TED Conversations

Naveen Meena

Co-Founder, ThoughtLabs

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Development or Destruction, where are we heading?

In this blind race of development, are we not realizing that we are not developing but moving ahead towards destruction. As with this so called development we are facing serious problems like global warming, ozone layer problem, change in weather cycle and a lot more. In modern times only because of the indicators of our so called development, mankind is living a restless & complex life in a lot of fears, where he developed these tools for secure, peaceful & luxurious life.

+3
Share:
progress indicator
  • Mar 20 2012: Development or destruction? it is up to every one and all of us together to decide. Although the two talkers you referred to demonstrated two different approaches towards our current situation both came eventually with the same remedy, technology. But can we truly rely on technology as our sole salvation at time of need? As rational, creative creatures who are proud of their intellect, haven't we come to treat technology as a magic wand? We are sure that hocus pocus and we shall be able to get fresh water by some sort of a magnificent machine or cure all diseases through our cell phones (Paul Diamandis talk)....But can technology truly help us sustain our economy when we are living far beyond our means and resources? Can technology truly eradicate earth quakes and tsunamis? Can technology eliminate human sufferings and rage, can it stop the riots that spread all around the globe? Can it heal our personal relations and the crisis we experience nowadays in our families and schools at any corner of the world?
    I do agree with Paul Gilding that it takes a good crisis to get us going but maybe we should get going in a different sense. Maybe we should look inside and try to find the solution there: Instead of ruthless consumption we shall try to consume reasonably to fulfill our basic needs, instead of glorifying our individuality and pursuing constantly ways to fulfill ourselves we shall try to focus on our community and assure the happiness of our neighbors, Instead of self centered exploitation of our human, animate, vegetative and still environment we shall try to live in balance and harmony with every element around. Technology will aid us, no doubt, but it might be that the present global crisis is a call for something completely different. As Paul Gilding suggested to enable the transformation that will allow us to survive and develop it will take each and every one of us, but it can be our finest hour if we'll answer the call.
  • thumb
    Mar 13 2012: We, as a species... Are headed... Wherever we want to go. If we want SUV's, coal power, 60 hour work weeks, and droughts... We can have them. If we want solar concentrators, electric motorcycles, warehouse farms, and a healthy planet on which to raise our children... We can have that as well. It's all up to 7 billion individuals to choose.
    • thumb
      Mar 13 2012: And therein lies the problem: most four person families can't decide on which movie to watch. What kind of odds, then, do you want to put on 7bn people agreeing on how to build a world?
    • thumb
      Mar 15 2012: so true David. But first those 6.999 billion people will need to wake up :) As long as we live in the illusion that "stuff" can make us happy, we won't be.
      Change is inevitable, maybe resisting less (read: stuck in the box thinking) and participating more will make those changes seem more palatable.
      The real question for me: What IS progress? I do not think we are progressing at all. We are losing what little humanity we had. Gadgets, as much as I love those darn things :), and technology has done absolutely nothing to promote human "values" such as empathy, compassion, understanding, tolerance.and acceptance.
      Our responses to technology has allowed a few countries to seemingly have improved their living standards. No outhouses :_P But NOT their quality of life.
      And we all have to make our choices.
      • Mar 16 2012: As we have progressed through the last 75 years technology has made the human lazy (my opinion), especially my generation. I find that children do not have the drive to work hard at something and really make a change. Their too concerned with how many zombies they can kill in a video game.
        • Mar 23 2012: In defense of the people who you say are ' too concerned with how many zombies they can kill in a video game', there are many people who spend most of there time and thought in making ends meet with minimum wages jobs, and who also support other friends/ family, and don't have the time or energy to make changes like this. Life can be very hard, and some people are just so caught up in the stress of making ends meet. This would not be the first thing on their mind, and if their destressing/relaxation consists of sitting back and playing a video game then so be it.
      • Mar 22 2012: A strong argument could be made that technology does not enhance human life, it only changes certain dynamics of behavior. Does it enhance collaboration and human interaction, I think not. Part of being a social being is direct human contact and association, not simulation through technology. More direct interaction creates a better society and increases our chances of survival and cooperation. Technology limits feelings and emotion and the impact of direct contact, it turns us into data and numbers instead of living,feeling, biological entities. Technology desensitizes human feelings in many ways or leads to misunderstandings and miscommunication. I cannot read someone's feelings through a text message very well. I could probably get a better job if I could get more interviews instead of being just a resume scanned by software looking for key terms that cannot and will not ever be able to quantify my value and character .
        • Mar 23 2012: I agree that technology 'desenditizes human feelings' and makes things less personal, as I prefer to actually 'hang out' rather than text, etc., and find it incredibly annoying that in the company of other people, 50% of the time they are texting, etc. However, I would also like to argue that this technology does enhance collaboration and interaction. I think that by using these other means of communication, it allows for more communicaition within the same amount of time, which is more productive, more organized communicaition, which also saves on time and keeps like ideas together, and reaches out on a broader spectrum of people and ideas. Also, in some instances emotions can be communicated through technology as it is not able to be elsewhere (i.e. my 'friend' can be very shy and communicates alot of what he feels through internet messaging, which he would not be able to do in person. So it gives some people an edge they may never have had)
    • Mar 16 2012: Couldn't agree more but will the world change for the good of the earth or will we continue to destroy it for a life of luxury?
      • thumb
        Mar 16 2012: That, to me is still a toss-up. Unless we do "wake up" destruction is inevitable. The other possibility that I see is that Mother Earth will continue and maybe escalate disasters.
        Crazy maybe :D. I do feel that the earth is a living organism and she wont put up with our abuse forever ;-p
        • Mar 21 2012: Earth is a living system and definitely has a feedback and response to changes and imbalance. Every system seeks homeostasis. This is a fundamental law of the Natural Universe, so I what you are feeling about Earth is a true perception. Necessity is the mother of invention and change. It is phenomenal how people will cooperate when disaster calls. We need to make the developmental jump in understanding that we can actually trade in this process of cause and consequence for focused intention and prevention. Every conversation we generate on this subject will speed us along to a greater consciousness. Our individual pleasures and perceptions are not as important as our collective efforts to unite our forces in order to navigate the wave of consequences moving towards us right now. We'll only be able to succeed together. It really is not about me and mine anymore.
    • thumb
      Mar 22 2012: well said david
    • Mar 23 2012: I feel that the choice lies in the hands of very few (out of billions), both in taking the world towards destruction as well as towards development. And as an intellectual I feel that I have the power to have significant impact, through the choices I make in my life, in moving the world in either direction.
  • Mar 8 2012: My personal belief Naveen is that humanity as a whole is zooming headlong toward unprecedented development, maturity and sustainability. We are already at the most incredible time in human development that has ever happened and I don't foresee very many things, short of a massive cosmological event, that could stop it now.

