DECEMBER 16, 2014
BY: MINDA ZETLIN
A few hours of TV watching can give you a year’s worth of wisdom.
The presents have been opened. The guests have gone home. It’s time to get into your jammies and snuggle down on the sofa for some well-deserved relaxation and maybe a little TV: It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or one of the many versions of A Christmas Carol. But if you’d like to start 2015 with a big dose of inspiration, consider spending some of your viewing time on 47 enlightening speeches published by TED during 2014.
To make this prospect as tempting as possible, the TED folks have assembled aneight-minute video of the highlights from these talks which is guaranteed to get you curious about at least a few of them (or all of them, if you’re me).
The TED folks have helpfully broken the talks down by theme, so you can go right for what interests you the most. Taken together, these videos add up to a quick infusion of insight, and some important lessons we should all take away from 2014:
1. Our world is an amazing place.
Chris Hadfield shares the view from the International Space Station. Fabien Cousteausuggests that we live in the oceans. Master musicians perform and record all over the world. And physicist Allan Adams finds the afterglow of the Big Bang.
2. Medicine takes a leap forward.
Hugh Herr shows how bionics mean you don’t need to have legs to dance. Doctors on the cutting edge show how to find cancer way before it’s a threat and how to make a fold-up microscope for 50 cents. And one brave physician explains why patients and doctors are frightened of each other.
3. Might does not make right.
Visionaries take a closer look at what power really means, especially in the internet age. Meanwhile Simon Anholt and Michael Green remind us that rich countries don’t always do well by their own people or anyone else.
4. Economic inequality is not sustainable.
5. Big Data changes everything.
6. We can make the world better.
7. Being creative is a constant struggle.
8. We’re evolving, and so is English.
9. We can be better than we are.
Speakers from Isabel Allende to Gabby Giffords explore how we can be our best, most passionate selves. Those who’ve faced terrorism and prison explain how our past can be a reason to grow instead of shrink.
And finally, psychologist Dan Gilbert skewers our human misconception that who we are today will bear any resemblance to who we’re going to be in 10 years. “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished,” he declares. That’s a truth we should all keep in mind as we head into 2015.