Scale of the universal
Alright what a week. I’ve been sleeping very little and working very much, which has produced a quantity of inane babbling in my head, so I hope this post doesn’t end up and the category of ‘what was he thinking!’
Universal. Universe. Univers (ha, just kidding, no more type jokes Aaron). Isn’t it interesting that the word universe can mean everything outside, but universal can mean everything inside. Universal rights, the universe at large, two distinct contexts. Let’s realize that universal things are included within the universe, so we can perhaps set a scale with two very different outcomes before we look at a couple things together.
This is called “The Pale Blue Dot”, an image commissioned by Carl Sagan, taken by NASA, of our fair Earth. Caught in a beam of sunlight, Carl’s remarks about our spec of a planet are incredible, which he published in his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future In Space. I’d love to post the full 4 paragraphs of relevant text here, (check it if you want it), but the last one is most pertinent:
“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
Thanks Jay for posting such inspiring content!
Alright so this is our universe context I mentioned before. Now, for the universal.
Perhaps you are familiar with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for 2015. These goals are eight targets developed by the United Nations to drive global progress in health and development by 2015. Ambitious, right? It’s not just a list, it’s actually working to drastically reduce things like death by Malaria, and other major issues. Enter TEDxChange. And of course, Bill & Melinda Gates, thank goodness.
The purpose of TEDxChange was to celebrate the fact that the MDGs are ten years old, but also to jolt a global audience in realizing that we’ve only 5 years left to complete the 8 goals. This event was simulcast in 40 countries by 80 satellite partners in order to seriously talk about what still needs to be done and how we can move faster in regards to the MDGs.
In a large classroom in Madrid participants explained the history of contraception in Thailand, then developed a way to move forward and apply the same successful principles to other similar nations.
In Chape Hill, North Carolina the community gathered in a fantastic old cimena and talked about the logistics of getting equipment to health workers in the field and better equipping them for their demanding jobs.
In Tedx Dubai we can see the liberated citizens of an Islamic state, a place textbooks still classify as “largely not free.” When I see women with uncovered hair, non-segregated, engaging intellectually in the plan for our future, I realize that my textbook isn’t worth much. I wonder if they consider themselves “largely not free.” I wish I was there, the 4 speakers covered investing in social enterprises, fighting Aids, and renewable energy. Incredible.
TEDx Manhattan, humans have such great expressions when they are empowered & learning at the same time.
TEDx Argentina, such an excellent image realizing the idea behind human development.
At Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. – notes + scribbles, the foundations of what will become our future. Heading reads “change is possible.”
TEDx Singapore, question time.
At this point I think I am able to grasp the idea of global events + audiences, but global minds tackling common problems is just damn exciting. Dubai to Singapore to Chapel Hill. Universal. Everyone seems to be talking about how we don’t make things that last anymore, you know, like cathedrals. Isn’t it clear that many things we make now don’t have a physical place in the universe? Such as, Wikipedia, Google, UN MDGs, and TED itself? But they are equal to a cathedral, are they not? They require teams of artisans that have aligned their purpose and value!
Even though we don’t know how to make stained glass as a species anymore, we have cathedrals all around us. Which cathedral will I lend my hand to? Can I build more than one, simultaneously? Yes, of course, yes. If you & I can manage it, by the time we get past working age, later in this century, we will have built hundreds of cathedrals. This is alchemy, and it’s going to shimmer for generations. Yeah, it’s still just a pale blue dot in the sucking void of space, but at least we’re concerning ourselves with dot-wide problems and dot-wide goals with people from other sides of the dot, to make the dot better and probably, just probably, last longer.