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Philosophy For Life

Let us discuss the penultimate guiding principles for Life; beyond the obvious love, compassion, etc.
Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thinker
by Praveen Baratam
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Maturity at its best is senility, where one has all the wisdom but no opportunity left. On the other hand, youth is full of opportunity but devoid of any wisdom whatsoever.

Surprisingly, all the wisdom that we ever need is all around us, if we can learn from others' experiences and a bit of history. But that seldom happens!

Now, if you believe in evolution, everything is optimized for its purpose and probably youth is so by design. Then, we might ask, why is youth so insolent?

Probably because youth is meant for dodging the odds and bringing in the new / change. Civilizations, systems, cultures and sciences need to evolve and evolution requires change. But this change is hard and no one in their right mind would be up for it unless of course drugged by adolescence and all the hormonal kicks that come with it :-)

So, if you are young and up to something, go ahead and try to make it happen. For it is your duty by God's will to break the ice!
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In Youth & Beauty, Wisdom is but Rare - Homer (850 BC)
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For decades now people around the world are sore about losing jobs to computers and automation but the real debacle is yet to unfold.

Industrial revolution ushered in the age of abundance and the much celebrated middle class was born. Past century was spectacular with energy rich petroleum at our disposal and with the birth of semiconductors and personal computers things started looking even better. 'All is well' until now in the spirit of better life for everybody.

However in the mean time computers got smarter by the day and started displacing workforce. Now this story is not new but at the pace at which they are evolving most semi-professional and professional services on which middle class thrive will soon be taken over by expert systems and robotic automation.

Computers may not become intelligent or conscious but will replicate the smartness of the smartest among us and sadly 90% of us may not be able compete with them for a living. The race is on to outsmart the machines...
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Automation
 
 
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Barney Lerten, Contributor - 1 year ago Edit
I highly recommend John Markoff's book, 'Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Computers and Robots." Great reading on a challenging subject - will AI creations help or enslave us, etc.
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
@Barney- I foresee this being both of these scenarios, first we will feel endangered by their prowess, then unburdened by it, allowing us the extra time to begin philosophizing about such concepts like freedom and socialist democracies not seen since that of the Enlightenment and Renaissance eras. We are currently in the phase of feeling threatened, and soon we will have to address the changes in how we run economies of robots and computers are at the forefront of industries. Contd
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
... we will then be forced into a truly philosophical assessment of where and how humanity will proceed from there.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 1 year ago Edit
@Nicholas - Well imagined and articulated but there are several assumptions underlying this hypothesis. We grossly underestimate our own peers by assuming such a relatively benign future for all of us in the wake of AI. Check out my new post on this subject - http://goo.gl/jQJj42
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I often wonder what makes great people great and after spending 30 years savoring and fighting life, I am only starting to understand Greatness and its roots.

Now I feel anybody can choose to reach those celebrated heights in his life and its a matter of ambition than intelligence or wealth. I feel a great ambition or goal is what propels ordinary men to extraordinary heights. One other important thing is perseverance though. If one cannot stick to his goals and shy away from failures midway, he will never see his dream come true.

Men are like catapults in my opinion. The farther is your target the more you will stretch yourself and realize how much force you can generate and the strength you have.

So set a great goal and test yourself. In time you will be surprised of your own abilities that never surfaced before that point in time.
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Catapult
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
Agreed, Ambition and encouragement are all that is required to overcome any challenge. Anyone is capable of anything provided that they are capable of shaking off the shackles of societal pressures to conform. You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only option.
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Barney Lerten, Contributor - 1 year ago Edit
Well, my issue is that I have many grand visions but an all-consuming job as a small-town overseer of a very busy local news Website (KTVZ.com) - if I could clone myself, many of these other ideas might take flight (who am I kidding?;-)
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
@Barney- I have run into much the same issue with going to school full time, working part time and attending to the needs of my adopted brain child talkonomy. I've adjusted by writing notes in my free minutes before and between classes, and then editing them to a final topic whenever I have 10 or more minutes to kill. Guerrilla tactics employed in my endeavors have been quite effective.
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We all complain about our life, society and the world we live in once in a while but when put in a different perspective most of us are very very lucky in many many ways.