    People on a global scale, are more intelligent, more connected thanks to things like the Internet and cellular phones, and less religious than they ever have been at any point in the past. This kind of environment absolutely breeds collaboration and the formation of new ideas instead of arguing or fighting over previously held beliefs. These three things alone our so capable of enabling the human species to help others, to stop violence or even to expose injustice before it gets out of hand that I can't even fathom how much more intelligent and peaceful we will be on Earth in a century.

    We are the first generation in human history to scientifically look at our own genome, the deepest regions of the cosmos and to get close to finding a unified field theory in physics. People even a hundred years ago could not have dreamed that we would be were we are today, and this same statement could be used by us for the next hundred years as well.
    Keep in mind that in the 20th century alone we had two major wars that tied up worldwide resources for over a decade, nearly 200 million young people were killed or died long before their times, we had several worldwide pandemics of deadly diseases or viruses, we invented terrifying atomic weaponry and suffered the unforeseen division of the world based on two major super powers for nearly thirty years. All that happened and humanity still flourished and indeed innovated more than we ever had before that time.

    Don't worry my friend, humans are going to prove harder to kill off of the Earth than cockroaches by the time it is all said and done. I hope this comment helped in some way.
    • thumb
      Mar 8 2012: Well said, Corey
    • thumb
      Mar 12 2012: We all know that there is some opportunity cost attached to everything, and what all we are doing in the line of "development' has the same. The problem here is the opportunity cost is always subjective/relative, i.e. various people or better to say stake holders of what would I say, the ecosystem as a whole, but a commercial organization will always keep the profits on the priority and will neglect the other things. There maybe rules and regulation to avoid such things but we don't have a perfect governance mechanism.
    • Mar 23 2012: I appreciate your optimism, but humanity as a society is the same as it ever was. Sure, on a technological level advancement can be easily quantified (but this development came mainly for the pursuit of money or military advancement). BUT, the last time I checked war and hate exist all over the world. Corruption is everywhere. All major economies have broke governments operating on borrowed fiat currency, 20+ million people out of work in the U.S. alone (its worse elsewhere), over 2 million people in prison (mostly drug related) with no future if and when they get out (ever tried getting a job with a feloney on your record?), global warming, pollution, famine in Africa, and less than 1% of the population control everything and set government policy while citizens naively believe their vote means something. We have a long way to go before you can convince me that humanity has turned over a new leaf.
  • thumb
    Mar 23 2012: The only hope we have is to use our new age of light speed information exchange to unite, rise up and defeat the oil barons, bank and finance overlords who currently run the planet. Will we manage this? No. Too many people still think profit equals progress.
    • thumb
      Mar 23 2012: Hi Joanne, Nice to see you back on here, long time no talk to.....

