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: It seems that, going back in time to study human society it becomes easier to understand the need for rules and regulations, as maybe back then populations were less conscious than populations are today. By reducing human errors to the basic seven sins, the Church only made a synthesis of what was available back then in terms of ethics – woe to those who, with time, finished by getting overly zealous and fought human weakness with scourges (Inquisition, mercenarism, bigotry, etc) worse that the evil itself.
    In fact, I wanted to say that, with good will and awareness, we can turn gluttony, greed, sloth, anger, envy and pride into moderation, chastity, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility (if only there was enough motivation).
    Next, I did allow myself to use the argument of the soul because I strongly believe (better: I know) that our weaknesses are being fed by our egos (very useful for a “local”, limited stage in human society’s progress), and that, as our passage to the next stage we can only perfect ourselves (progress) by letting go of the ego and replacing it with a more universal, “whole” personality centered not around the ego, but around the soul; as a concept, it comes under many different names, but I just want to delimitate it to that aspect of us which is not the body.
    Actually there is this ancient, very rigorous and structured ancient knowledge from the Vedas that seems to me quite explicative and pertinent, in my opinion.
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      Nov 26 2011: Your list of opposites to the seven deadly sins is quotable. Let me call them seven virtues that typify someone who has achieved psychological maturity.

      Soul might be the best vehicle, but it seems to me a distraction from a moral noble cause: achieving psychological maturity within your lifetime.

      It seems to me the better perspective about "soul," is this: I don't know whether soul reflects reality or not, but in my short life, I have not a moment to spare for speculation about it. What other people have to say about soul is of no relevance to the use of my lifetime: I’m focused on behavior grounded in psychological excellence. I am self-reliant in this.

      The idea that errors of the fathers are passed on from generation to generation begins with the emphasis on soul, which one way or another keeps peoples distracted from psychological maturity.


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