Saturday, January 15, 2011

TED videos out the wazoo

Though I haven't been posting lately, I've been watching lots of TED videos and I wanted to share some of them with you.

The first is Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, talking about "Why we have too few women leaders." If you're a woman who cares about moving up in your career, I think you'll find this interesting.



The second video is 11-year-old Birke Baehr talking about "What's wrong with our food system." Though what he says probably isn't anything you haven't heard before, the fact that someone so young came to these conclusions and is so concerned about it speaks even louder than what he says.



The next video is philosopher Denis Dutton discussing "A Darwinian theory of beauty." He says that beauty is a core part of human nature with deep evolutionary origins. In addition to a few interesting insights, his presentation itself is entertaining. "We find beauty in something done well."



After that, I watched Heribert Watzke talk about "The brain in your gut." There is a network of 100 million functioning neurons in your intestines and Watzke describes this as an autonomous hidden brain about the size of a cat's brain. He says "the gut is connected to our emotional limbic system" and discusses how it has changed over time, how the invention of cooking food has affected everything about humans.



Most recently, I watched the video that has made me think the most since I started TED month: Brene Brown and "The power of vulnerability." She studies human connection and, in this video, shares the realization that caused her to have a "breakdown" or, as her therapist calls it, a "spiritual awakening."

She says that "In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen." She separated the people she studied in to two groups: Those who have a sense of worthiness and those who don't. Those who do, have a strong sense of love and belonging and (here's the important part) the only difference between those who do and those who don't is that "people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they're worthy of love and belonging." They have the courage to be imperfect and fully embrace vulnerability, believing it's fundamental.

Brown says that although "we live in a vulnerable world," "we numb vulnerability" and that "you can't selectively numb emotions" without numbing the others. As a result, "we make the uncertain certain." She then goes on to discuss the effect this has on politics and religion - the "you're wrong, I'm right" attitude permeating both of these subjects today. I thought this was a fascinating discussion and I hope you'll watch it and leave your thoughts in the comments.

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