Yesterday, while flying on a business trip, I glanced out of the window and was bedazzled by the beautiful tufts of clouds spread across the heavenly blue sky. Suddenly I realized how lucky I am! A few centuries back men risked their lives to get a glimpse of the earth from a few hundred feet. Recall 18th century hot air balloons. A millenium ago people could barely dream of such an experience. Yet there I was, enjoying a meal and a drink, more than 20,000 feet above the ground, all for a day's wage or sometimes much less :-)

Modern medicine, climate control, democracy, dignity of labor, minimum wages, supermarkets, automobile, cozy homes, fast food, jeans, TV, telecommunications, air travel, PC, internet and the list goes on and on.

Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan and many many ultra powerful and resourceful people before us didn't live a life even remotely as rich as ours'. And probably the generations after us may not live too given the depletion of mineral resources (mainly petroleum and coal) and climate change.

So, either do something to change things for the better or shut the f*#! up and enjoy your stay on this planet!
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View from an Aeroplane Window
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 3 years ago Edit
@Praveen-Very good points! I envision humanity in a peak of comfort in the last 150 years, comfort brought about by the consumption of our natural resources, that may never again be experienced by our race. It is slightly scary to be honest, and I feel guilty as a person every time I turn on a light, thinking some where, some one would kill me for the experience! The question now is how are we going to move forward?
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 3 years ago Edit
@Nicholas - Most of us are guilty of splurging natural resources and those who don't have access to modern comforts have more to complain about economic inequality than otherwise. No time travellers around to punish us for our profligacy :-P On another note, even though there are many green and renewable technologies around they simply can't help sustain our current global population and consumption. IMHO we will soon see a decline in populations across the globe as mineral resources decline!
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
@Praveen- Indeed, it is somewhat disheartening how much we have ravaged this planet with little regard for the future. Though I do disagree with you on the potential energy production capacities of renewable technologies. Tremendous progress has been made in the last decade alone and shows no sign of slowing. Even the fossil fuel industry is looking like it will crumble once fully electric vehicles like the Tesla line start hitting the markets en mass over the next five or six years.
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Barney Lerten, Contributor - 1 year ago Edit
I guess it's human nature to take the amazing reality of today for granted. Remember, little kids will never have known a time when they had to talk to someone on a phone without seeing them as well (great TeD talk out there on this topic). The young will build on the "natural" things that we have seen develop and take us farther than we'd ever imagine!
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Many of the social evils haunting us right now revolve around lack of opportunity and insufficient self constraint. While much has been said about self-constraint, abundant opportunity not only reduces exploitation but also promotes mutual dignity and strengthens any society.

However, opportunity and employment at a social level are actually dependent on the number of people marginalizing the safety and comfort of a job and chasing new unproven opportunities. How do we justify that to prospective entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurship, although commonly pursued for the riches, is hard to justify only in terms of future wealth and rewards as its inherently risky and requires a lot of effort, sacrifice and commitment. So what should be the motivation behind such an endeavor?

We need a new perspective to entrepreneurship and like all things larger than life, its important to remember that entrepreneurship is actually a service to the society and that for every man finding a bankable opportunity, a thousand find employment and security! Entrepreneurs, small or big, are the soldiers, reformers and icebreakers of the modern world.

Go find your opportunity, lead your flock, deliver your thing and enrich the world. Make your mark and create your legacy! It should really be your first priority!
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It doesn't matter even if you are just selling lemonades :-)
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
@Praveen- Well it seems to me that the best place to start would be to look at what kind of personality types are attracted to, and successful at, entrepreneurship, and build upwards from there. An entrepreneur must be able to deal with the stresses of taking risks in a productive manner to start with, other wise they run the chance of cracking under that kind of pressure...
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
@Praveen- ... http://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2015/11/05/mystery-of-mars-lost-atmosphere-solved-at-last-thanks-to-nasas-maven-mission/ This article makes some excellent points about the various qualities that introverts tend to display that garner an advantage, such as the ability to sit quietly and simply observe, whether it be people or trends, and compile experience based data to work with.
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Barney Lerten, Contributor - 1 year ago Edit
Are there really only 2-3 commenters on this whole site? Or have I not explored enough? (I think Talkonomy relies too much on the search box and not on providing links to different categories of discussion. I love much of the framework but 4 likes on its Facebook page tells me it's a "hidden treasure" that needs exposure!!
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I have spent two years almost to the day working as a Sous-Chef, the work is grueling and dangerous, however; there is a philosophy woven into it by the French phrase "Mise en place" or "everything in it's place". The mind of a Chef is organized by necessity in a certain manner. You're often required to track the cooking times of eight or more items as well as plating up to ten as well as juggle hundreds of recipes, not to mention tracking food costs as the night progresses, your mind thrives in the chaos.

