What do we really know about dying? He began to study the Near-death experience. It was similar to Raymond Moody's description. Lack of pain, calm, out of body experience or not, and a tunnel with a light at the end. Loving compassionate supportive. Sometimes a review of your life with comprehension of its meaning. A being of light. A garden full of dead relatives. You come to a border and you know that if you cross you don't return. Some are sent back. Some go back on their own. Heart attack victims were chosen to study, so that the people being studied could be compared. If you compare near death from suicide and heart attack, you don't have similar brain states. Can there be consciousness without brain function? Run with the data, even if it contradicts the current model. Collected over 1500 stories about what happens when you die. Premonitions. Deathbed visions. Every culture has them. You are visited by a dead relative. Negotiation of death date. Helping us look forward to death. Deathbed coincidences are when the dead person comes to someone they care about after dying to say they are ok. watches and clocks stop. Animals react. There is light at death. Compassionate light. Have a good death. Relax into the death process. Make sure that you do not die in a hospital. Die at home or hospice. See your grandchildren. Teach people, even children, not to be afraid of death. Prepare for death. Not only your paperwork but your relationships. Discuss death. Don't be afraid. The idea that because many people experience something similar at death does not mean that your mom and your dog are going to really come usher you into the afterlife where you will wander around picking daisies for eternity, but all the same I do like the idea (leaving the afterlife and ghosts completely out of it) that the experience of Death itself might be rather pleasant.
Always wanted to be cool. Tried to analyze what makes something culturally relevant and why he is not. He eventually gave up trying to find the next big thing and started doing what he liked. But then came back to the idea of studying it. It's idiotic, but fascinating Define cool: n. the acquired relevance in the contemporary culture of a particular demographic. Studied cool people. Started by approaching the cool people he knew. Asked cool people how it felt to be cool. Interviewed them for 6 months. 1. Cool people will talk openly about being cool, but not on record. 2. Cool people have a following and are codependent with their following. 3. Cool people make it look effortless, but they work hard at it. 4. Cool makes you lonely. 5. People embody a persona. They play a character and they end up losing their real selves. Cool people are projections from us. We project on to them what we desire. We get comfort from being inferior to them. What you need to be cool 1. Must be appointed by someone else. 2. Cool comes from the fringes of mainstream. It starts against status quo then becomes the status quo. 3. Cool is temporary. You cannot stay cool forever. Eventually you have to let go. Cool is not constant 4. Cool is a product of effort. Where is cool culure going? Why is it important? What is the biological relevance and importance of cool?
Travel as a conduit to getting out of a stalled spot? Wanted to travel but not to be a drop out or to change his profession. He researched the rules of the Journeyman and translated the rules to his profession and to his time. Must bring work equipmant. Only two sets of clothes, but wanted 7 days of clothes without washing. Work for board and lodging. He added on all continents and within 2 years. He had no money. Moved into a tiny room to save money. In 2010 he paid off his debt and went to Shanghai with 500 euros. Did 16 jobs and all continents. His stories about culture problems are entertaining. Dancing is illegal in Bangalore! Seriously?! But Indians I know LOVE to dance. That is nutty. The last rule of the Journeyman is to report your insights. That is what he is doing today. Living without possessions is a relief. It simplifies things. You learn that you don't need stuff. It's all about the people. The best city in the world is useless without great people. It's not where you go, it's who you travel with. But great cities are made of and by people. Don't follow the expected patterns. We should not all follow the same rules. You have to push yourself to be able to find your rules.
