IDEAS vs. IDEOLOGY -  Mohamed ElBaradei & Raj. Gandhi 2012

  1. Very interesting conversation. Always good to be reminded of democracy's evolution – how far we have come in such a relatively short amount of time. As we witness the many struggles around the world, it's easy to get frustrated with the "growing pains" of democracy. Nice to stop and recognize the progress that has been made over the years, while renewing a commitment to ensuring continued progress in the years to come. Speaking of commitment, I appreciated ElBaradei's comments about Ghandi's commitment. Many people have ideas, but few are willing/able to stay the course.

  2. When they talk about ideas, and what's easy/difficult about them, it reminded me of Herrera's book, about the Idea–finding a new way that dismantles the old networks. Her premise was more that the Idea itself was difficult to conceive (being an entirely brand new system unbeholden to old ideologies); their premise here is that communicating that Idea, making it digestible and palatable to a diverse public, is the tough part. Likely, they're both correct–rebuilding after revolutions, whether it's in the conception or communication of the Idea, is the part that so often fails, the part that is most crucial and immensely difficult. Considering this colossal task, t's almost a wonder that some of these Idea experiments (like young democracy) are working at all. At least, for now…

  3. Humanity is moving in the right direction and the challenge is to speed up the process. I liked that optimistic take on the state of the world and the work that still needs to be done. If we look at our systems not as failed or disasters, but as works in progress, then I hope that would give us confidence in our abilities to continue to retool those systems, fix what needs fixing, and keep what is worth saving.

  4. I found the discussion between ideas and ideologies not only to be an important one, but one that makes a distinction that is crucial to the progress of democracy. Democracy, as a fairly new concept, is something that is still progressing and evolving. Ideas leave room for them to change, evolve, and adapt to the needs of the people, whereas ideologies are rigid, narrow, and leave no room for improvement, dissension or discourse. I think it is important to recognize the victories that democracy has had and how our world is a much better place than it was even a half-century ago but also realize that we have a lot of work to do, and, moving forward, recognizing that along the way, we must not sacrifice the essence of those ideas of freedom, equality, and justice.

  5. What a remarkable conversation about ideas and ideologies. One of the things I took away from their conversations is that democracy is still young and the ideas of democracy is ever evolving. Additionally, their review of how Gandhi had success with his ideas clearly shows the value of being committed to a cause despite the differences and time to reach a goal.

  6. I was struck by the discussion about the difference between ideology and ideas. The rigidity of a system or ideology is typically quite narrow and exclusive, which does not allow for a democratic process to be realized. Ideas are the key – and how we hear each other and continue to work to incorporate the voices of many for a strong democracy. A democracy, which truly is a work in progress.

  7. Interesting difference drawn between Ideology and Ideas; in my experience I had never considered ideology to be a term that carried negative connotations. However, Mohamed ElBaradei & Rajmohan Gandhi clearly describe their differences and why ideas are a necessity for progress, while ideology is a menace. Freedom, the ability to dissent, and the willingness to fight against inequality and poverty. As Gandhi, mentioned total commitment to these ideas is the best way to achieve progress and usurp the stifling ideologies that have curtailed growth for so long.

  8. I found the distinction between ideas and ideology enlightening. Ideas are motivating and aspiring but open ended. Ideas like Freedom, Democracy, Respect, etc are idea that help shape our actions and drive revolution. Ideology on the other hand is rigid and narrowly defined. While it professes to seek this "ideas" it does so often through repression or the manipulation of religious notions. Their positive outlook was uplifting, that democracy is relatively new, that these movements are heading in the right direction. The question then is, how do we spread these ideas more quickly and with enough conviction that we get a class of people COMMITTED to the idea and able to ACT it out on a large scale.