Adaptability becomes obsolete, replaced instead by the expectation of that which is unexpected. For example, you're on the line on a Friday night, you have 12 steaks cooking behind you, 4 salads in front of you, and 7 other orders just rang in. Traditionally one tends to navigate obstacles by stopping at each one and resolving it.

Mise en place works a little differently. By taking a small amount of time before each shift and calculating in your mind all of the things that can go wrong, whether it be running out of cucumbers or saute pans to burning your hands or cutting yourself, you have the time to plan for each possibility, thus reducing the amount of time and energy spent trying to solve a problem as it occurs. Instead you solve it before it occurs.

This is useful in every day life as well, simply by assuming at the start of each day that what ever can go wrong will, and then creating a mini plan for each possibility, you streamline your chances for success.
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The mind of a Chef in on visual http://www.jamesbooth.com/weblayersi.htm
 
 
 
 
 
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
@Praveen- That my friend is where it gets fun. I like to think of it as being the main character in an role playing game, or an adventurer. The best method to ensure success is to create your center of gravitation, where all of your necessities such as phone charger, wallet, keys, ect all live, but make its a backpack, or something else thats mobile. Now included in this Mise en place kit should be things like a spare change of clothes, perhaps some dry snacks, and a portable phone charger, ect.
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
I tend to think of this concept as a bug-out bag for 21st century survival, containing things that might not seem like a big deal at the beginning of each day but that if something were to happen, like say you get stranded in the rain and your phone dies, boom spare change of clothes and a portable charger that doesn't need an outlet.
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
@Praveen- side note, If you do decide to work as a sous-chef, be prepared to get hurt. A lot. I've sustained 3rd degree burns on both my hands at the same time, full coverage, and lost many a chunk of finger to my knives. The rule is basically when you buy a new knife, it's not yours until it draws your blood lol
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 1 year ago Edit
@Nicholas - I always loved cooking but never got a chance to work in a full service kitchen. May be someday I can make time for it. Coming to my comment about preparing for unpredictable circumstances - I meant to highlight the importance of handling things as they unfold rather than preparing for hypothetical situations. When we started working on Talkonomy, it was a completely different ball game to what we were exposed to previously. Its life by the hour and having our priorities right.
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I was feeling nostalgic a while back, thinking of days that made me feel like the universe is working in every way possible to make me feel happy and ecstatic. And then it suddenly occurred to me - why can't I live some of those moments again by reaching out to such experiences once again. Can we?

In fact, life has given me such moments so many times that I could hardly recollect half of them. And each one of them was completely different from the others but equally heart warming. What's happening? I thought, how can I bring back and relive at least one of those moments!

Well, I then realized, one can only recreate situations but not experiences! You cannot enjoy that game, dance or kiss the same way you did back then! But then, I felt, life has more to offer, the same way it did a decade back and that every one of us is setup for a unique experience for every stage and moment of our life the minute we were born and this shall continues until we rest in peace!

