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This blog is about both scientific, societal/political, and yoga-related issues - individually and considered as different aspects of the same problem/solution. A longer description is found in the first blog entry, and all old posts are found in a structured way here. The blog is an extension of my main home pages and Twitter: @gunnarcedersund

The Dec 3 TED-evening: science/medicine and politics/society/ethics

events/courses at yoga-link.sePosted by Jan 03, 2014 19:42
After some wonderful days of relaxed Christmas recreations, we have now passed New Year, and I am again eager to start doing things. A very stimulating thing for me, which I love to do this time of the year, is to sum up things that have been, get some zoomed-out perspective, and from this perspective lay some new visions, dreams and plans for the year(s) to come. First out in this process is the last TED evening, which was held here at yoga-link on December 3, 2013.


The start out the first session, before the food brake, we listened to a little song I just discovered (and described e.g. here), and which layed the emotional basis: we want to create a new order of things. Or as the lyrics say:

"Let's get the tv and the radio
to play our tune again
its 'bout time we got some airplay of our version of events

These TED-evenings is in a way part of our attempt to do exactly that: to get some airplay for our version of events. To get some airplay for the most exciting developments of the global human mind downloaded to this part of the world as well. Downloaded to Sweden, to Linköping, to T1. To combine the global phenomenon of the global mind with the old-fashion and partially lost art of spending time with friends, while eating some nice food and having a good time.

The next video was a repeat of an old favorite, one that we have seen at least one earlier TED-evening. However, since there was only some 2-3 of us who were there who had seen it before, we decided to see it anyway - since some of those who hadn't seen it thought the title sounded intriguing, and since our pre-video discussions were very much about personal responsibility, and of how this connects to the global developments. This video basically says that we need to take personal responsibility for ourselves, that we need to create social structures that are not centered around rules and incentives, but around virtue - that old-fashion concept that asks us to do what is right, to do what feels right. This is possible to do in a society where rules are not rigid, where you feel like a person, an individual, interacting with other persons, and where personal responsibiilty acting outside of the standard procedure is celebrated and not punished. Nevertheless, whereas this video argued in very clear terms for the importance of achieving this, it did not have many showcases of how to achieve that. That was were the third video came in.

Also this third video was a rerun of a video we had seen before, in an earlier TED evening, but where again there were hardly anybody present who had attended that earlier event. This video, which is one of my favorite TED-videos so far, shows some very concrete examples of a general and rapidly growing trend: how internet and new technology can be used to connect people to each other, in a way that allows them to trust each other, and thereby help each other, and gradually take over governmental functions. This allows us to enter into politics, not only in the very high-level front image level, which is the thin top layer where elections are held, but in the core actual inner workings of the system, where the government actually functions. My favorite and most startling quote from this video is "we need to make bureaucracy sexy".


After this we had about an hour brake, where we mingled around in two different rooms: the kitchen and the video room. Various groups of discussions formed naturally, and the above described relationship between the above two TED videos was identified: the first one showed the need to make a more personal-responsibility approach to government, and the second one showed how this can be achieved in practice.



The second part started with a video of a physicist, David Deutsch, who spoke about the basic principles of modern science. Basic principles of epistemology, the difference between a testable hypothesis and a myth. These important concepts and perspectives based on previous successes within science formed a nice basis for the final two videos, which delved into the current and future challenges of science: to more fully understand the power and complexity of the human mind, and how we can relate to its healing of problems both within the human mind itself, and within the rest of the human body.

The second video in the second session was about a person who had started to hear voices, voices that over time had gotten more and more vicious and mean, up to the point where she was a complete mess, and were most doctors had more or less completely given up on her. But, the story was also about how she had some doctors who managed to convince her that these voices were a meaningful response to not resolved inner problems, and once she could correctly understand and interpret the message that these voices tried to convey to her, she could start to respond to them properly, and thus start a healing process. Now, these voices are not only completely friendly to her, they are almost like a superpower - she can now remember verbatim what she reads, she can listen to two conversations at once, etc etc.

In the 6th and final video of the evening, the power of the human mind was taken one step further: to the healing of the body. In this remarkable story, Anita Moorjani explains how she was lying on the death bed, and - according to the doctors - was in a coma that she was not expected to wake up from, when something remarkable happened: she had a near-death experience, that allowed her to see many things. She could see not only what was happening around her, and far away from her, but also what emotional basis there was for her attracting her disease, and how she could heal herself again, by simply changing her emotional set-point. This she also did. She chose to wake up again, and to heal herself, by ending her fears. Within a few weeks she went from terminally ill and on the brink of death to completely recovered. The interesting thing with this story, to me, is that she was so clear about how she could do it. She is now talking not only about this story, but also more generally about sound life principles. These can be summed up in the phrase "live life fearlessly", or in the following lyrics, which are taken from the song that opened the whole TED evening:

"Yeah we're all wonderful, wonderful people
so when did we all get so fearful?
Now we're finally finding our voices
so take a chance, come help me sing this


We plan to have a new TED evening probably around mid-February. If you want to follow discussions concerning this, join the facebook group, or the rizzoma discussion page. Suggested themes so far are: "3D printing and other technologies" and "relationships and sex"! :)

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