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Posts tagged "TED"

Christmas in Colombia: The Gracious End of FARC

Christmas in Colombia: The Gracious End of FARC

Some incredible and beautiful news coming out of Colombia this week, and not just with their third place finish over the USA at the COPA. In a news cycle defined by #Brexit and the massive dip in your retirement portfolio, the 50+ year guerrilla insurgency FARC signed a cease-fire pact with the Colombian government. The odds are looking good that this war is officially over.

If you need brushing up on your South American Contemporary History, the FARC were really bad guys, and they were that way for half-a-century. Seriously, they’re the South American version of ISIS, motivated by Marxism instead of religion….

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A TED Talk About Nothing

A SuperBetter You, A SuperBetter Me: Gaming the New Self-Help

A SuperBetter You, A SuperBetter Me: Gaming the New Self-Help

In certain sectors the news couldn’t have been bigger. Yet I’m afraid it missed the mocking-orbit completely. I’m referring to the announcement back in March that Steven Spielberg would be directing the film adaptation of Ernest Cline’s 2011 book Ready Player One. After the author showed up in the Atari documentary driving a restored Dolorean, I checked with certain genre experts to see if the book was as fun and fresh as the hype indicated. Did it really deliver on the “Willy Wonka meet The Matrix by way of Tron” promise? The answer is, basically, yes. With the possible exception…

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Singing Love Songs to Addicts (and Earth People, Too)

Singing Love Songs to Addicts (and Earth People, Too)

Been a while since we checked in on the world of addiction. Back in January The Huffington Post ran an article with the transparently baiting title of “The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think” that went viral. I think we mentioned it in a weekender. It was the work of Johann Hari, a controversial British journalist and author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. In June Hari gave a TED talk–embedded below–based on the same material, in which he stresses the social factors that…

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Infidelity, Love, and the New Shame

Infidelity, Love, and the New Shame

Just dove into Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg’s Modern Romance, and have to say, it’s pretty great. Funny yet with a surprising amount of meat on its bones. As mentioned the other day, the book’s primary interest lies in exploring 1. the unspoken cultural imperative to find a ‘soul mate’ and 2. the resulting anxiety, frustration, and confusion that characterizes modern romance. I was particularly struck by how the word ‘soul mate’ has come to serve as a synonym for savior. A weight it clearly cannot bear:

Searching for a soul mate takes a long time and requires enormous emotional investment. The problem is that this search for the perfect…

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Another Week Ends: The Purity Witchhunt, March Madness, Punitive Gods, Better Call Saul, The TED Testament and Forgiving Racists

Another Week Ends: The Purity Witchhunt, March Madness, Punitive Gods, Better Call Saul, The TED Testament and Forgiving Racists

1) “Purity” talk is not just for the Evangelicals, it would seem. Despite the characterization of purity rings and abstinence devotionals and root beer pong, Richard Beck at Experimental Theology points to the moral fixation implicit in progressive Christians like himself, too. It’s not a difference in value, it’s merely a difference in where the self-justifying finger is pointed. Referring to an article written by Aurora Dagny, Beck argues that the fixation itself is complicit in making “everything problematic.”

For progressive Christians moral purity will fixate on complicity in injustice. To be increasingly “pure” in progressive Christian circles is to become less and…

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Another Week Ends: Facelessness, Lent CEOs, Literacy Losers, Baseball Clocks, and North Korean Inspiration

Another Week Ends: Facelessness, Lent CEOs, Literacy Losers, Baseball Clocks, and North Korean Inspiration

1) Stephen Marche is certainly making a name for himself as the technological doomster, and in a supremely convincing way. He’s the one that wrote that piece we completely over-covered, called “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” and then there was that piece on our modern muse, Failure, and right in time for Ash Wednesday, we have “The Epidemic of Facelessness,” an op-ed piece which appeared in this Sunday’s Times. Marche talks in great detail about an age where, in most part, the majority of our social interaction takes place online and on screen. One of the consequences of this impersonal…

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To My Favourite Seventeen-Year-Old High-School Girl – Billy Collins

ht KW:

Losing Your Life To the Fullest

Losing Your Life To the Fullest

Apple recently put out an excellent advertisement—as always—for its iPad Air in which you hear Professor Keating (Robin Williams) from the 1989 film Dead Poets Society quote Walt Whitman’s “O Me! O Life!”:

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,…
What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Then Professor Keating asks, “What will your verse be?”

In other words, into this grand tapestry that is humanity, which thread will you…

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The Difference Between Your Business Card and Your Mother

When it comes to articulating religious insights in secular terms, no one does it better than philosopher Alain de Botton, AKA he of Religion for Atheists fame. We’ve written about his rather Bultmannian genius before, but none of that prepared me for the TED talk he gave in 2009 about notions of success (and failure). Whereas elsewhere he mines Christian wisdom more generally, here he goes straight for law and grace, albeit in their aggressively lower-cased forms. The conclusion may naturally be a little fuzzy/abrupt–be sure to listen to the Q&A–the diagnosis is absolutely stunning. If you’re at all like me, you’ll be hooked from the first sentence, ht JD:

Speaking of de Botton, much to his credit, when asked by The New Statesman to select his favorite book of 2012, he went with the following:

This year, I was touched by Francis Spufford’s Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense. As a non-Christian, indeed a committed atheist, I was worried about how I’d feel about this book but it pulled off a rare feat: making Christianity seem appealing to those who have no interest in ever being Christians. A number of Christian writers have over the past decade tried to write books defending their faith against the onslaughts of the new atheists – but they’ve generally failed. Spufford understands that the trick isn’t to try to convince the reader that Christianity is true but rather to show why it’s interesting, wise and sometimes consoling.

I can’t pass up the opportunity to link to Alan Jacobs’ rave review of the same liked-it-so-much-we-invited-the-author-to-speak-book, which just went live on the Books & Culture website.

Another Week Ends: Liturgical Boredom, Hikikomori, Paul Deen, Doubtful Faith, Upstream Color, and Big Star

Another Week Ends: Liturgical Boredom, Hikikomori, Paul Deen, Doubtful Faith, Upstream Color, and Big Star

1. A slightly truncated weekender for a slightly truncated week. First off, The Guardian’s newfound boldness paid off–in spades!–in the non-Snowden-related form of Giles Fraser’s “Our Fear of Boredom Is Simply a Fear of Coming Face to Face With Ourselves”. As the title indicates, it’s a terrifically wise take on what’s really going on in our culture of distraction, worth reprinting in full here if that were conscionable. Fraser takes “The Busy Trap” one unfashionable step further by hinting at the unique and hopeful role that liturgical churches might play, unwittingly or not, in both form and content, ht RW:

“We…

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The Tombstone of All Great Work: Achievement’s Cost and the Imagination of Misfits

This is–who knew?–Rodney Mullen’s TED talk at University of Southern California, on innovation and imagination, and its connection with belovedness and freedom. As you’ll remember, we recently covered Rodney’s ethereal wisdom in DZ’s Bones Brigade review–a Netflix streamer we couldn’t recommend more highly. Here Mullen talks, among other things, about the Nobel Prize as “the tombstone of all great work” and, conversely, about losing’s connection to creativity, and creativity’s inseparable tie to individuality and belonging (ht PB).

P.S. For more skateboarding-related wisdom, this time of a spiritual variety, Christian Hosoi is no poseur, either.