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Posts Tagged ‘identity’

What makes you special?

March 22, 2011 5 comments

Image credit: Speak to Children

Tonight, my (almost) 7 years old daughter asked me: Tato*, what makes you special?

… pause …

As you can assume, I didn’t know what to make of it! When I asked her what she means by that, she told me that she thinks she is good at drawing, so that makes her “special” in her mind and she wants to know what is it that I am good at?!

This made me think — I did wiggle out of a straight answer, btw! — Am I so good at something that I feel special about it? What does being special mean, after all?

I know I am a unique person with own behavior, dreams and wishes for the future. I know that if someone looks hard enough they’ll find few things that make me different from the other 7 billion people on this planet — but that makes me as special as a zebra is special because of its pattern being unique among all other zebras and that is not what my daughter really meant!
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How I became an addict!

November 12, 2010 11 comments

Image Credit: Seed Publishers

It’s midnight on a Holiday and everyone in the home is asleep! I’ve been going back and forth between the computer and the fridge 3, maybe 4 times now. Nothing inside seems satisfying to my disturbed mind. I finally reach out to the cupboard and grab the Nutella chocolate spread. The feeling is greater than me — I greedily shove 3 big spoonfuls into my mouth!

As the sensation moves down my throat and reaches my pleasure centre in the brain, I check my email, Twitter and Facebook for the hundredth time. I’ve been doing that for the past two hours, sitting helplessly in front of the screen in a wonder what happened to the world — why there’s no one out there sending a new message for me to read?

Maybe if I tuned into one of those chatty Twitter accounts that send a barrage of messages streaming down their channel I could find something useful?! No, I needed a person to send me something interesting, not some software scheduling a large queue of tweets that mean nothing to me. I needed to be able to reply back with a witty comment or enter into a discussion over a thought-provoking question.

This is when it struck me! A shiver ran through my spine and I felt I can’t move. I don’t know if the weight of the realization caused the shaking. Or maybe the high cocoa dose in my brain activated too many senses. Whatever it was, it certainly felt gravely cold in the room! I could think only about one thing — I am an addict!
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Compassion in a flat world

October 3, 2010 4 comments

A friend of mine (42, mother of three girls) got recently diagnosed with breast cancer. As you can imagine, finding this out was distressful and made me feel terrible. I felt a flood of familiar feelings we all usually get when we learn about someone we know suffering — sadness over the situation and frustration with life’s brittleness, commiseration for her suffering and empathy for her family…

The bit that was different for me than most of my previous encounters with others suffering is that she decided to make her experience publicly documented into a blog journal. It took me a while to understand why she did it, what it meant to her, what it means to me and others reading it, but now I think I know: By inviting me to read her daily journal through her blog, my friend offered me a chance to experience compassion! Furthermore, by opening her life to any anonymous reader stumbling upon her blog, she extended that offer to the world!
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The participation train arrived – mind the gap when boarding!

September 20, 2010 2 comments

Update: I’ve provided some clarification about the spirit of this article in the comments below! Please read and let me know your feedback!

This morning, I got disillusioned! — definitely not a good feeling for a Monday morning 😉

No, it’s not the fact that TED didn’t endorse TEDChildren — disappointing as it was at first, I later realized that was just a symptom — but the realization that my ideas about a participatory world of engaged individuals are missing a key element!

The lesson I learned today? The participatory world doesn’t exist on its own, it is sprouting out from the existing money-driven economy, and the cost for its existence is paid by the consumers!

I am very passionate about platforms and got to think that only few have a key essence — I call it platformness — that sets apart the truly successful ones from all the others — the others that even though they’re designed to be platforms either never take off or remain to be used simply as versatile products. It is the essence that emerges when the platform and its users engage in a positive feedback loop that enables previously unimaginable uses to sprout out.
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Categories: Platforms, TED Tags: , , , ,

My response to Jamie Oliver’s challenge to get kids into fresh food

August 3, 2010 Leave a comment

As part of his 2010 TED Prize, Jamie Oliver launched a project to gather ideas from “everyone who hopes to get kids eating, cooking and thinking healthier” in a hope to answer the question “How can we get kids excited about eating fresh food?” The project was launched using OpenIDEO, a new platform for collaboration on social issues.

As a concerned parent, I am motivated to get involved. Disappointingly, OpenIDEO limits the ideas to 1024 characters, so I decided to post my ideas on this blog instead and direct other OpenIDEO contributors to continue reading here if my ideas trigger interest.

We have to acknowledge that the problem is almost impossibly hard to solve! Not trying to understand it first would be like trying to fix the symptoms of a sick patient without making a diagnosis first!
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Categories: General Tags: , , ,

Group identity: a sense? an emotion? a state of mind? is it even real?

July 30, 2010 3 comments

You’ve probably heard it many times — our biology teacher in grade school was wrong to teach us we only have five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and scent. We have many more — though there’s disagreement how many exactly, the number is probably higher than 10 — from some which sit on firmer scientific ground, like the sense of balance or gravity in our inner ear, to some which are murkier and may fall into the myths and legends rubric, like your parents “feeling” when you’ve got yourself in trouble 😉

How about emotions? Many researches have tried to answer this and everyone seems to be in agreement that one can’t enumerate all possible emotions as they’re virtually limitless, but could still distill what is believed to be the set of basic emotions leading to all of the others. However, even the number of basic emotions is disputed and ranges from as low as only 2 (pain and pleasure) to 11 or more (anger, aversion, courage, dejection, desire, despair, fear, hate, hope, love, sadness).

Being interested in human personality and what shapes it, I can’t stop but wonder if we’ve truly explored the effect of the emotions on what most people (including myself) call group identity — the main driver that seems to be shaping individual humans that belong to a given group to behave more alike, thus increasing the group coherence.
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