To everyone enjoying those blissful moments of their youth, friendship, love, marriage, parenting, success, fame or whatever life has to offer that makes you feel wonderful, make the most of it, cherish it and treasure it, and never look back, for everything is just a fleeting moment in a finite life that never gives it again. All good things must end someday to make way for the others to come :-)
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Javad Anjum, Evangelist - 3 years ago Edit
I remember those long nights of our intellectual & stupendous conversations in Bellur Bus stand on starry nights, amidst mosquitoes & a cacophony of autos & buses. I'm so glad we didn't discuss how to settle down in life but talked about real learning, travel, relationships, passion, growth, & love,, things that really matter. The adversity of opportunities & finances didn't affect us. We took a pique into the future & it looked marvelous and full of opportunities.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 3 years ago Edit
@Javad - True! Those days were some of the best lived days of my life and the point I want to emphasize here is that we have such moments passing by us everyday! Its really up to us to make the most of those moments as we cannot re-live any moment again. A celebration, an opportunity, an acquaintance or whatever this moment is offering, we should make it a habit to make the most of it :-)
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
@Praveen- I once read an article on this very subject, though I struggle to recall the publication at the moment, that argued much the same point with a very strong emphasis on one thing: we as humans are creatures of habit, thus we attempt to seek out and recreate moments from our past that gave us joy, even when the situations may not be suitable to that particular emotion. In short, we seek the same scenarios hoping to relive past experiences, and in doing so risk going around in circles.
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
@Prasad Botu- That is an excellent observation. When considering the world humanity had built for itself, we are surrounded by continuous white noise, such as who has the nicest car or highest paying job, that often times people spend their whole lives trying to climb that ladder that they miss the view. Personally I make a point in between classes to sit in the grass and just be there for twenty or thirty minutes a day. It really makes a difference!
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Today I have a heavy heart, as my family has lost an important member. Her name is Abbey, she was a blonde Pekingese, with a quirky personality that could make any heart melt within seconds. At 2:30 A.M. she suffered a stroke that left her completely paralyzed and in extreme pain. The decision was made to put her to sleep rather than force he to suffer in the hopes that she would recover, as the damage done was beyond that of reversing. As I comfort my mom, who is understandably distraught I remember my first dog Buddy. He was only five years old when he was diagnosed with a never before seen form of terminal spine cancer. At 15 years old I watched, horrified, as my best friend lost all ability to stand, and walk on his own and eventually lost control over his bladder and rectum in a man to of weeks. I chose to have him put down rather than let him continue to suffer. I came to realize that these horrible events were not the way I wanted to honor them. Instead I want to honor them by remembering everything before that, for the happiness and joy they brought into our lives, and I realized this exactly how everyone should be remembered. Life should be celebrated for having been rather than mourned for having been lost. So please, keep the memories of happy times with loved ones at the forefront of your mind, always. That is how we honor those we have lost.
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In loving memory of Abbey and Buddy and the lessons you've taught us
 
 
 
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 1 year ago Edit
@Nicholas - Sorry for your loss. I am not a pet person but I can imagine your grief. While the relationship with anyone can be a mixed bag, keeping the happy memories on the forefront can make all the difference for both of them. Well said!
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I often wonder what would happen if we lose most if not all the knowledge and wisdom we have acquired in the past few centuries.

May be the least common denominator for humanity is war, exploitation and superstition.

Any man/group confident enough to conquer or exploit will do so if they are not bound by an intricate web of obligations, emotions and dependencies.

Moreover we cant stop thinking and when we try to reason or explain some phenomenon when we are not yet equipped to do so, we end up explaining it the wrong yet acceptable way giving rise to superstition. I believe superstition will reign high as long as there are unexplained things and uninformed men.

In fact religion can be viewed as a scheme devised by the then wise to use the unexplained for taming people down into a sustainable society which was later modulated and exploited to foster the same evils it was meant to fight against.

Somehow men tend to modify and use anything at their disposal to exploit others.
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
@praneeth- the grip that superstition has on the majority of humanity is so strong due to the largely scientifically illiterate portions of global populations, giving rise to charlatans, and pseudoscience permeating various facets of global cultures. I highly recommend the novel written by Carl Sagan- A demon haunted night: Science as a candle in the dark. In it he discusses these issues at length.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 1 year ago Edit
@Nicholas - One more issue here is that many well educated folks look at science as just another way to explain things rather than deem it the only way to truth. People need simpler answers and religion gives them just that. Brain twisting philosophical discourse is not to everyone's taste. contd...
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 1 year ago Edit
Even the most scientifically literate people have trouble accepting the gaps in scientific understanding (Ex. Purpose of Life) and fall to fictitious explanations. Probability also wreaks havoc in many brains. (Ex. Why me?) Fundamentally our brain / memory is a belief system than a probability machine.
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 1 year ago Edit
@Praveen- I disagree that the human brain is fundamentally more aligned to a belief system than a probability machine. I would instead argue that the because our brains are fundamentally probability machines belief systems are more prosperous. What I mean by that is that because of the probability of our existence being so small at first glance it leads us to assessing the probability of divine creation to be more realistic.
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Literally history repeats itself. Neither the first time, nor the second, nor ever will any human pay heed, learn from what has already happened and improvise at any significant level.

We will stabilize to organize, organize to prosper, prosper to conquer, conquer to plunder / suffer afterwhich we again pursue stability. This cycle will probably repeat itself until sky falls down on us.