      Couldnt have said it better myself!!!!!!!!

      Whats even more flabbergasting is the fact that we are in a real tough economic situation that has forced many people out of their homes, jobs and education and yet they still cling on to the faith that profit will turn into progress and be the solution to all their problems....What more evidence does one need to realize that the global economic (the one that only services the banks overlords) system does not work?
      • thumb
        Mar 24 2012: I hope you are well Orlando. Things do seem to continue to decline too, the oil industry seem to ramp up their efforts to advocate denial, less and less is being done to preserve the remaining CO2 sinks, i.e the forests, and we seem to hear more and more how technology will provide the miracle that ultimately saves us. What do you think? Do you feel optimistic about the future Orlando?
        • thumb
          Mar 24 2012: I am optimistic, but not because of technology... the larger the technology, the larger the desaster; isn´ t this history lesson? from the car industry to atomic power?

          I am optimistic because man survived all the technologies he invented to help him... - at least so far.
        • thumb
          Mar 25 2012: I am indeed doing very well Joanne. I hope you are doing well yourself

          I Am actually intriged about your assertion in regards to technolgoy. Many anarcho-primitivist that I've talked to says the same thing.

          I agree that although technology has its benifits, it is not a miracle. Out here in the U.S. we are told that technological innovation is what is going to propell the U.S. back to glory. Truth is, the U.S. is pathetic when it comes to technology. This is partly the reason as to why the car industry failed and they continue to have commercials about G.E. getting back on track.

          To answer your question about being optimistic about the future I will have to say no:

          In spite of the occupy protest, I am indeed concern about how many people put their trust in the government. I am also concerned that my generation is starting to develop apathy towards political issues. I am conccerned that mony and technology is starting to be the center of everyone values....


          but of course if there is a will there is a way right?
      • thumb
        Mar 26 2012: Hi Orlando, I can understand this response,'To answer your question about being optimistic about the future I will have to say no:' given the level of ignorance you have to deal with on a daily basis.

        And regarding this; 'In spite of the occupy protest, I am indeed concern about how many people put their trust in the government. I am also concerned that my generation is starting to develop apathy towards political issues. I am conccerned that mony and technology is starting to be the center of everyone values'. I too feel increasingly disheartened. I have even noticed among those people I know who are more aware, an increasingly nihilistic attitude is on the rise.

        I also wonder how much longer information exchange across the net, will remain free. I notice subtle changes in the way Google and other search engines seem to exercise greater control over the portals of information exchange. I have the sense we are entering a new phase, and it may end in wholly unexpected consequences.

        Desite this dire approach, I am still optimistic, I still have hope people like you and me can make a difference.
        • thumb
          Mar 26 2012: Joanne, I swear at times I think we are mirror images of each other or you are my long lost older twin sister because we think exactly alike. and I am not just saying this just to say this but after this paragraph you'll notice the coincidence that I am referring to.

          It is interesting that not only are you having the same experience I am having in regards to the ignorance and nihilistic attitudes but its really what you said about information exchange.

          About an hour and a half ago, I was talking to a friend of mines about U.S. Politics, Obama and religion. In the discussion I was talking about Alex Jones (I am not sure if you have heard of him before and if not here is a link on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Jones_%28radio_host%29)

          Now Alex Jones has a film out called "Obama Deception" (once again Joanne, I apologize if you already know this information so I hope you understand that I am approaching this only out of innocence and ignorance). Anyhow in the film it talks about Obama FEMA camps and how it recruits young men and train them to have a militaristic mindset.

          Now my friend and I went on Google and could not really find anything related to the FEMA camps. Also when it did come up, it made it seem like it was like the boys scouts which it really is not for.

          Now my friend, who really dislikes Obama, always post things online in different forums and on something called twitter. Now as of yesterday, he has been unable to access his internet which is quite odd being that he has great service from AT&T as well as a new computer.

          Anyhow to get to my point, we discussed how the U.S. has passed a Bill in which they can just shut down anyone's internet at any given time. My friend refers to it as the "Kill Switch Bill" and this is something that Obama has approved which brings me back to the point that you made: "how much longer info exchange will remain free"?

          even still, the world still has you, me and others like us to change things
      • thumb
        Mar 27 2012: ...long lost (kiwi) older sister....that sounds like a good job to have if you ask me!

