Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tedx Thisblog

This blog is definitely a bi-product of watching TED videos and other inspirational videos (in fact the following speech was written before I came up with this blog). So here is what I might say If I had the opportunity to speak at a TED conference (but that would kill my anonymity):

Well, 18 minutes, isn't much time, so I'll have to get to the key points pretty quickly. But now I have to ask myself, what are the key points? Well I guess if I were to be concise, to be a bit preachy and direct, I would say the main point, and it's a sort of one-two combo, is change and imminence.  

I have spent the last month watching TED talks constantly, being inspired (to the point where I was so inspired I wasn't being all that productive). So the ideas following are not just the product of someone sitting in a room with a pen and paper and saying "Where has the world gone wrong!?" Surely I can see extremely obvious examples of whats wrong, but I cannot concisely explain all of them. However, other people can, and have. And they've done it eloquently, magnificently, beautifully, statistically,  and they've done it in ways which have taken them hundreds upon hundreds of hours of research. Sure I can say "it feels like something is about to shift, or I feel like the climate is being effected (because everywhere I go the weather is ridiculous and I saw that video Al Gore made 5 years ago)" , or that "My goodness! My standardized education was a waste of my time!" But I could never prove these things, I just felt they were there. Now theres a huge bank, a cache, of incredibly honed knowledge and it paints a very clear picture. Which brings me back to my main issue: Imminence and Change. Well what is imminent, you ask. As Johan Rockstrom will succinctly tell you, our climate is being pressured into an incredible change, it's about to step over a very delicate precipice. But that is just one of the imminent things, what about our lopsided economy and over population, well there's Slavoj Zizeks RSA Speech about the misgivings of charity and how it's undermined our economy, and Hans Roslings TED talk on population growth. So you see the facts are clearly stated,  you need not go any further than to realize something is imminent. Let us take the example of the frog and the pot of water: if you bring a pot of  water to a boil and drop the frog in, he will jump out, he will be hurt, but he will be very much alive. But if you put the frog in cold water, and raise the temperature slowly, he will sit there and await his doom until it's all but too late and he hasn't the energy to jump out. Well right now the water is getting quite warm. So let us not sit idly by and watch our own demise.

But at the same time, lets not worry so much about Mother Earth just yet. We have such great aspirations; like trying to build green cars which convert crude oil into energy and burp out flowers instead of producing noxious gas. Wonderful ideas, but what value do they have immediately. Pretty much nothing. No matter how many hybrid cars or photovoltaic cells we put out there it's not going to change anything, not right now. You see we're trying to run before we learn to crawl. These things will happen naturally. But first we have to solve our own problems. Humans can't continue on like this. Lets look to another TED speaker, Seth McCandless who showed us visually what percentage of each economy's budget is put towards military: it's obscene! It's like all we as humans care about is killing other humans or stopping other humans from killing us. Let's stop and think about that for a second. According to our budgets, our focus, as an entire species, is about killing other members of our species or preventing other members of our species from killing us. WHAT!? Has the world gone mad? Well, I guess thats a bit much of a reaction. Killing each other has been a favorite past time of human beings since our inception (can i still use this word without Leonardo DiCaprio planting himself in your head?). I mean look at all the terrible leaders we've seen,  Genghis Kahn, Vlad The Impaler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, the list goes on. Killing's been pretty popular throughout history. Now, I'm not sure about you, but I personally feel like killing is wrong. Whether you do it for religion or for your girlfriend or for your dog, it's bad any way you slice it. Those dictators are all figures of the past, and the phrase "history repeats itself" is bullshit.  Humans are in their absolute youth, who is to say what will and will not repeat itself. Lets learn our lesson as well. We are all connected, anything important that happens, happens everywhere. There are no more boundaries and borders, so why kill over them. Don't drop bombs on Iraq, drop iPhones on them. Let the kids rebel. And as Sam Harris said in his incredibly inspiring TED talk, lets not delude ourselves into believing that we have no moral compass. We can tell whats wrong and whats right, and if something seems off it's our job (and I don't mean grand ol' USA), it's humanities job, to step in and say something about it.  Lets shake hands with our neighbors. So stop killing would be my step one. Thats not to say we shouldn't have militaries and protect ourselves, we cannot all of a sudden become weak and defenseless. But we don't have to make it the focus of everything we do. If enough countries are enlightened, than an unenlightened attacker is going to meet with a heavy hand from many different directions. So where do we put all the money allocated to war. Science, exploration, education. SEE! See how quickly technology is advancing, every single day something new comes out. Thats because we are currently in the middle of an incredible technological revolution. Give it a kick! Boost that revolution to the next level, and go one better. Take it into orbit. Put as much money as we can into technology and exploration of the universe. Send probes and satellites and everything we got to as many planets as we can get them to. Send people to other planets, how hard is that? The amount of material used in a Ford production plant in a single day is probably more than enough to build a fully functioning space shuttle. Reform education: follow the guidelines of Sir Ken Robinson and that indian guy who did the Self Teaching video. Kids are the future, so make sure it's a good one. What if we don't exist but once and your born again, here, on this planet, as soon as you die. Do you want to be born into the terrible future we're currently designing, one with Walmarts and Mcdonalds as the worlds primary employer? I don't think so. The changes need to be made on every level. Limit capitalism, multi-billionaires exist. There are people who don't have food in this world at the same time as people who have multiple billions of dollars.  The disparity of wealth should only go so far. Capitalism has run it's course. It's time for some big changes there. The change that is constantly spoken of is not just an idea, it's a necessary. It has to happen. Every one of these inspirational videos ends with an emphatic: You are the ones we are looking for to help. But none of them say exactly how. What is it that you  can do? You who is sitting at your computer watching inspirational videos and coming up with your own brand of brilliant ideas…. Change. Show the world who you are. Explain your ideas, write them down, post them online, somewhere, anywhere. Maybe there should be another sight, a cousin of TED (we could call it STEVE - System To Engage Virtually Everyone) Maybe your idea exists, that doesn't mean its worthless or redundant, rather the opposite, it means it's resonating in the minds of others. It's time we take stock, it's time we figure out where we are all at. It's time we preempt the "soft-apoclypse" as Slavoj Zizek called it. Let's not wait and find out what is imminently awaiting us, and lets do something about it, let's change. I personally don't have all the answers, but I have some, and you do too, so bring on the revolution.


  1. hallo!
    i dont know how i found this blog..
    what do you want to do?
    maybe we can think together, i have alot of ideas from almost a year of unemployment and surfing the internet..
    how can i contact you..

    Itai- Jerusalem :)

  2. haha! wonderful. I only put this up the other day. You see the trick would be to build a nice website. But I can't host it because that will be a link to my identity, and that would be a demerit to the whole concept.

    I want to build an idea-based online social network.