Big questions

tedtalks_splash.jpgThere is so much good material in the Ted Talks it’s hard to pick out one single episode as a marker for the rest. Relevant to this blog is the one where Wade Davis talks about the “ethnosphere”, and there’s a good one on education by Sir Ken Robinson. Those are just two of many great presentations. Its like listening to This American Life with more meat and less potatoes. (However, while I’m mentioning TAL, Shoulda Been Dead, with Kevin Kelly and Squirrel Cop–Act 2–have been so popular over the years they are now cult classics).

Today I read that the organizers at TED have come up with next year’s program titled The Big Questions and they seem pretty pleased with themselves. Oh please TED, “What is art?” Yawn. Those are sure some predictably sophomoric “big” questions. I’m a fan of questioning everything but to get to the soul of human interaction, why not really big questions like, “What if you knew the day of your death, what would you do?” or “When was the last time you stole something?” or “Should children be sheltered from unhappiness, and if so, for how long?” Try those on the next time you want to make small talk at the bar or ask yourself, what questions define you? Even the presenters on “What will be my legacy” seem a little weak. How about adding a housekeeper, a geriatric nurse, a gardener and a bartender? That would make the sampling a little more realistic. But I will still listen since attending the conference (at over $2000 clams) has been out of my price range for years.