        Your comment about FEMA is disturbing, although I am not sure how I feel about Alex Jones as yet. some of his sources seem a bit suspect...I need time to evaluate him a bit more seriously. Some of my friends here also follow him, almost religiously which is perhaps one of the aspects I distrust, he is almost a cult figure. I am not surprised to hear about the law whereby the govt can suspend or interfere with internet access at whim. I expect to see more action on this front over the next decade.

        I watch with interest, as I know you will too.
        • thumb
          Mar 28 2012: Hi Joanne,

          haha, Kiwi of course!!!

          But yes, the FEMA camps is really disturbing being that many families do not really understand what they are getting their young boys into. One thing that really perplexes me about the FEMA camps is that it is somehow connected with Obama's healthcare plan. I've been doing much research and still cannot understand what connects FEMA with Obama healthcare plan. In a video about the Camps the young teenage boys are talking about the health care plan and then they do some sort of dance afterwards. Its pretty bizarre but of course I'll never stop searching for the truth.

          I embrace your skepticism about Alex Jones. I'm not really a big fan of his and do find most of his material suspect as well. My friend is into him without question but I haven't been a fan of his since I watched "Obama Deception" but I do respect what he says about corporations and those in power (although he's extravagant in his claims). But I do like how you mentioned how he is almost a cult figure. I've never thought of that but I can see how you would say it.

          The government does not hesitate to interfere with online forums. There were many anarchist sites that I used to check out and have discussions on and one of them got shut down by the F.B.I. because two anarchist were talking about meeting each other and starting some sort of occupy event (this was way before the occupy movement). They were talking about direct action and protest but nothing violent at all. just a protest challenging the state and government.

          The next thing I know the F.B.I. comes in, puts the moderator in custody and states that the site was advocating "Propaganda by the Deed", which as you know is used to make anarchist look bad

          here check it out: http://indymedia.us/en/2005/04/6029.shtml

          this is why I have the same concern you do about talking about the things we talk about on here and it would be a big blow to us globally if we cannot be connected to one another.
      • thumb
        Mar 29 2012: That is really frightening, your anecdote about the anarchist site, I mean. I urge you to cover yourself and keep safe Orlando. Few people realise the anarchy movement is a peaceful movement. I think the risk is genuine, and will increase as governments swing more to the right and try to gain more control.

        I have strong doubts over the truth of the FEMA story. That fact that you were not able to verify it when you looked into it disturbs me further. To me that looks like an anti-Obama propaganda campaign of the kind the right wing have used for years to cause distrust and fear around issues of social reform. The only motive behind this is profit. Healthcare companies want to protect their revenue. Thats all it is about in my opinion.
        • thumb
          Mar 29 2012: I'll be fine Joanne....thanks for the concern. It means a lot and you are right, there are not many people that can see that the anarchist movement at its core is peaceful. I mean of course there have been violent anarchist but for the most part, their values and principles are really peaceful and non-violent. But I''ll be fine and I'm sure things will work out in the long run.

          When it comes to the FEMA camps I'm just a skeptic. As you pointed out, I could not find much info about it so its clear that my assertions are nothing but speculation and connections that I construed together. Your also rightly asserted that it is mainly those on the right that is just trying to make Obama look bad so I wouldn't be surprised to know that they are behind all this...

          Regardless of this I'm pretty ambivalent when it comes to Obama....There is really not much that I know about him and I really do not think it's by accident. I mean outside of "Hope" and "Change" I am not sure I really know who Obama is. What many people do not realize as well is that McCain, when he was running against Obama had the same slogan of "Hope" and "Change" but the only difference with McCain is that he was not that good at advertising it so it makes me wonder exactly who's supporting them.

          Also Obama, won a marketing award in 2008 for best advertisement and this disturbs me as well because of the interest that was involved:

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/29/obama-campaign-wins-two-t_n_222219.html
      • thumb
        Mar 30 2012: Hi Orlando, dont be lulled by the campaign to shroud Obama in a negative cloud of mystery. Take a look at it, every time the right has its spheres of commerce threatened, certain individual groups pull exactly the same stunt, and every time the American people seem to fall for it. The Lewinsky, I call it. Obama is too clever and too squeaky clean for a real Lewinsky so the smear will have to continue to be applied until some of of the dirt actually sticks to him. Its a fairly simple straightforward 101 propaganda technique.

