TED Conversations

Phillip Beaver

Citizen, Humankind


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Each person is better served by self-reliance within the community of humankind than by subservience to ideologies.

The human path is not easy: Infants are uniformed, illiterate, inarticulate, sexually diffuse, self-centered, and dependent on conflicted societies (Overstreet). Each infant has duty to self to achieve psychological maturity. Societies encourage people to become compliant--to a god or a philosophy and a family and a country and a career. There’s almost no time to “know thy self.”

Each person’s path toward self-discovery is unique within a concurrent 80 years of humankind’s millions of years’ progress (involving perhaps 100 billion people). Thus, "I am" is not alone. The adolescent’s path lags humankind’s maturity, but the adult has the potential to lead.

Justice is necessary for liberty. But is unity beyond I am desirable? I’d like TEDsters’ thoughts.

Perhaps people who acquire hope, humility, and uncertainty develop the necessary, evolving skills for leadership. It is difficult to think of an example for all cultures, but Abraham Lincoln, whose time was cut short, comes to mind. Perhaps TEDsters can suggest people who led/lead humankind’s progress toward psychological maturity.

In addition to H. A. Overstreet's book, The Mature Mind, at least two TEDsters helped inspire this presentation.

1. Matthieu Mossec’s conversation, “Morality is better informed by science than it is by religion.”

2. Leslie Saunders’ phrase “independence within interdependence,” in the conversation, “It seems the conversationalists herein have relegated the golden rule to the world’s list of bad ideas.”

(General revision: 11/20/11, to "subservience to ideologies 11/22, added 2 related talks on 11/29-30, 1 on 12/6/11)


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    Nov 26 2011: Mr Philip,
    I acknowledge that I am myself dismayed at the amount of comments that I have posted in response to your question – I must have let myself going, animated by a subject that touches me at a very personal level.
    For the greatest part your account of my response is accurate, with a few exceptions - I can only regret that I hadn’t made myself clearer.
    The real sense of my words is not that “Maturity does not come easily, because it requires “overpowering [subservience to our] emotions.”, but what I really wanted to say was that maturity does not come easily because it requires emancipation from under the “overpowering [subservience to our] emotions”, among many other things.
    Next, I reminded the sins in the Bible only as a quick and widely known reference, not wanting to send you over to previous codes of ethics that date as back as the codes of law in Babylon, Sumer, India, Egypt, etc. In the Dharmasuttras subjects are tackled on various aspects of social life:

    “intense disputes and divergent views on such subjects as the education of the young, rites of passage, marriage and marital rights, the proper interaction between different social groups, sins and their expiations, institutions for the pursuit of holiness, crimes and punishments, death and ancestral rites. In short, these unique documents give us a glimpse of how people, especially Brahmin males, were ideally expected to live their lives within an ordered and hierarchically arranged society” (from: Dharmasutras: The Law Codes of Ancient India - Oxford World's Classics)
    (I can recommend also: h ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyrian_law)
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      Nov 26 2011: "I am myself dismayed."

      I hope I have not burdened you and in fact you are gratified for the opportunity to share with a serious adult student. Your qualifications and dedication to the issue is obvious. Therefore, I don't want to miss one point you raise.

      Other of my obsessions include "education of the young," and use of religion to oppress women and children. Thus, your references are dear to me. In fact, I have my own fiction regarding Abraham's abuse of Sarah in not revealing his plan to murder his son, and of the son's termination of the act when he cries out, "Dad this is not going to be your sacrifice! It's going to by your murder of me!"


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