it into practice:>)

        When I ask myself, what I am going to do about "energy production and storage, recycling waste, collective transport, cities structuring, health research, economics, education system, social and spiritual orientation", etc. etc., it feels overwhelming to me, and I think many people experience a sense of frustration when looking at the big picture. It feels impossible to correct all the challenges facing the entire world. I focus on, and practice whatever I can in the moment, and that's all I can do. If you want to tackle all the issues you mention Jesse, my love and energy are with you in your quest:>)

        I believe that we all have different interests, talents, skills, time committments, financial resources, etc.,at different phases of our lives, and with each of us contributing mindfully to the whole we will creat changes.