Every once in a while I find myself at work late at night. I’m not always there because I have actual work to do. Sometimes its just because we only have one car at that moment and I’m waiting for Jeff. Sometimes it’s because there may be no one home and it gets lonely. Whatever the reason, almost every time I end up watching TED videos.
In case you’re not familiar with TED, it’s a nonprofit organization that makes it possible for people with great and sometimes insane ideas to share those ideas with the world. TED talks are generally around 20 minutes long, so in an hour you can hear about people who believe that world problems can be solved through online gaming, health care can be streamlined with an alarm clock and some pre-programmed chips, and how math is magical.
I was lucky enough to be at the inaugural TEDx Purdue in March this year. It was an amazing day full of amazing technology, primal rhythms, and incredibly caring and generous people. While there was not anything I could personally take advantage of at the event, I made a friend and left feeling considerably more optimistic about the human race. I’ve thought about the event often since March, and plan to go again if and when they put another TEDx together. I’ve already volunteered to help with the event, and I hope they take me up on that.
I think what’s amazing about TED is the optimism. We are bombarded from every corner with bad news all day. It’s the sad and disturbing headlines that catch our eyes when we read the paper. “Bad news sells” are words journalists live by. Depression among Americans, and probably around the world, is increasing. When I listen to a TED talk, I come away feeling like I can actually make a difference. I feel that what I think matters, and that everyone can help – no matter how much or little they can contribute.
I think what I’m trying to say is that there’s hope. Hope that we won’t annihilate ourselves. Hope that we just might figure out that being kind to each other is the way to world peace. Hope that there are better things to come – regardless of the newspaper headlines.