  9. I appreciate this honest discussion about the destructive nature of rigid, exclusive ideologies compared with the positive, collaborative nature of inclusive ideas. This is a new and useful dichotomy for me. Ideas mentioned, such as freedom, unity, dignity and respect, can bridge divides that rigid ideologies create, especially if the ideas are supported with committed and broad activism. I hope Mohamed ElBaradei is correct in his 2012 assessment regarding the evolution of democracy. Sometimes progressive development vanishes and participatory republics become totalitarian regimes, such as what occurred in the Weimar Republic, and the Roman Republic before it. I like his optimism, and I hope he's right.

  10. I appreciate hearing the thoughts on how Ideas are crucial to fundamental, ethical societal progress: freedom of choice, ability to show dissent, fight inequality and poverty. I agree, we are moving in the right direction, but need to move faster.

  11. I appreciate the two men's perspective on the progress of democracy. It is easy to get frustrated and negative with all of the set backs and obstacles standing in the way of democracy today. But when you zoom out and compare where we are to 50-100 years ago, we are moving in the right direction. I appreciate that reminder, and the reassurance that we have made progress.

  12. Mr. ElBaradei provided an interesting example about the Constitution and how it is the perspective of what equality is that changes the outcome of society and how we interact. The examples he provided about Rosa Parks and Brown. vs Board of Education reflected the progression of ideas and what is equality. But, one would have to think, who are the people deciding on these Constitutional laws? Do they represent the diversity of people? Do their perspectives align with society or are they open to ideas?

  13. Commitment is the key word here. There is no shortage of ideas in the world, but only those people with drive and determination are able to see their ideas through to real change. Democracy is a work in progress, change does not happen overnight. But it also does not happen without people committed to seeing change through to the end. Change does not happen on it's own.

  14. I hear the term 'flexibility' come up a lot in global discourse, and I think this is an essential component of anyone's repertoire who is committed to standing up for freedom, fighting inequality, and building unity.On the other hand, too much flexibility may appear as weak or not fully committed. We have to be able to hear voices and opinions from all corners and attempt to coalesce these ideas for a greater good. Shutting people out, or not making goals clear has potential to create huge divisions and alienate people. We should certainly take action on the ideas posited in the video, but we should do so in a manner grounded in respect and collaboration. This can be difficult when other vehemently oppose work we are trying to do in restoring freedom, but there is some common ground that can be discovered and grown upon to build unity.

  15. While watching this video, I kept thinking of something my dad use to tell me when he would feel my commitment slacking: You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? I was reminded of this statement when Rajmohan Gandhi was talking about Gandhi’s success with his social work. He said the secret to his success, if there was one, was his commitment to his cause. Mohamed ElBaradei made an excellent point that the world is long on ideas and short on practice. Taking an idea and putting it into practice is the first step to making a change in the world. It must be genuine, crowd-sourced and from the bottom-up. But there must be a desire for action to take an idea from the realm of the intangible to the world stage of activism.

  16. Ideas/ideologies are the foundation of any social or political movement, positive or negative. I enjoyed the point brought up about "rigid" ideologies and how these absolute train of thoughts can be damaging to human beings. Ideas, or essential values and beliefs, however are the cornerstone for social progress. When these ideas are harnessed effectively, they can influence the masses to successfully collaborate to promote these values, much like prominent historical figures of the past. It is imperative for citizens to advocate for pro-democracy ideas that will enhance and positively impact all.

  17. As Mohamed ElBaradei said, "Democracy is a work in progress." I think that this is crucial to keep in mind for all of these conflicts that we see. Many people want instant results when it comes to political issues and that usually isn't an option. We must be fully committed to our ideas in order to see our goals come to fruition.

  18. It gave me hope when Mohamed ElBaradei was talking about how democracy is a relatively new process that is still being defined. I think that often taking a step back and realising that processes take time, and whilst we should still strive our hardest to work towards them, we must accept that nothing happens immediately.

  19. I am conflicted with the way ideologies effect society as a whole. In one way, I believe ideas are brought about for positive change, but in others ideologies can cause a negative effect by putting certain images, morals and values into the minds of those who are exposed. Ideologies can be tricky because in some ways, they can promote beliefs that can be negatively skewed. I think the complexity of ideas are overlooked by those who promote them.

