TED Conversations

Jason Joy

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We are all living in bubbles. We feel safe in them, forgetting they are build by internal or external necessities and only temporary.

We all live in bubbles, in our jobs, our families, our relationships. These bubbles are created by external necessities: the demand for products, the need for human relations. And the structure follows.
In these bubbles processes and people succeed that fit best these necessities. But these bubbles are only temporarily and only hold as long the athmosphere is right. If the pressure changes, competition highers it or sinking demand lowers it, they burst. Told stories about them by our grandparents, we look at them bewildered. The same will happen with us and our children.
The same happens when we make holidays or change company. We have to learn new rules again. The laws that seemed to rule the world we forget at an amazing pace. One month later and we forgot about the tyrannic boss who was king of our daily business and nightly dreams.
So why is it that we stay in the same structure? That we seek security? Do what we’ve done for years and talk to people whose opinions got ours? Why do we only see the existing and not the possible?
Most humans are copy machines. They look what others do and than repeat it. Being average, in the middle, feels safe. Only if we are pushed by strong needs (eg. Sex drive), we overcome this burden. So most humans have this program: fit in, do the same as everybody else, getting all you need for being satisfied and settle. Looked at it with this perspective, character is only a matter of psychopathy. The normal gets what he needs and/or is happy fast. The extravagant has a huge ego that wants to be satisfied and which drives him to do unusual things: to be a murderer or a saint, a scientist, an artist or a drinker. Coming from problems in the childhood, unsatisfied sex drive, it is usually a deficit which is the driver for greatness.

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    Dec 15 2011: For someone so emotional, I'm surprised you'd concede being given a technological interface... I've always said that the second anyone can ever directly send messages into the human brain... there will only be one message left "BUY ME". I'll be the last analog human if needs be, I don't want advertisements in my dreams. Do we live in a bubble? Yes, but we create the bubble, and we paint it as beautifully and as vividly, or as dark, and miserable as we like... Why waste your time painting such a bleak picture? We've already got that guy, there's enough people going that direction.
  • Dec 13 2011: Putting aside behaviorism, we think of ourselves in the end regardless of the proportion we put in it. If I buy certain emotions, it is me being those emotions. No one can live without a bubble. The bubble is security, it protects our identity, and it allows us to express ourselves comfortably. You are right that we must try to steer out of the bubble once in a while, but in the end we need to have order, thus we need the bubble.
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    Dec 10 2011: When does the last bubble burst, the bubble of identity? When do we connect our brains with computers, with the internet directly, when do we enhance our brains with computer chips? The internet is already a megabrain of shared knowledge and ideas. And who can say he is a person, a thing with clear limits, when his identity is built from a mix of other peoples thoughts (memes), experiences, from pieces and stories we saw on tv, from pictures that stuck in our head. What of the things we think to know did we actually experience? And if we did, how can we know if it only was one possibility, one small piece of reality? What if our concept of love is built from a beatles song and a short affaire?
    So our will to survive and replicate, the need of our body who enslaves us and separates us from the outer world, is the only thing that makes us individuals. If we eliminate this factor, if we digitalize our brains with software or supply our still physical brains with nutriants, identity will dissolve. We will download experiences, buy knowledge plugins from other former humans or programs, built happiness makers, need satisfiers for old needs, and new needs for enjoying new not known lust and luck today. And then, if we eliminate needs, our bodies which insufficiencies and his battle in an enemy world was the driver for intelligence, evolution will stop, development will still fluctuate in a chaotic way, fluctuate chaotically as long as energy is provided and then- stop.
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    Dec 10 2011: There are different ways to prevent getting enslaved by the bubbles we live in:
    • Talking with lots of other people with different backgrounds / views of the world
    • Getting friends and learn from people who succeeded doing it other than you
    • Travelling / changing jobs / experiencing different things
    Still there is the danger of forgetting fast. How fast do we forget how it was being sick? For us its only important what’s real now. So the way is not knowing how it would work, but trying lots of different things and then repeating what’s working over and over.
    But the most of us stay in the same bubbles. In medieval times, they lasted for centuries. For our parents and grandparents, they lasted decades. Now its getting more common changing jobs. We learn, with globalization company structures and country belongings change fast, their contures and limits get blurry and lose more and more their importance. With new technology like the internet, relationships change. Once limited to a tribe of a couple dozen people, we can now communicate to the whole world, with people who share our interest and complement our abilities on the other side of the world.
    So the bubbles burst that defined how we worked and how we connected to people, making place for more flexible, dynamic ways of organizing. Making interdisciplinary, international teams working on projects for a limited time, relationships for a short period of time or on long distances with multiple partners.