Making the Best of Technology

This weekend I went on a TED Talks spree. I must’ve seen about 50 videos on everything from James Cameron and his love for the deep sea diving to The Child President. I know TED is sometimes viewed as making scientists and philosophers appear as performing monkeys for the masses, but I beg to differ. Take a tour through TED Talks and I guarantee that even after a 5 or 10 minute talk you’ll feel a little happier, a little more optimistic and perhaps a little more inspired.

The Digital Upside

In a time where I can go onto the internet and view all the horrors of humanity, I can also view the other side of humanity. If the internet has made voyeurs out of us then why not see both sides of the story? I like watching the creative collages of image videos on youtube, instead of the ‘Charley bit me’ video. I take a university course on COURSERA instead of losing myself in a game of ‘candy crush’. I even answer questions on yahoo in a particular area of expertise instead of trolling as ‘anonymous’ on media websites.

I don’t mean to say that the things I don’t do are wrong or shouldn’t be done, what I mean is to take it all with a grain of salt. Go watch the money dancing, then go watch something that will make you think.

Optimism = Creativity

It’s easy to despair. I think of corporations that are taking over the world and the ever increasing managerial culture’s restructuring; which can boil down to, for example, firing 10 doctors in favor of a new head manager who then charges just as much as those 10 doctors combined, while the patients are the ones left holding the short stick. I like to check out how society is trying to change this incredibly bleak prospect into something completely and totally new, I’d even say revolutionary. Like the culture of online learning for free. Why not contribute to this and be an active participant instead of a victim of society?

At the end of the day, I think negativity is inversely proportional to creative output. Being negative leads to thinking – what’s the point – why write / paint / direct / photograph / cook, when it’s all going down the drain anyways?

Whereas, and of course it’s implied, creativity thrives in the wake of optimism. Leading us to think that if it’s not good, I can make it better. It leads us to be participants instead of only voyeurs. It leads us in the steps to greatness.

So even in the sight of despair, go and be inspired. Even when you know you might never be great, or famous, or intelligent, or beautiful, or thinner, etc, know that perhaps you might learn to be happy. Which, in the end, is what we’re all looking for.

Sofia

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9 Comments to “Making the Best of Technology”

  1. Hi there,
    Yep, I’m one of those who really love TED. It’s a great site I visit rather often. Plus, I also use those videos in my classes – TEDed – wonderful tool, easy. :-)
    And I would love to endorse your optimism = creativity. Probably it goes with my personality, I’m an impossible optimist. However, I heard great art is born oftentimes in pain. I still need to figure that one out… Then the “light a the end of the tunnel” helps, doesn’t it?

    • Hi, thanks for the comment :-) I suppose that I’m just one of those people who are more creative with optimism. Some people are creative when the world really doesn’t seem to have anything to offer. But perhaps, people who create from pain, suffering and depression are at heart optimists to, writing might be the only thing that is keeping them together. At least, that’s my theory.

      • You have just reminded me of a comment made about a story I wrote awhile ago. In the story, a woman kills three of her five children. I wrote it after my son was born (and I was suffering from a wee bit of postpartum depression without knowing it) and in the aftermath of a young woman who killed all five of her children by putting them into a car and pushing the car into a lake. As a new mother, I was driven to “make sense” of the tragedy. My husband was worried about my mental state, but a writer friend reminded me of the “transformative nature of art.” And so I was transformed.

        Perhaps this helps describe the “hopefulness” you’re looking for in literature?

        • That is spot on! it is making sense of tragedy, and the transformation, be it a writer’s or a reader’s change in perspective :D A way coping with life and to be able to deal with emotional of physical distress in a creative way!

      • Absolutely! And too much pain forces those optimistic creatives to actually make something, to let it off their chests as the pain is just to much to bear on your own.
        Hm, that is, too, my theory… :-)

  2. Yes, I love TED. The bookstore I used to work at sold the books for the original TED conference in Los Angeles every year. It was an electric place.

    However, I’m not sure that I agree with optimism=creativity, although it may be what drives your work. Many poets/authors are actually inspired to write great works that focus on society’s ills. They didn’t take the attitude of “what’s the point?” Instead, they “pointed their pens” at the wrongs to illuminate and educate. I wrote a post awhile ago about Russian writers that illustrates just how powerful the pen can be in oppressed societies: http://jilannehoffmann.com/2012/05/14/the-power-of-the-pen/

    Maybe you mean that it’s pointless to rail about the ills of society and then do nothing except rail? I would definitely agree with that. But I do think that creativity often finds its roots in response to some negative human condition.

    • Hi Jilanne Hoffmann,
      Thanks for the comment, you are right, the pen is inspired in times of oppression and depression What I meant to say is that in order to write, at least for me, there has to be some light at the end of the tunnel. It’s like Viktor E. Frankl’s book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. The only way to get through the hard stuff is to find something good about it, even if it means that you created something that made people aware of the situation.

      • Thanks for clarifying your viewpoint. I understand your intention better, now. It is important for you to find the kernel of hope (I was going to write “goodness,” but that’s not right, I don’t think) in whatever situation is presented, and then you can write. And I definitely agree with filling your world with things that will make you think instead of just entertain or horrify–”mind junk food.” :o) Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

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