Her father told her when she was 5 that her destiny was to be a champion swimmer. At 12 she wanted to be an Olympic champion swimmer. There is a small group of humans who do long distance swimming. At 30, she decided to swim 100 miles in the open ocean. The world record at the time was 58 miles. They looked for a place to do it. They found Cuba. Great symbolic and real border. Havana to Key West. She had swum so far from the Bahamas. When she retired, she feared losing the feeling of passion that sports brings. Sports gives you measurable success to commit toward. 42 hours to swim from Cuba to Florida, in rough water. 103 miles. Sharks. Jellyfish. The gulf stream. It's treacherous. She didn't make it the first time she tried. She swam her 100 miles from the Bahamas. The Cuba failure stewed in the back of her mind. She became a journalist. When she turned 60, she felt much closer to the end than to the beginning or even to the middle. 60 is a big deal. She examined her life. Asked, "Have I been living with passion and commitment every day." She did not swim a stroke for 30 years when she retired. At 60, she started training again. She clandestinely trained again for the Cuba swim. The box jellyfish now inhabit the Florida Straits. It's tiny, but it will kill you. She has people who dive around while she swims and scare off sharks. YIKES. 51 hours of swimming. Training alone is 20-hour-long swims. Holy shit. Sensory deprivation is part of swimming. Her description of how you think and the things your brain does while you swim this distance is kind of blowing my mind. She says she will probably never make it from Cuba to Florida, but she will never stop trying.
Just because you are good at what you do does not mean that it makes you happy. Starship Millenium Project 3-year multimedia cruise, publishing documentation of the trip every day. Expensive slow internet. They had a flying dinghy. Beautiful photos! He had never had an experience of cross-ocean sailing and he felt really uncomfortable at first. What he learned is that comfort zones expand. 2.5 years living on a boat is equal to 20 years of marriage. Having nothing makes you free. But having nothing is uncomfortable. He decided to go live in Cape Town. He bought a house. Wanted to go back into nature. He had a great time in Southern Africa and started to take pictures. But then he ran out of money. So, he decided to become a photographer. Luckily, his first book of photos was very successful. Everyone's comfort zone is different. He went to Canada to photograph walruses. He met Joe, an Inuit. He had a boat. The boat was not in good shape. He started to feel uncomfortable. He does not like danger, so being on that boat in a storm was not a good idea. Calculated Risks only. Going out of your comfort zone is not about facing danger. I want to go to see this lava lake in Etheopia. He's been taking people to remote places aroudn the world. Disorienting places. It makes people cry. The experience of nature on this scale is humbling, it makes you feel how you are pat of evolution. After people go to these places, they get PIN code syndrome. They can't remember their PIN codes. Many people make dramatic life changes after this.
Borders in music are defined by words. We have to redefine the terms. Delete three words: Classical Pop Crossover They force us to think in ways we otherwise would not. Classical music makes us think of the past, but does classical somehow end? Young composers are trapped by the term classical. Young composers don't know these borders. Classical composers do not live in an aquarium like they used to. They listen to everythig. They go nightclubbing. They don't need the idea of crossover anymore. They are already out of the aquarium. This term was helpful when composers needed a word for that, but this is past. Let the young composers in. Stop letting the IDEA of what classical music is prevent the new generation from being heard.
Real local knowledge is rarely googleable. He says Google is only usable in 5% of human languages, but that is not a good statistic. What matters is what percentage of the human population is left uncovered. Languages spoken by larger numbers of people are more impactful. Technology alone does not give you access to knowledge. You also need language to share information. How can we overcome this barrier? How do we connect the languages? The concept is to create 36 million language pairs to pass knowledge from one culture to another. Wikipedia has 80k language pairs by linking articles in different languages on the same topic Google offers 4k language pairs by automatic translation. I wish he would talk a bit more about the mechanics of this dream. I've not been convinced that this is quite possible. Possible or not, it is certainly a worthwhile effort.
Pictures of Sudan. Ugh, it looks bad in the media. Anwar lives in another Sudan. Borders that need to be crossed in Sudan: Education. Access to information Languages Over 70 languages plus dialects in Sudan. Arabic is the dominant language. Even in South Sudan, they communicate across languages with a form of Arabic. He did his CS PhD in Korea. WE have a culture of sharing in the tech world. He tells about the TED Open Translation Project. This makes the content more shareable. He translated a talk to Arabic. Since 2003 he has discovered so much via TED, as have many of us. So, this talk is kind of an advertisement for TED itself... a mise en abime... could we call it recursive? Why not use TED to promote aspects of TED? Still feels kind of funny. JD Schramm's talk was one that he translated. How to prevent people from trying again to commit suicide after they attempt it once. He tells about how his contact with TED made him grow personally by overcoming his own homophobia. Very funny. Crossing inner borders. Now he asks himself as a translator if he should translate the phrase where the man refers to his husband into Arabic because of how homosexulity in particular is so taboo in Sudanese culture. He felt it was important to share with everyone the lesson he learned. The essence of his mission is to share knowledge.