        Obama does not have a hope in the re election, despite the fact he is clearly the best person out of all the potential candidates. The most educated, the most ethical, with the least amount of self interest that might generate corruption. Of course he was put on the throne by certain left groups. Thank goodness they managed it. Its a great pity they could not have also managed to maintain a democrat congress. Through this and due to the 2008 crash brought about by Bush deregulation of the finance sector (who could survive the aftermath of that?), Obama will topple. We will probably have to suffer another right wing (stupid ignorant, short sighted,purely self interested) American leader of the Reagan, Bush senior and junior ilk, instead of someone who will actually serve the interests of the real American people.

        I know some of the policies Obama has precided over are some of the worst in American history, The Patriot Act, and the new legislation that gives govt undemocratic power over the internet but I wonder how much of this is generated from the Democrats themselves and how much is driven by power structures well beyond the current leader's control. America is not a functioning democracy any longer, not in any sense of the idea.

        What are your thoughts on this?
        • thumb
          Mar 30 2012: Hi Joanne,

          its sort of complicated for me because my political views are obviously to the left but I do not identify myself by a particular party(or side). Which ever party is more capable of maximizing the greatest amount of well-being is what I'll go for but I doubt either side is capable of doing so and this to me is not by accident. I honestly see Obama as a blank slate that can be marketed in any way and this is something that I find to be dangerous.

          The main problem I have with the left is that they cloak most of their policies under the notion of "Respect", "Peace", "tolerance" and all other benevolent terms. Now I am all for peace, tolerance, respect, etc but if you dig beneath the surface of many of their polices, you would come to realize that things really aren't as they seem and no one questions this because in doing so you come off as a unethical bigot. nonetheless there are many things that Obama has done that are quite questionable.: such as what he is doing with Afghanistan.

          Your second paragraph is something that I agree with completely and I'll admit, I'd rather have Obama as opposed to any of the other candidates but I think he has a good chance if people are willing to be patient with him and I think that was the downside of his campaign in '08. It was so full of hope and change that the moment he got in, people expected intimidate results, although Obama stated that it would take more than one term to accomplish but obviously people were not listening to him and instead were listening to CNN and Fox News.

          If you ask me, America was never a democracy and it never was intended to be but instead a poly-archy ( James Madison mentions it during formation of the constitution). So I'm actually not surprised that this is the case but it's disturbing nonetheless that my liberty is getting traded off for something else but I'm not surprised by it.
      • thumb
        Mar 31 2012: Hi Orlando, I just sent through my email to the laverne.edu address. Look forward to catching up more.

        I think you are right, that the demorcrats, and the labour party in my country, are in the current climate, merely the marginally lesser of two evils. I note under the Clinton regime (I was also a Clinton fan) the process of deregulation of the financial sector that ultimately caused the 2008 financial armadgeddon, continued unchecked. He reappointed Alan Greenspan who should be in jail now in my opinion. You are right, the rot is indemic, and democracy seems to have little impact against the power structures that currently shape our societies.

        Go well, I will send you a more detailed email through the week.
        • thumb
          Apr 1 2012: Hi Joanne,

          Although I was really young when Clinton was in office I must admit that times were easier and better growing up in america. I mean employment and school opportunities were great (at least from what I remember) so I can't blame you liking Clinton. This is before my time and I'm not sure if you remember but I was told that Reagan is the one who started it all and that G.H.W Bush and Clinton just went along with it.

          haha, Its funny how those individuals who should be the main people to rot in jail are the ones who get away with it. I agree Greenspan, along with at least half of the U.S. government should be in jail for violating international war crimes but no one questions this. I think the reason why a democratic system has little impact is i because the citizens who are in it are unaware of the real power structure involved.

          But thanks, look forward from hearing back from you
  • thumb
    Mar 17 2012: I have the chance of being in contact with teenagers, and so many of them are absolutely amazing. We face huge challenges in terms of our environnement, global health, population growth, food, tolerance and compassion … and I think that they deserve our faith in their capacities and optimism about the future. Hyper complex human systems don't have to consciously decide where to head to, they move towards goals in chaotic ways but not necessarily destructive ones.
  • thumb
    Mar 16 2012: We all are heading towards evolution. We are developing. Destruction is also another way to create a new one.

    The earth has changed her face many times in history, so she is doing now also. Many deserts were known cities and many new cities of present don't even have any signs in those days.

    But one must ask this question to self on regular basis. In a short life of 6-8 decades, we must evolve and inspire others for the same.

