Sunday, 31 July 2011

Our virtual universe and TED

The internet is a world that is so vast that I'm sometimes baffled by the possibility of so much information, thinking, humour, personality or connection that it creates. It's like trying to quantify or understand where the universe starts and stops.

I love that there's so much out there, and occasionally lose hours to a brief question following whatever Google throws at me. There also times where there's just too much choice and I find myself simply browsing those handful of websites I visit daily.

I've recently added a new site to the places I visit often - I'm sure many of you will have encountered the site before, but if you haven't TED is a not for profit organisation founded on 'ideas worth sharing'. They are, and I'm sharing them here too. The site is simple, attractive and a world of thinking, laughing, challenging talks. Each talk is posted as a video, so you can see the person behind the words too.

I love that the content is searchable by categories beyond an academic topic; where you can visit those that are 'inspiring' or 'ingenious'. I've found myself listening to talk of physics or global challenges or love. Often these are things that I'd never pick a paper or book to seek ideas on, not even realising I was interested. It is a place of joy and debate, of power and honesty.

In the past day TED talks have made me wonder, smile and cry.

This talk on letter writing below made me think of my father: what do I keep of him?

It also makes me glad of the letters my Grandpa wrote to me every week whilst I was at boarding school, never expecting a response. They arrived every Friday, with two second class stamps so I could write back if I found a quite moment and write to someone else too. I still read these letters from time to time. And he is back with me, in his careful copperplate script. Written with effort as his eyesight faded in his late eighties. I treasure those envelopes and the love contained in them.

This one from Neil Pasricha is a gentle and funny reminder that, no matter what, there are things in our lives that are joyful and worth stopping still for a moment to observe and appreciate.

And one final one from Chris Jordan, whose profile quotes this simple thought;

"As you walk up close, you can see that the collective is only made up of lots and lots of individuals. There is no bad consumer over there somewhere who needs to be educated. There is no public out there who needs to change. It's each one of us." Chris Jordan on Bill Moyers Journal

I can only encourage you to take virtual wander, and lose yourself in this beautiful, funny, courageous place.

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