TED Conversations

  • R H
  • Chicago, IL
  • United States


This conversation is closed.

Do we all suffer If one suffers?

Does it impact us if someone is suffering 'somewhere else'? Does it have any effect on my day, my life? 2+ million in jail in the US, 3+ billiion live on less than $75 a month in the world. Does that affect me? Is it my concern? Is it ok that I'm ok and others may not be? Who is us?

  • thumb
    Mar 11 2012: In our house If mama ain't happy, Ain't nobody happy. Yep you gonna suffer.
  • thumb
    Mar 10 2012: Does it impact us if someone is suffering 'somewhere else'? Only if you see it, read it or think about it.

    Does it have any effect on my life? Yes if you or those you care about are the ones suffering. Less so if not, But we have cheap goods because of income disparity.

    Who is us? Up to you. You alone, your family, or the entire human race past and present. All animals etc.

    Not sure if our instincts evolved to deal with the current global situation
    We are pretty good in small teams.
    Maybe we can do a bit more balancing what is good for us and others.
    • thumb

      R H 30+

      • 0
      Mar 11 2012: Thanks very much for responding. This is a pretty tough question. And not a new one either. It was asked to me, in a manner of speaking, so I thought I'd ask it to the world of TED because I struggled with it. On one hand, I felt that others out of my personal experience did not affect my day. I mean really affect me. I work, raise my family, buy supplies, meet with friends, go to a movie, and I thought even if I know there's great suffering elsewhere, did it truly affect me? And I had to admit it did not. It didn't mean I didn't care, it just didn't really affect me, because it was outside my realm of experience. On the other hand, there's interconnectedness - a relatively new emerging scientific concept that we are all connected to each other, and more so everyday. I've heard it described as 'nodes in a network'. If this is true, then the suffering of others at a distance does affect me, whether I know it or not. The question of 'who is us', I think, is dependent on the above. By asking this question in this format, I'm beginning to think it's too hard to answer here. It may be too big of a question - like Simone suggested, or too personal, or disturbing, for a public format. I guess we'll see where it goes.
      • thumb
        Mar 11 2012: Yes, a lot of big concepts in this.

        Still, if we all work a little towards making the world better for everyone there is a better chance that there will be less unnecessary suffering.
        Less chance it will impact us or loved ones.
        Less to worry about.

        In the end sickness and death gets us anyway. But sure we can do better if we really tried.
        • thumb

          R H 30+

          • +1
          Mar 11 2012: Amen, friend. Maybe if we start 'believing' that we all suffer if one suffers, we'll be less likely to accept the suffering of others elsewhere. Thanks again for your input.
  • thumb
    Mar 9 2012: Ok, so that's a set of quite philosophical and vast questions. Many organizations are constantly raising awareness for people who suffer "somewhere else" and it is basically up to ech of us to decide how much we want to be aware, get involved, or feel empathy. There are things we can't change, so it's OK to be OK with who and where you are and that others are not OK. But you can show that you care about those who are not OK. Visit the big websites that promote causes all over the world, read about them to make them relevant for you, and donate. Or volunteer in your local community, if "somewhere else" is too far away for you.

    As for "who is us?" -- I don't know. How could anyone know? What kind of answer are you hoping to find?
    • thumb

      R H 30+

      • 0
      Mar 10 2012: Thanks for responding. I'm not really looking for a particular answer, I was hoping that this/these question(s) would be looked at by face value, and that those who responded would share their view - whether they believe that events do affect them (like the 'butterfly and tsunami' scenario) or whether they feel that they are separated from events that are not part of their personal experience. I wasn't asking 'what are you doing about suffering', I am more interested - in this question - on whether or not people feel that distant suffering by others affects their daily life. Regarding 'who is us', I'd like to know how people from around the world, from the different cultures of TED readers, define it. Everyone has a concept of what 'us' means, I thought this would be interesting to see and share. There's no agenda here, it's just a question in a conversation.