    A smile a day for few seconds can balance that what a million research can't.

    regards
  • thumb
    Mar 13 2012: It is the conflict of the opposite in the name of development and progress. They called it CHANGE. The centre of a change is to enhances the dignity of the human person. If a change (Development or Progress) is not enhancing the dignity of the human person, it is destruction.
  • Mar 2 2012: I agree, Naveen, that the path that the majority of the population seems to be walking is a path towards inevitable destruction. I don't think, however, that coming up with more machines to solve the environmental side effects is the solution. The real issue is that there are people whose minds are so blackened by the fog of their own egos that they are actually cutting down forests to make more money, they are actually waging war for the benefit of their oil corporations, they are actually watching children around the world starve, while they play around with buttons and numbers on the stock market to multiply their billion into billions, so that they can have even more paper stuffed in their bank accounts. The problem is not that the earth doesn't have the resources to support us. The problem is that we are not managing the resources properly. And we don't lack the technology to do so, this technology is simply being fought by forces we cannot conceive of, selfish forces with strange goals. I've always found the accumulation of wealth a strange goal, because life is short, and destroying millions of lives for an 80-year long ferrari ride is counterintuitive.
    Change the patterns of thought, change the perception of life and of humanity, and people will start to work with mother earth, instead of on top of her.
  • thumb
    Mar 26 2012: Lots of good comments and sentiments on here!
    Here is my two cents.

    We exist in a social, physical, economical, spiritual and political system. We are not all placed equal in this system either. There are so many different cultures, languages, religions and belief systems that to come up with a value system that agrees with all seems.... well impossible...

    The G 8 countries have a lot more power than the others and a different lense with which to view and measure development.
    I do not have numbers, but even with all the economic growth in India and China, the number of people living above the poverty line that is truly refelective of standard of living would probably not align with official numbers.
    A lot of these people have a different quality of life compared to ours.
    It is like maslows hierarchy of needs, those who have all their physical and survival needs met along with self-esteem etc., can then look at self-actualization or have the luxury of making the choices to meet the needs of the so called GREATER GOOD.

    Our first task should be to truely get everyone on the same page as far as standard of living and quality of life.

    Our economy is driven by the oil industry and all its unsustainability. Our political, and economical systems are completely intertwined. Politicians are in bed with the corporations and the majority of our jobs come from two sources, Govt. and Corp. Not to mention problems of corruption in both.

    So many variables to consider.

    We say down with corporate greed! We want sustainability, but how de we maintain our economy?

    How do we transition from totally engrained profit driven capitalism to production driven sustainability?

    If the transition and change is too fast, it will be violent and chaotic, perhaps unmanageable.

    I wish I had some easy answers or any answer for that matter.

    On a positive note I see a great tool in the internet and how it can contribute to an environment of collaboration!

    TED is a great example! :
  • Mar 25 2012: Entropy.
  • thumb
    Mar 24 2012: Naveen - you are talking of the "blind race of so called development" - a development always implying destruction. Agreed - indeed almost too easily agreed.

    the challenge is thus to find you if there is an open-eyes-race of best development - implying no destruction. so let us make a little thought experiment:

    first, development and even change, be it even to the worse, always needs resources and manpower.
    second, development always includes some and excludes others - even in a 100 percent democracy.
    third, development is never linear, but works in circles - it is wasting time.

    I am afraid development is always implying destruction; and even worse: no-development, no-luxury living leads to destruction also.

    So am I pessimistic? No - not at all. Destruction is just the side of the coin called new and innovation. In philosophical terms: Even if we stop the global warming, this will lead to another destruction process - we need to work on. So - let us keep on working for the better in a world of second-best choices?!
  • thumb
    Mar 23 2012: We must be able to separate the "science" of these challenges from the "politics" and "financial winfall" for those who stand to gain from policies. What I find most disturbing today is not so much in the tragedies of what are occurring, but rather the callousness and down right evil of the deception that is a means to an end. And how people in the know CAN make a difference, but are not willing to speak up.

    In the U.S., many people are more concerned with the news of individuals prosecuted for heineous isolated crimes, gay rights, chem trails in the sky that the gov't may be poinening us, whether Pres. Obama is a U.S. citizen or went to Harvard, and religious groups who believe the earth is only 7000 years old.

    Folks, we must retrain ourselves in how to THINK & WORK TOGETHER as families, communities, organizations, companies, and governments with a common goal. Until we get this right, we will remain in harms way.

