TED Conversations

Sartaj Anand

Founder, Egomonk , Melton Foundation


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Fill in the Blank - If I knew I could not fail I would ___________ ?

The question is simple and self-explanatory but I would request you all to think for some time before you answer it.

" Change the world " is a satisfactory (and abstract) answer but is that something which concerns You the most at this moment in your life. So, what would You do if You knew You could not fail ?

My Answer -

If I knew I could not fail I would fall in Love.


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    Dec 9 2011: I would bring down the white house, capital hill and all of the world banks so they can stop oppressing people.
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      Dec 9 2011: A fan of the Occupy movement then ?
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        Dec 9 2011: Well since I was 18 I've disliked the U.S. government and capitalism so my views extend well beyond that of the Occupy Movement but to answer your question yes, I'm in full support of the Occupy Movement.

        But if you ask me, what I stated should have happened a long time before this movement began
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          Dec 14 2011: Do you just seek to destroy what is? Or does your ambition extent to the point of replacing it with something better?
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          Dec 14 2011: I'm pretty much with you on the current US government, though I have to admit, I still believe we live in a democracy, so it's really mostly our fault for electing them. I blame people who listen to advertising, not people who advertise... There will always be wolves, you just can't let yourself be a sheep... In my humble opinion...

          On Capitalism, I am curious though, if you have a particular ism in mind to replace it? Honestly I feel the same way about capitalism, as I do about democracy, "It's the worst form of governance, except of course, every other that humanity has yet tried" Winston Churchill.

          I see lots of people flaming capitalism, lately, and I feel like I'm unaware of a new philosophy of economic governance that has arisen... because, yes capitalism is horrible, and unchecked it leads to extreme wealth distributions... but so does everything else humanity has tried. So I've always felt it was democracies job, to keep capitalism in check. I've always thought it was encumbent upon us as people, to use the tools of democracy to put capitalism in check.

          What I can't give up, in capitalism is the big thing "merit based pay"... I've always thought, that as a fundamental philosophy for building widgets, planting crops, or writing code... There are measurable metrics and outcomes, and some people do better than others, and for that skill they should be rewarded with the little perks society has to offer.

          I believe Japan has a capitalist system with a 150 to 1 rule, so that basically the CEO can't pay himself more than 150 times what he pays his lowest paid worker. So if your Janitor makes 10k a year, you can make up to 1.5 million... If you janitor makes 50k, you could make 7.5 million. So it's what I would call "capitalism up to a point", a point at which the society say's "hey you're not that good, you're greedy". I kind of like this idea... Do you have a philosophy you're backing in the future?
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      Dec 9 2011: I hope your chosen profession is not home repair and maintenance Mr. Hawkins. If you found a serious problem with a structure you would "bring it down" rather than identifying the cause and fixing the problem?Re-staff the White House and Capitol Hill by exercising your right to support and elect candidates you identify with. But perhaps the representative republic form of government cannot meet your needs, in which case you would be better served by moving to a country that has your preferred form of government which is apparently vastly different from our form here in the USA.
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        Dec 14 2011: I usually get that argument but I do not feel as though I should have to get up and leave. It was not my choice to be born in the U.S. just how it is not the choice of an individual who is born into a corrupted Indian government and stuck in a family of 27..

        To put it quite simply I am not a big fan of American exceptionalism because it comes a very terrible price morally, politically, economically and environmentally. Positive change is not going to come about through an incremental political system and it is because politics are not designed to function that way. Politicians are not concerned about the interest of the whole. What they are concerned about is their interest and the interest of those close to them. You can argue that everyone is concerned about their own personal interest and those close to them but not many people will do it at the expense of others in a deliberate manner.

        Once people realize their interest, how politicians do not serve their interest, how they can empower themselves, who they are and what they can do to alleviate suffering around the world and to know that that change do not have to come to them at the expense of their other interest (family, work, etc), I think things will change but the way our political system is at the moment I honest do not see what I'm talking about happening anytime soon
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          Dec 14 2011: For you to move to a country which has the form of government closest to the one you long for was just a counter-proposal to bringing down the White House, Capitol Hill and all the world banks. If you go with my suggestion many people who love the United States, with all of her flaws, could continue to enjoy life here and you could enjoy life as a citizen of your new country. It sounds like a win-win to me.
          By the way, it is not clear to me, were you born into a family of 27 in a country with a corrupted Indian government? If so, why did you come to a country you clearly do not like?
        • Dec 14 2011: Edward,

          Your ideas about Orlando's residence & opinion amount to you thinking if he maintains residence in America he must either 1) LIke it, 2) Leave it, but on your terms, or 3) dislike it, but on your terms.

          And that's simply absurd. It's so absurd it betrays the color of intelligence you're attempting to project.

          For example, while you've let on as though you've built an invulnerable argument, saying, "to move to a country which has the form of government closest to the one you long for was just a counter-proposal to bringing down the White House, Capitol Hill and all the world banks." completely forgetting that his response was an answer to the question:

          "Fill in the Blank - If I knew I could not fail I would ___________ ?"

          So then his response is *not* an expression of what he *is* doing, or *does* wish to do, rather, what he'd do in a reality constructed by a hypothetical question.

          In your treatment of his response, you've approached his hypothetical plans as though they are his *real* plans. Which, as I've read them are clear enough for an unprejudiced reader.