Questioning the idea that public spaces should be for sale. Civic vandalism to challenge the billboard's legitimacy as an advertising medium. No opt out, etc etc etc. They did 36 installations in 5 cities in 5 days. What is the boundary between art and activism? They tried to expose the mechanics of the advertising industry. Why is there so much advertising in our public space? A common defense is that advertising is information and it is a benign service. Peer into the origins of the advertising industry. Freud's nephew wrote a book called propoganda where he basically laid out the mechanics of modern advertising. Edward Bernays. People must be trained to desire rather than to need. Paul Mazer, Lehman Brothers. Yeah. That is gross. How does society tell stories about itself? Advertising exploits genuine meaningful human experience by linking them to products. Advertising helps shape culture and we mustn't naively think that it is a mirror... well of course. Every part of culture is simultaneously a mirror and an influencer. That's life. Studies show that most people in Europe think advertising sucks and that it puts stupid pressure on young people in particular to conform to social tribes through consumerism. Conceptions of beauty problem also. Talking about the Dove chubby models ad. They are basically saying that it is not possible for advertising to be ethical. It is simply and plainly incompatible. This is true. The impact of consumer culture on our planet is also impossibe to sustain. Sao Palo went after visual pollution. Removed public advertising and legalized street art. Amazing. 70 pre cent of Sao Palo residents back it fully. We should be promoting alternatives to public space advertising. We should think of ourselves as citizens not consumers. Advetising is ro reviled it's almost fun to try to defend it, but I have to admit that I despise the co-opting of civic space in this way.
Marrakesh is a place of inspiration. Create a place for people to think about te future in a context that is already rich, confusing, and inspiring. Marrakesh is a place of peaceuful coexistance of opposites They renovated an old Medina with no electric tools. As a woman, she was erased by the culture of Marrakesh. The workers would not even look at her. She tried to find a way to make herself visible and the first step was to stop believing that she could come to another culture and teach them something instead of learning. She became fascinated with the crafts and trades that are disappearing in Africa and realized that Europe loves this kind of handcraft. So she created a plan to bring the two worlds together. Sell vintage products to raise money. Found craft schools. Make new stuff. Sell it in Europe. Fund community projects. It is difficult sometimes for a native person to see the value in their own culture. It took her a long time to build trust and to bring the craftsmen to see the dream. It took a year and a half. Very interesting when cultures collide productively. They gave the village a microcredit for building the school. They had over 100 women apply for the school. There were only 20 spaces. The villagers had no trouble sifting through the applicants. The first product was an ipad case. Protecting a modern device with a nearly dying craft form has a poetic character. Ethics are not a USP. Social brands have to be built the same as consumer brands. Her mission is to make social sexy. After a year, they have done several projects in the village with the business revenue. Next they will tackle illiteracy among women in the village and area. "tradition is not to preserve the ashes, but to pass on the flame" --Thomas More
Godfather of Linux Free culture. Open source culture. Goes beyond software. Richard Stallman's "copyleft" movement software freedom gives you the power to create something the original author never dreamed of. I like the slowly emerging concept that all creation is reuse. Not exactly what this man is talking about, but certainly related. Closed software causes global imbalance of opportunity and brain drain. National security is also at risk with closed software because it can be controlled by the government policies of the creator's nation. The borders of Economic Levels * Piracy is rampant. 34% piracy rate in the US. Why don't people pay for software? Sometimes because it is so expensive and so needed. Free software makes it easier for a growing nation to build a software industry. Software slavery is maybe even a better way of thinking about it than software freedom, because freedom is too easy to take for granted, but slavery slaps you still. Rasberry pie runs linux and for 35 dollars you can do amazing things. Hall found a guy in Soweto who was working on the Linux kernal. The computer industry has always had an inclusive culture. Hall came out at the age of 61. Sounds like for the It Gets Better project. Another border. Nobody knows where the next software genius will come from. It is crazy to think that this person will come from one place or another. Free software makes it possible for that genius to be found wherever he or she may be.
John Bunzl #tedxberlin #crossingborders