    Stephen
    Southern California
  • Mar 23 2012: Given that I'm an older member, my generation has been through many phases of development and destruction. I feel that we destroy to develop; however, we have much more to consider today. After WWII, we had the Cold War and the fear of nuclear proliferation which is still with us. We now have global warming, political leaders that are perpetually running for office and not caring for the people that voted them into office, world-wide banking scandals, illiteracy at increasing rates, homelessness and hunger at all time highs, wars in many areas of the world. I know I sound very downbeat, but these issues must be destroyed to be developed. It's my belief that destruction will lead to development to build a sustainable world that will feed, house, and care for all.
  • Mar 22 2012: Humanity needs to re-define what development is. The current general definition is not very well organized and as a consequence chaos is the outcome. Then measures are put in place to counter the chaos which leads to a different type of chaos, and this cycle continues ad nauseum. Development for material gain and profit leads to destruction in most cases because production uses existing resources. So to develop "things" other things are destroyed. Humanity has sought to control most aspects of its environment with a high level of success, but some things that need to be controlled are not even considered or are considered taboo or worse. Human growth should be based on quality, not quantity, but a world based on monetary economics is in direct conflict with the "quality" aspect. The entire cultural attitude of society must change to living in balance with Earth instead of acting as a parasitic invader if we are to survive over the long term. The biggest threat to balanced development is overpopulation. This issue constantly puts economics in jeopardy in an effort to support more and more human life. If the population comes into balance then quality has a chance to develop a better society because resources can be replenished quicker, negative or flat GDP will not harm societies, the ecosystem can restore itself, and society can evolve to pursue self-actualization, not material (short-term psychological fulfillment) gain. Happiness only comes from within. The current status quo will only lead to a development-abundance-oversupply-overpopulation-recession-depression-war-destruction cycle, and this cycle will repeat as it always has throughout human history.
  • thumb
    Mar 22 2012: The remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still has one of the most brilliant answers to this that I have seen. We have a long history of only changing at the 11th hour, but of changing in a quantum leap. Our capacity to change once the undeniability of crisis passes a certain tolerance level can't really be measured, and that crisis threshold is an event horizon making forecasts and predictions nothing more than an academic past-time.
  • Mar 16 2012: with limited resources, evergrowing population and new technologies used for consumption, we'll be proceeding towards destruction. few greedy people are using the technology for luxury in the present. i think our ancestors understood the consequences very well, hence they emphasized upon living simple life with minimum needs and respected nature a lot. today we are only focussing on the current benefits of techno n ignoring its long term effects.
  • thumb
    Mar 15 2012: maybe that is a matter of viewpoint.
    We all know the answer, I do not doubt. Unsustainable. Period. Too many people, too many want more and more and more of which we do not have.
    I have a sneaky suspicion that mother nature will take care of our problems for us.
    Security and peacefulness comes from the inside, not the outside. If one thinks of luxuries as "stuff you can buy". That wont last much longer. imo because we do not NEED material luxuries, they consistently fail to "make up happy" for more than a day or two. Happiness, contentment and a sense of security are all attributes you cannot buy.
    Sure you can live in a gated community with lots of cameras and lots of security personel. But that will not give you a true sense of security. That only promotes fear, and if you are afraid you will not feel secure, peaceful or prosperous.
    What good is million dollar home if you always have to worry about safety and security?
    Eventually we will destroy ourselves.
  • thumb
    Mar 13 2012: We are falling over ourselves to preserve an illusory lifestyle of luxury that is entirely dependent on the finite resource of crude oil.

    It is unsustainable. Period.

    The denial of evidence supplied by climate scientists, anthropologists, sociologists etc I find very interesting. Especially on a site like TED where science is ususally greatly respected.

    It is yet another subject that now has to be viewed from the standpoint of psychology.

    What might the psychological profile of a denialist be?

    "...A climate denier has a position staked out in advance, and sorts through the data employing "confirmation bias" - the tendency to look for and find confirmatory evidence for pre-existing beliefs and ignore or dismiss the rest."
    (New Scientist, 18 May 2010)

    A denier is driven by religious or idealogical belief, and the commitment to that belief takes precedence over evidence - even in the teeth of evidence that is overwhelming.

    Should we be acting on inconvenient truths, or the preservation, at all costs, of a comforting lie?
  • thumb
    Mar 11 2012: Who are "we".
    If it is just us few in this discussion .. I think we have a good chance for a bit of both - destruction and development.
    "We" as the human species .. well, it depends on what you call destruction.
    Certianly, a certain amount of destruction always happens, and certainly, we are now facing some very large destructions due to disruption in economy and resource availablity.
    But the spectre of total destruction seems a possibility now - depending on what happens with atmospheric carbon.
    "We" as life and biodiversity on planet Earth have been in a process of destruction for quite a while now.
    Life develops .. it just does that .. populations rise and fall and go extinct. It's all development - just so long as conditions allow. There is no life on Venus that we know of .. perhaps there is, but we would be hard pressed to understand or perceive it.
    Change always infers that some things come, and some go.
    As for our personal selves? I think "challenge" is a better word than development or destruction - will we be successful in our challenges? We will do our best - if that is good enough, we will develop.
  • thumb
    Mar 30 2012: In my opinion, Ecosystem should be maintained for the development. Ecosystem consists of both Development and Destruction. For an example if we can assume every people lives in this world are richest then what will happen.
  • thumb
    Mar 30 2012: That's one of the best questions of our times. Maybe because no one can answer it.