  20. Ideologies are created in theory, and as utopian as they sound, they are much less practical because they disregard the individuality of people. Most ideologies would involve dictatorship (North Korea, for example)of which people blindly follow without considering its complications. This is when ideas come into the picture as a much more practical alternative. They are usually generated through observing the society and wanting to make changes. The process of establishing ideas as opposed to ideologies is much more complicated, as it caters to what people actually need/want. I guess most tyrants think ideologies are more straightforward and involve less changes, and a society could be completely controlled with as much force as possible.

  21. I feel like our country and the world was built off an idea and/or ideology. The U.S. Constitution was built off ideas and ideologies. Just because the so-called Founding Fathers who were chosen at the time because they were thought to be the "wise" ones created the Constitution does not mean that it is the only and right ideology. This is similar to how ElBaradei mentioned in the video about the Supreme Court ruling the Brown v Board of Education case. Though for the most part ideologies are usually created to help promote change, they can either break or make a society — each one has its pros and cons.

  22. I agree with what Rajmohan Ghandi was saying in the video, that ideas are needed when it comes to making change. Ideologies seem to root people in place while ideas spark change, whether it be good or bad. Action comes out of ideas, while ideologies are more so a set of beliefs or guidelines that an individual or a group follows. This is not to say ideologies are useless or that ideas are better than ideologies, but in this case when it comes to making a change and movement is needed, ideas are more proactive in an active sense, while ideologies provide more of a structure for how the ideas and action should unfold.

  23. most of the tragic histories we've heard and learned about starts from dangerous ideologies. Nazism, Fascism, anti-semitism, communism, etc. These ideologies were found in the purpose to enhance the life of people, or just to discriminate. To me, having a idea and having a ideology is two separate thing. When you have idea, you don't attach yourself to the idea and believe it like if it is a religion or something that you cannot go against. ideas are simply just ideas. they can be created and can be removed anytime anywhere, and most importantly, can be controlled by one. Whereas ideologies, individuals usually don't have control over it. ideologies in most of time, have elites that organize the ideology. Also it prohibits behaviors of individuals from doing anything against that ideology.
    Therefore, if pro-democracy movements' goal is to really bring democracies to all around the world, it should remain its status as an idea, instead of ideology, because as soon as it become a ideology and people start to abuse the real meaning of it, democracy will not be democratic anymore.

  24. New and good ideas can change the world and have the ability to change the future. However, as stated in the video, idea alone needs to forge more democratic alternatives. To make a change with an idea, the idea needs support and full dedication of the members who believes in the idea. There are full of ideas around the glove, but it lacks supports and dedication of the people to make change to the world.

  25. I think that the idea of Democracy is the main focus from all these movements and conflicts arising in different countries. Ideas and ideologies are different because the difference is between thoughts and what you believe in. I think these pro-Democracy movements are needed, like Ghandi said to have allies first and foremost.

  26. The points mentioned by Gandhi remind me of the overall structure of social movements fighting for change. The ideas of freedom, dissent, the fight against inequality and poverty (1:46) have the power to form coalitions. It starts as an idea, but it's up to leaders, activists, proponents of change, and allies to transform the idea into a greater cause.

  27. The things needed to advance pro-democracy movements seem like simple ideas; freedom, dignity, unity and respect. The hard part is actually APPLYING them to democracy and then having everyone respect those key factors that will result in a successful government. Like ElBaradei and Gandhi say, this is always a work in progress and when we look at the grand scheme of things, the United States specifically has advanced quite a lot in the past 60 years. The civil rights movement was only half a century ago and since then, we as a democracy have come very far in advancing equal rights for everyone. Though we are not perfect, we have come a long way. Thinking about civil rights progressions within my lifetime, I immediately think about same sex marriage. Recently, the United States, along with many other countries around the world have made same sex marriage legal, allowing everyone to practice one of the most "sacred" constitutional right. Even Ireland, which is seen as a very traditional Catholic nation passed a bill for same sex marriage BEFORE the United States did. This brings us back to the idea that in order to advance pro-democracy movements, a countries ideologies need to be flexible and not too rigid. When Ideologies don't progress with the times, they tend to be very destructive for a society.