          Moreover, you pretend to ignore the hardships that one encounters attempting to expatriate from the US. However, even if you know them, it doesn't matter because frankly, since you don't like his opinion, you don't care about his well being.

          And, it's okay not to care about his well being. It sad for you that the reason you don't care *is* because he doesn't share your opinion. Since Orlando hasn't shared what his preferred form of government is your suggestions about him finding somewhere else is completely based on ignorance, as it is most caustic & prejudiced too.

          Your analogy was ridiculous. Your 3 options of no option is absurd. The problem isn't a lack of representatives, it's your notion: Be like me or you suck & are wrong.

          I hope your profession doesn't include repairing or solving problems because your approach to this would leave projects worse off than without you.
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        Dec 14 2011: I see what your getting at.

        As Ive mentioned to Tishe, I did not come from a family of 27. I was basically saying that it was no more my fault for being born in the U.S. as it is for an individual who is born into a corrupted Indian political system and lives in a household of 27. It was a point of comparison

        I understood what you were saying and my apologies if it seemed like I was engaging in polemics. What I was simply saying is that if this is my home, I should take part in improving it as opposed to running away.

        In regards to my very first comment I think most of the world issues a direct result of what goes on in Washington D.C. as well as the world banks and if they were dismantled and replaced with another system that tries to alleviate the suffering of the whole (not everybody of course since this would be impossible), that would be far better than a system we have now.

        now your correct that the U.S. is a better place to live than most other places but because of this it is also assumed that because the U.S. is a great place to stay it and many people immigrate here, it creates the illusion of it being "THE PLACE" to be and does not consist of problems of its own. If that was not the case, then the American Dream would have died out long ago.
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          Dec 14 2011: We're good Orlando, thanks for your cool-headed response.. In today's volatile climate words and phrases like "bring down" have a chilling aspect to them.
          What makes the USA a good country is the fact that her constitution is a living document which can be amended. Citizens are free to participate in the system although most choose not to. I think carelessness and apathy on the part of our citizens is what puts the wrong people in office. I am happy to hear that you intend to take part in improving America, she sure needs help now more than ever!
          Calvin Coolidge said: "Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country."
          No surrender Orlando!
      • Dec 14 2011: " I hope your chosen profession is not home repair and maintenance Mr. Hawkins. If you found a serious problem with a structure you would "bring it down" rather than identifying the cause and fixing the problem?" ~Edward

        Orlando hasn't expressed discovering a problem with the relevant "structure", rather, his problem is with the "content". Which is to say, his problem isn't with the buildings but the goings-on in the buildings, or, not with the automobile but with how the driver drives.

        Clearly, Orlando's objection has not been, even from his first comment, about the structure (either physical or functional) of American government, but the choices officials are making while executing their duties, as well as the world's leaders of economy.

        Your analogy, that places Orlando at the base of Capitol Hill with a sledge hammer because the plumbing is shot, isn't sensible. I know *you* think it works. But, Edward, it doesn't.
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          Dec 15 2011: thanks I really was trying to avoid a polemic discourse but i did enjoy the conversation with Edward nonetheless.
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        Dec 14 2011: That would work in a perfect society, but with the amount of homeless people, or people with not enough knowledge, the vote is never clean. If all Americans voted you would have a much more complete government, but, as in Canada where I live, not enough people want to or have the chance to vote to actually let their voices be heard.
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          Dec 14 2011: Right on Stephanie!
          A person can be elected by a landslide when, in actuality, three out of four citizens did not vote for them! That is the power of apathy.
          Every vote FOR someone or something is a vote AGAINST the other candidates/issues on the ballot. If I do not bother to vote then I am helping whoever wins by not voting against them.
          I think the vote can be cleaned-up.
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          Dec 15 2011: Hi Stephanie,

          you are correct about the amount of homeless people and people without enough knowledge but I am curious as to what you and Edward think about the individuals who do not vote because they realize that their votes really do not matter? In the sense of, "well this politician is really out for his own and his rhetoric is nothing more than a propaganda tool?". Do you think they have good reasons not to vote?
    • Dec 10 2011: Why? :)
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        Dec 14 2011: is this a question for me?
        • Dec 14 2011: Hi Orlando, yes it is a question for ya! I loved your comment but ( don't ya hate the but?)
          You are "stuck in a family of 27",, ( that would be very cool, in my opinion?) Apologies, there must be more to your story and the politics?? Does that make sense? :) With Respect to ya!
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          Dec 15 2011: In Canada, if you do not like any of the parties running you can check the box at the bottom of the page that says you do not support any of those people. Your vote still counts. If you spoil the ballot, or don't vote, you don't count. I am not sure how it is in the States, but that is how we handle it, so you can actually say, in short, they all suck.
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        Dec 14 2011: Hi Tishe,

        I understand where you and Edward are coming from. No I do not have a family of 27. What I actually stated was "just how it is not the choice of an individual who is born into a corrupted Indian government and stuck in a family of 27".

        I was just stating that I am no more at fault of being born in the U.S. just as an individual who is born in Indian to a family of 27 is not at fault for being born into such a situation. Sorry for the confusion

        Now I am not sure If I understand what your saying? Are you saying that you interesting in knowing more about my politics being that I did not really elaborate on what I said? If so I would not mind going talking about it. I just didn't want to bore everyone with my political beliefs being that it would seem to divert form the original topic, which is why I did not go into detail

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