    Sometimes I think we are "gods with animal instincts". As gods, we have the power to change the world, to shape the life as we want it. And as animals, all our actions refers to 3 basic instincts:
    - reproduction (a look at the world population, all the innovation in medicine against infertility...)
    - self-preservation (eat more, produce more, make the best "nest" possible)
    - domination (having "the biggest one", "the best one" is a key of innovation these days)

    And with this 3 motivations, the majority of us just follow the pack, heading faster and faster toward destruction, guided by people who don't want any change. But the power of acting, changing is not anymore in their hands, TED shows it every days.
    And there are never been so much people willing to change, to go for "the best evolution".

    I don't think we should look for "development", because it involves an idea of "more".
    To me, the big challenge for the 21st century (or the 3rd millennium?) will be to replace "growth" by "balance". We've never been a balance species: a species defines itself by the relationships with its neighbours : flowers are nothing without bees, rabbits would never be that fertile without foxes... We are the only species which is totally out of balance, and we have to survive it if we want to keep a place on the earth. We don't have any predator anymore (which is a good thing), but we should learn to balance our population by ourselves. and we don't need force or war for that: education, health care and sensibilisation to this problem should be enough.

    A TED talk related to this idea: http://www.ted.com/talks/graham_hill_less_stuff_more_happiness.html
  • thumb
    Mar 30 2012: I think the simple but not so simple answer to this is we should strive to understand everything before blindly going forward, which is part of the scientific method. Doesn't always work but this universe is full of improbabilities, not impossibilities. So it order to move forward we have to take that step. I better stop rambling before it becomes a bunch of what if non sense.
    Thank you for your time.
  • thumb
    Mar 30 2012: Choose a different direction altogether and avoid the question completely. I bring Your attention to My conversation:

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/10401/call_for_the_release_of_electr.html
  • Mar 28 2012: I think we are heading towards total destruction, but I also think it's the only way to start a new era of peace and success...
  • Mar 28 2012: Over the past century or so, I believe that we have been heading rapidly down a path of destruction, as we were much less educated on the environmental issues in the near future. But now that we have the knowledge of these issues, I feel that now we can start constructing ideas to develop the world in a environmentally friendly way, while working on solutions to the problems you have stated above.
  • thumb
    Mar 26 2012: All the development around is too materialistic and mostly associated with increasing our comforts. I can not say if it heading towards destruction, but as a human, we are posing threats to ourselves by getting addicted to these comforts and the addiction causes anxiety and worries for sustaining all we have!
  • Mar 24 2012: In regards to Camille's comment, on enhancing collaboration and interaction... technology had definitely changed the dynamics, i.e. there is more communication and interaction points. But the quality of that communication is what I argue is in question, and also the behavior. And what I mean by that is people say things through technology that they would not say to someone face to face. And is more communication points better than more specific contact? That is what I put into question. If we are to say something on a text, email, Facebook, My Space, Google +, LinkedIn, or comment on this very web site, and if we are not true to ourselves and act consistently and behave as if the company we our speaking to is present then miscommunication is more likely. Body language, facial expression. voice inflection, add value to personal contact (you get a feel for the trustworthyness of a person). All those things are not present when typing, thus it becomes easier to lie, cheat, and misrepresent true intentions, or express things we wouldn't normally say, and to me that creates more problems than it fixes. So interaction has increased if you look at the number of contacts, but is this good interaction.. healthy interaction? As far as collaboration, personally it failed in my college teamwork. Technology was there, but it did not create better teamwork...just the opposite. Now if we had to meet face to face more often, the slackers would have felt guilty when questioned about their effort and might have worked harder. But when they could avoid personal interaction to do their part, they didn't have to face the team thus making it easier to not pull their weight on the project, or express groupthink instead of putting in new ideas. So is technology development or is it just a different spin on society in general. It could be considered deevolutionary in terms of social behavior. Easier, quicker,convenient is not always better... but don't tell business marketers that (lol).
  • Mar 23 2012: I think that with development there will be destruction, because nothing is perfect and things usually do not go as planned. I also believe that when a new idea emerges (in reference to development), people get excited and because the POTENTIAL positive outcome outweighs the POSSIBLE negitive effects, we are quick to act 'in the name of human advancement'.
  • thumb
    Mar 23 2012: Yes. Destruction.