I’ve been too tired to go to the gym or yoga lately. Tuesday’s especially seem to stand for Tired-day’s.
Instead, as I did tonight, I opt to eat dinner early (at the office) and walk home and do light calisthenics at home as exercise. While I work out, in lieu of music or TV, I’ve started playing Ted Talks.
This routine suits my obsessive compulsive need to multitask and be productive 18/6. I end up watching, listening to really, three or four Ted Talks while working out for an hour. I’ve decided that this is a routine I can live with and stick with and I’ve been following this routine once or twice a night during the week for the past few weeks.
Tonight, I add one more step to this routine — posting the most memorable/inspirational/poignant quotes from the Ted Talks that I watch, and my favorite Ted Talk video of the night. Brain wins, soul wins, body wins, my writing wins.
So without further ado, here is the first Ted Talk Tuesday post. (I heart alliteration.)
Ted Talks for Tuesday, August 28:
- In ancient Greece and ancient Rome, people did not happen to believe that creativity came from human beings…People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit…The Greeks famously called these divine attendant spirits of creativity “daemons.”…The Romans had the same idea, but they called that sort of disembodied creative spirit a genius. Which is great, because the Romans did not actually think that a genius was a particularly clever individual. They believed that a genius was this, sort of magical divine entity, who was believed to literally live in the walls of an artist’s studio, kind of like Dobby the house elf,and who would come out and sort of invisibly assist the artist with their work and would shape the outcome of that work.
- The origin of saying “Ole!” – …centuries ago in the deserts of North Africa, people used to gather for these moonlight dances of sacred dance and music that would go on for hours and hours, until dawn...But every once in a while, very rarely, something would happen, and one of these performers would actually become transcendent. And I know you know what I’m talking about, because I know you’ve all seen, at some point in your life, a performance like this. It was like time would stop, and the dancer would sort of step through some kind of portal and he wasn’t doing anything different than he had ever done, 1,000 nights before, but everything would align. And all of a sudden, he would no longer appear to be merely human. He would be lit from within, and lit from below and all lit up on fire with divinity.And when this happened, back then, people knew it for what it was, you know, they called it by its name. They would put their hands together and they would start to chant, “Allah, Allah, Allah, God, God, God.” That’s God, you know. Curious historical footnote — when the Moors invaded southern Spain, they took this custom with them and the pronunciation changed over the centuries from “Allah, Allah, Allah,” to “Ole, ole, ole,” which you still hear in bullfights and in flamenco dances. In Spain, when a performer has done something impossible and magic, “Allah, ole, ole, Allah, magnificent, bravo,” incomprehensible, there it is — a glimpse of God. Which is great, because we need that.
This talk was a bit all over the place, but I did like her insight into moral ambiguity:
- There is also a big question of ambiguity. And I would link that to something called the cosmological constant. And you don’t know what is operating, but something is operating there. And ambiguity, to me, is very uncomfortable in my life, and I have it. Moral ambiguity. It is constantly there. And, just as an example, this is one that recently came to me. It was something I read in an editorial by a woman who was talking about the war in Iraq. And she said, “Save a man from drowning, you are responsible to him for life.” A very famous Chinese saying, she said. And that means because we went into Iraq, we should stay there until things were solved. You know, maybe even 100 years. So, there was another one that I came across, and it’s “saving fish from drowning.” And it’s what Buddhist fishermen say, because they’re not supposed to kill anything. And they also have to make a living, and people need to be fed. So their way of rationalizing that is they are saving the fish from drowning, and unfortunately, in the process the fish die.
3. Courtney Martin – Reinventing feminism – my favorite Ted Talk for this Tuesday
Courtney is a 30-year-old writer and editor of the number one feminist publication in the world, Feministing.com. She spoke about “…what it means to grow up in this horrible, beautiful time,” and has decided that for her, “it’s been a real journey and paradox.” Mostly, her talk was about activism and feminism but I thought she nicely and succinctly describes what it’s like to “grow up” in general.
- Paradox 1:…growing up is about rejecting the past and then promptly reclaiming it
- Paradox 2:…sobering up about our smallness and maintaining faith in our greatness all at once. (I’m posting her argument for Paradox 2 here because I think it needs the explanation and the explanation describes why it has been harder for our generation to grow up in our 20s than previous generations.) Many in my generation — because of well-intentioned parenting and self-esteem education — were socialized to believe that we were special little snowflakes — (Laughter) who were going to go out and save the world. These are three words many of us were raised with. We walk across graduation stages, high on our overblown expectations, and when we float back down to earth, we realize we don’t know what the heck it means to actually save the world anyway. The mainstream media often paints my generation as apathetic, and I think it’s much more accurate to say we are deeply overwhelmed. And there’s a lot to be overwhelmed about, to be fair — an environmental crisis, wealth disparity in this country unlike we’ve seen since 1928, and globally, a totally immoral and ongoing wealth disparity. Xenophobia’s on the rise. The trafficking of women and girls. It’s enough to make you feel very overwhelmed.
- Paradox 3: …aiming to succeed wildly and being fulfilled by failing really well.
- She also cited author Parker Palmer, who writes, so truthfully, that many of us are often whiplashed “between arrogant overestimation of ourselves and a servile underestimation of ourselves.”