  28. As stated in the video, there are many good ideas such as freedom, dissent, fight against inequality, and fight against poverty. This could allow for the development of coalitions and for a change to develop. It is clearly seen though that commitment is important in order for their ideas and ideologies to be spread. This can be seen with Ghandi and how he committed to his pursuit of freedom from the British and dedicated his life for it. However, I agree with Mohamed Elbaradei that the most important part for action to be taken on these ideas and for change to occur is the spreading and the understanding of the ideas. If the people don't understand the idea that you're trying to get to them, how do you expect them to follow and fight for it?

  29. All movements that are going on now and that have ever happened are based on one idea. That one idea may have many sub ideas to it but there is one main one that the public can associate it with. For me, Gandhi's idea with equality and peace. Since he worked at those ideas constantly and really tried to engrain them into the public's thoughts, I think that is why he really made a difference. Unfortunately, the same thing can happen with terrorist groups. Their leaders engrain their terrorist ideas so much into people's heads that they really believe what they're are saying. It really shows the power that ideas can have if you truly work at it.

  30. Every large movement, for good or bad, starts with an idea or a set of ideas. However, like we saw in Ghandi's case, one must be fully committed to their ideas in order to create change. It takes more than participating in scholarly discussions to transform ideas into revolutionary change. It may require great support and dedication, but certain ideas can grow into some of the most significant changes in a society.

  31. As the video says, we are not short on ideas, but commitment and follow through on these ideas is so important to fighting the rigidity and injustice certain ideologies pose. It's one thing to have a dialogue about innovative ideas, but an entirely different thing to inspire others to action and get them to subscribe to these revolutionary ideas. Despite the connectedness of today's world it will still take a few outspoken leaders to unify the masses behind a cause.

  32. Ideas can generate change. They can alter the future. They are powerful notions that start out as a thought. However, in order for ideas to be powerful, they have to be followed out by actions. They have to be practiced and enacted as stated in the video. Ideas are crucial to freedom, fight inequality, and poverty. An example, of ideas that can lead to positive change can be seen in the US. LGBTQ communities have been receiving more right that just a decade ago wouldn’t have been possible. No to say that everything is perfect now or near perfect, but steps are steps. Also, I believe ideas are what generate ideologies, so one has to be careful because a thought can turn to an idea, an action, an ideology, then a way of life.

  33. In this video Mr. Gandhi points out that if ideologies are too rigid or narrow then they can quickly become menace to other human beings. I agree with this. In today's world, acts of terror by people with extreme ideologies happen relatively frequently. This is because they cannot be accepting of the fact that other people have differing opinions from them. Gandhi adds that ideas, which are not the same as ideologies, are necessary in society. I think that ideas are definitely a good thing. Of course, they promote positive things like freedom and justice, but ideas can also be shared among other people. Doing this can help create a dialogue that allows people share their ideas and discuss them without using violence to force their beliefs. Mr. ElBaradei's thoughts strengthen this belief. He said that democracy is a work in progress. To me, the sharing of ideas can help facilitate democracy and peace all over the world.

  34. I remember first learning about ideologies from a political geography course, where my professor described ideologies as "turning the world upside-down" compared to what's actually going on. It's easy to see how that can be true- the video showed three examples of ideologies that were all in some way flawed, providing a skewed world-view to their audience.

    Ideology is defined(in Merriam-Webster) as a set of ideas or beliefs, or a manner of thinking. The issue with ideas is that they have an expiration date. The world changes constantly, and new developments, be it in politics, international relations, or technology, require new ideas in order to keep up with them. It is because of this that ideologies become outdated- their foundation simply gives way to society's progress.

    We are far from a post-ideological age, as there are still many nations that follow some sort of a rigid ideology. But the best way to bypass these ideologies is innovation- and fresh ideas are a great way to stimulate it.

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