【9/11 You Become What You Do
【9/18 How to Spot a Liar
【9/25 The Joyful Economy: Who and What?
【10/16 Being Authentic
【10/23 思‧英語討論會】
【10/30 思‧英語討論會】
【11/6 思‧英語討論會】
【11/13 思‧英語討論會】
【11/20 思‧英語討論會】
【11/27 思‧英語討論會】

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How to Spot a Liar

Let's talk about Pamela Meyer's TED talk: How to Spot a Liar

This talk has got a lot of information in it. As you listen, pick out the one or two things that really catch your attention, and we'll talk about those things. See you tonight!

Being Authentic

Tonight we're going to discuss Ash Beckham's talk, "When to take a stand and when to let it go."

The main theme of her talk is that human beings are more than one thing at a time, and acknowledging this is one way to be really human. I think this is one of the main cultural differences between the US and Taiwan. I feel that in Taiwan that it is culturally normal to be more than one thing at a time, and to have more than one idea about the world at a time. I think this is one of Taiwan's greatest strengths. So, let's talk about what is being an authentic human being, according to different cultures.

You Become What You Do

Let's talk about Barry Schwartz' TED talk: The way we think about work is broken.

"And that's how the industrial revolution created a factory system in which there was really nothing you could possibly get out of your day's work, except for the pay at the end of the day. Because the father -- one of the fathers of the Industrial Revolution, Adam Smith -- was convinced that human beings were by their very natures lazy, and wouldn't do anything unless you made it worth their while, and the way you made it worth their while was by incentivizing, by giving them rewards. That was the only reason anyone ever did anything. So we created a factory system consistent with that false view of human nature. But once that system of production was in place, there was really no other way for people to operate, except in a way that was consistent with Adam Smith's vision. So the work example is merely an example of how false ideas can create a circumstance that ends up making them true.

It is not true that you "just can't get good help anymore." It is true that you "can't get good help anymore" when you give people work to do that is demeaning and soulless. And interestingly enough, Adam Smith -- the same guy who gave us this incredible invention of mass production, and division of labor -- understood this. He said, of people who worked in assembly lines, of men who worked in assembly lines, he says: "He generally becomes as stupid as it is possible for a human being to become." Now, notice the word here is "become." "He generally becomes as stupid as it is possible for a human being to become." Whether he intended it or not, what Adam Smith was telling us there, is that the very shape of the institution within which people work creates people who are fitted to the demands of that institution and deprives people of the opportunity to derive the kinds of satisfactions from their work that we take for granted."

Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong

What do people really need in their lives? Isn't it actually connection with others?

To see this talk on the TED site, click here.

Why it's time to rethink the pecking order at work

This talk is about why we might be better off rethinking how we organize ourselves at our workplaces.

To see this talk on the TED site, click here.

What Dame Ellen MacArthur learned sailing around the world

We're not the only ones talking about this! Another person's view on what's going on with our economy, surprisingly similar to our conclusions a couple weeks ago, when we were discussing the problem with Free Trade Agreements.

To see this talk on the TED site, click here.

Open Source Blueprints for Civilization

To see this on ted.com click here: Open Source Blueprints for Civilization

"So let me tell you a story. So I finished my 20s with a Ph.D. in fusion energy, and I discovered I was useless. I had no practical skills. The world presented me with options, and I took them. I guess you can call it the consumer lifestyle. So I started a farm in Missouri and learned about the economics of farming. I bought a tractor -- then it broke. I paid to get it repaired -- then it broke again. Then pretty soon, I was broke too.

I realized that the truly appropriate, low-cost tools that I needed to start a sustainable farm and settlement just didn't exist yet. I needed tools that were robust, modular, highly efficient and optimized, low-cost, made from local and recycled materials that would last a lifetime, not designed for obsolescence. I found that I would have to build them myself. So I did just that. And I tested them. And I found that industrial productivity can be achieved on a small scale."

Flow, The Secret to Happiness?

"So my research has been focused more on -- after finding out these things that actually corresponded to my own experience, I tried to understand: where -- in everyday life, in our normal experience -- do we feel really happy? And to start those studies about 40 years ago, I began to look at creative people -- first artists and scientists, and so forth -- trying to understand what made them feel that it was worth essentially spending their life doing things for which many of them didn't expect either fame or fortune, but which made their life meaningful and worth doing.
This was one of the leading composers of American music back in the '70s. And the interview was 40 pages long. But this little excerpt is a very good summary of what he was saying during the interview. And it describes how he feels when composing is going well. And he says by describing it as an ecstatic state.
[O]ur nervous system is incapable of processing more than about 110 bits of information per second. And in order to hear me and understand what I'm saying, you need to process about 60 bits per second. That's why you can't hear more than two people. You can't understand more than two people talking to you.
Well, when you are really involved in this completely engaging process of creating something new, as this man is, he doesn't have enough attention left over to monitor how his body feels, or his problems at home. He can't feel even that he's hungry or tired. His body disappears, his identity disappears from his consciousness, because he doesn't have enough attention, like none of us do, to really do well something that requires a lot of concentration, and at the same time to feel that he exists. So existence is temporarily suspended. And he says that his hand seems to be moving by itself. Now, I could look at my hand for two weeks, and I wouldn't feel any awe or wonder, because I can't compose."