One reason could be that human / animal reasoning evolved to function in the immediate vicinity of time, space and being. Largely we care more about ourselves than others, about our immediate habitat than far away lands and about now more than past and future. This is good for survival at individual / micro level but when projected onto a social / macro level this tendency locks us together in a small narrow bubble of space-time that keeps traversing the same path over and over again.

For any given species very few things change over generations. Every generation of monkeys lives and dies nearly the same way. In comparison we, homo sapiens, did improvise over generations in terms of means and ways but have been pursuing the same thing since the time of hunter-gatherer societies.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 3 years ago Edit
@Nicholas - Now that was for dealing with existing office bearers, public representatives and the status quo. Large populations respond to issues that are commonly felt and believed and elected representatives only respond to common sentiments. Does a majority in your town feel this is required? If not, the task for you is to sensitize them to this issue. On a broad level, do you have a place where you or anybody can reach out to your local community with issues and ideas? Contd..
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 3 years ago Edit
Why not start a Facebook Page for your town / neighborhood and work on getting everyone aboard. This could serve as a forum for your community. Then the residents can start discussing this and other issues. Once there is a common sentiment, elected representatives cannot afford to ignore it. Nor can they afford not to participate in this internet age community forum. Governance 2.0 :-)
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 3 years ago Edit
@Praveen- Brilliant Idea!
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Barney Lerten, Contributor - 1 year ago Edit
@Praveen I have tried to create a community-based forum - the most logical categorization and sorely lacking on FB etc. - but being in a TV station/corporate structure I have to be careful - one small example, a discussion of the best pizza in town inevitably will turn into one on the worst - and then advertisers won't be thrilled. They must develop thick skins, but corp. bosses aren't thrilled;-)
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Knowledge, the most powerful and applicable tool know to our species, and yet it is one that we pettily put a price on. The price being considered a "small price to pay" and its true when you speak of Academic Journals, but what about College?

The Ideals of Universities started as a path of betterment of ones' self. The last time I can objectively say this was true was just before Charles Darwin graduated (pg 15 Charles Darwin and Theory of Natural Selection by Edward Poulton).

Now Students are told early on here in America "Go to College to get a better Job!" yet to do so is to put a ridiculous price on the rest of the Student's life. Colleges make it more difficult for students to afford to go to school and to live day to day. It comes down to a choice of food for the week, or study for exams, and that is an unrealistic choice.

Education should be centered around the student's experience and development as an individual, but today it is centered around a business model. It has forced many, including myself to question the validity of the proposition.
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
@ Praveen- I see the trade off made due to circumstance, and agree that not only do jobs change routinely in terms of required skills, and that colleges have become stagnant in those terms, however the solution, I think, lay in us changing everything about our society because our society is based on our education. What do you think of changing the system to a barter-trade system for goods and services? I am thinking of Universities offering schooling in exchange for services? contd...
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
... Say every other semester students work in the school, say in finance, or library, field work for the university, etc. Reduce the necessary staff to head admins and leaders of each branch of the University's inner workings; head of financials, head of Curriculum planning, head of resources, head of projects, etc, and rotate the student body in this manner? This way no student's value is based on their amount of paper or digital numbers but on their own set of acquired skills up until contd...
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
... that point in their life. This would force individual growth before hand, to promote plasticity in one's environment, and still maintain and build an individual by their own standards while at the same time paying for their education by reinvestment in the institution that educated them. At this point plasticity of the individual becomes equal to if not greater than the plasticity of the brain. Thoughts?
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 4 years ago Edit
Every organization should try to maximize their effectiveness by hiring apt talent and proper utilization of resources. How can you be sure that the current student body is the best option for the jobs on campus? Colleges are already offering on campus jobs when such opportunities arise. How is this a better option than interest free loans? You trade your services for the best pay for you and colleges will maximize their end of the game! Barter system went extinct for a reason.
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We often confuse between richness, wealth, achievement and money with undue emphasis on monetary abundance! True money is important but its just a convenient means to barter and is worthless unless we exchange it for the right things in life. And my friend wealth and money are completely different entities.

We all want to be rich, but what is being rich? In my opinion, richness is being able to cater to all our sensitivities. If you make a lot of money but have no time left for anything else in life, its slavery reinvented and not richness. We enjoy many things in life - music, travel, family, friends, conversations, learning, ideas, experimenting, freedom, love, affection, care, food, and the list is endless. Richness is all about experiencing the above and more! The more we can get the richer we are!

Wealth on the other hand is anything that can help secure our future, provide for us, generate useful resources and contribute to the richness of our life and that of our fellow men. Wealth comes in many forms- intellectual, social, personal, etc. Health and education are also forms of wealth per se.

Finally achievement starts with pursuing richness and wealth at a personal level and ends with making a positive contribution to the human endeavor that started on this tiny little rock circling a star we call Sun.

One can make lots of money and still be poor, insecure and lost!
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"I don't know how?" & "I can't understand that!" - are one of the most common excuses that people give themselves and others whenever they encounter a challenging situation in life. I would like to emphasize on these as excuses than reasons as they are easily surmountable with the right attitude towards learning.

Its no longer sufficient to stay confined to what is taught in school and college and we can't expect to be spoon fed by formal instruction every time we have to learn something new. Learning to learn - the autodidactic approach (google it) is the best makeover you can give to your attitude and you will never need to look back again. Your destiny will fall back into your hands and you can once again decide what you want to do with your life.

Gone are the days when learning and researching a topic meant endless trips to the library, bookstore and to those revered experts. With the advent of information super highway and Google, learning can happen at the speed of thought. Recursive learning is the way to go.

Research what interests you and do the same for every concept that you don't understand in between until you reach a level of confidence with the topic and task at hand. You are on the right path if you have already googled for "Autodidacticism" and "Recursive Learning".
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
I'm really glad you chose to post this, as I have noticed this skill in myself but was unsure as to what exactly it was. Now armed with this information, I find my next challenge to be broadening my horizons, which can be difficult to organize at times. I find myself refining my searches to knowledge that can be applied, where before I was seeking knowledge for knowledge's sake. Am I hurting myself or growing myself?
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 4 years ago Edit
I don't consider myself an autodidactic polymath but I believe pursuing knowledge should be out of curiosity and enthusiasm; just follow your curiosity! Dont search for avenues to apply your knowledge, rather try to recognize and understand the problems around you and explore solutions for the same. Your will automatically learn more and apply what you have already learnt when you try to solve problems.
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We often resort to charity to rid our conscience of the guilt that we are not doing enough for our fellow men but it is important to understand that they not only need our money but also need our time and efforts.

There is no easy way around this situation and the money we donate to various charitable institutions may do more harm than benefit the underprivileged. Such funds are often used to exploit the needy in the pretext of providing help.

Irrespective of our financial contribution, the time and wisdom we invest in solving their problems is pivotal in making a difference. Its also important to assess whether we are just providing for their instantaneous needs or making a sustainable change in their life. Feeding the hungry may be a virtue but helping them earn their bread is brotherhood IMHO.

Finally, its important not to support any religious evangelism as part of charity. Conflict of cultures has claimed enough blood and we should not perpetuate it in the name of charity.
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Charity
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 4 years ago Edit
Non-profit does not mean that the said endeavour cannot make any profit but that it does not distribute those profits back to its organizers / owners. Many non-profits do invest their profits into the same activity or diversify into other activities that appeal to their ideals.
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 4 years ago Edit
I agree with Dan Pallotta about hiring better talent to manage non-profits but there are trust issues around spending on fund-raising, media, etc. Not every non-profit is trustworthy enough to let them woo public and experiment with their money unless the leadership has exceptional track record. There are always jackals dressed in sheepskin and this uncertainty constrains the best for preventing the worst from happening. True, we need a new framework to measure and regulate Non-profits.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 4 years ago Edit
July Peter Buffett recently raised his voice against charities putting donor appeasement before the needs of the people they are catering to. His interview - http://goo.gl/R69a52 .
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An intriguing presentation, one that has illuminated several things about society to me, as well as about myself. A very solid case for the idea that our "Destiny" is under our control, and only we can change it's course, for better or worse.

We must move on from the mentality of a mapped out path for individuals, and move on to better things. I would love to have some other opinions, as I myself am still processing this information as a whole.

One thing I find is that it is very easy to lose sight of the "Big Picture" so to speak. I'm currently in the process of training myself to trace the lines in order to connect the dots with every bit of information I slowly gather. It can be a slow process with all of the information I take in day by day, it usually takes me about a week to sort through everything from the previous week, usually at the end of each day I go through the news stories and such that I have book marked, and will categorize it by relevance and interest.

A question I have is how do other people perform this task? Everyone's mind works differently, so it would be interesting to learn how others do it.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 4 years ago Edit
@Nicholas - Information can be an accelerant or decelerant of wisdom depending of how and how much we consume. Too much information and less time to brood over it decelerates our thought process whereas some information with time to digest and ideate fares better with our brains. Excellent talk about how we go from being haphazard to being social to an individual. Interesting claim that most adults don't develop individuality until mid life which surprisingly coincides with peak mental function!
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
@Praveen- Truly an eye opening talk. I wonder if there is some way to gauge in general how much information is too much in one sitting so to speak. I have indeed come to the realization that I have been spreading my resources thin by trying to learn too much at once cont...
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
any suggestions on how to prioritize information?
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 4 years ago Edit
@Nicholas - Roughly we need as much idle time as we spend assimilating information at the minimum. Prioritizing certain sources or aspects over others may not be the ideal way. I believe in following our gut and curiosity. Finally its important to learn to breeze through details and get to the gist of what we are interested in if we want to truly master this act!
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Are we behaving worthy of living in the Age of Science? Are we forgetting the roots and means of modern life? Are we educating our young to simply perform tasks without imparting on them the required wisdom? Do we truly understand the relation between Truth and Science?

A scintillating talk about the current circumstances relating to development, progress, and science by renowned journalist Michael Specter.
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The Danger of Denying Science and Progress
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
Very true, but at the same time how many countries in the world eat bugs as a delicacy? I've read articles about fried grasshoppers, chocolate covered ants, etc. Why not fry up a bunch of grasshoppers? High in protein, very nutritious right? Cost effective; let's face it the world is never going to run out of bugs.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 4 years ago Edit
Pun aside, I am sure eating bugs is a delicacy in some parts of the world and a major stigma elsewhere. Can we convince someone to eat bugs if its not part of their culture? Moreover we do not yet have reliable methods to grow and harvest bugs? Even in those cultures where they are a delicacy, they are not their staple food in spite of their affinity to them! Will it be cost effective to maintain a reliable supply of bugs? Given a choice will you choose a grasshopper over a GMO potato?
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
I see your point... however when you compare the cost of that GMO potato, versus a bag full of grass hoppers, how much would the two vary? Of course it would cost money to start a program to catch these bugs, but if there was one, I'd be curious to see the societal and monetary costs compared to that of a GMO.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 4 years ago Edit
As of date most bugs savored as delicacies around the world are caught in the wild. In general depending on livestock for staples is upto 5 times more expensive than depending on grain. Animals are one step above plants in the food chain and many calories are lost in this step. Moreover most famine struck nations are arid and may not support an ecosystem to farm these bugs.
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I just request you guys to watch this video and share what you think about the impact this might have on evolution of the technology and on people as a whole. If this is the direction we are headed, imagine the paramount implications it may have on our daily lives, at all levels: psychological, social, physical, and spiritual. It will affect the way we interact with technology and our fellow human beings. In this context, what the future consumers of this technology think becomes the most critical deciding factor on how actually this technology will be perceived.
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Praneeth Baratam, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
Switching perspectives and becoming cynical for a moment, Google Glass is another step towards integrating technology into one's physical form. Until now, it has not penetrated the physically normal body space (technology has been helping the differently abled with good results for some time now). Not far away, we may be seeing mainstream position trackable shoes, and RFID chips implanted at birth. This may sound completely absurd to us (contemporary intellect) but, absurdity is relative.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 4 years ago Edit
@Praneeth - Assistive technology is different from tracking and auditing behavior with implanted chips. May be you stretched your imagination too far on the wrong side. Technology only opens up interesting possibilities for us and we get to choose where we want to use it.
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Praneeth Baratam, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
@Praveen, I may have stretched the concept too far, but what I implied was that technology is getting closer to the human physical body. Cell phones were designed as assistive devices, but then, there was a huge uproar about them reporting their users' location. So, Google Glass may be an assistive device, but it may have implications of having a connected device always 'on us' (cell phones are 'with us').
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Nicholas Bc Shumate, Evangelist - 4 years ago Edit
Google Glass worries me, simply because it is another example of how big companies charge loads of money for a device that does the exact same thing that the one in your pocket does. In my mind it equals out to consumer indoctrination.
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