TEDx Talk – Mesmerizing Commute

Because I’m all about self-promotion and glory. Here’s the video of my TEDx talk at McGill University.

McGill Daily columnist, Sana Saeed, transports us with her powerful writing, proving that the more avenues we create to be public as a society, the more private we become as individuals.

It’s based on a piece of mine which was published over a year ago. The major point that I am making is that the more we create ways to interact with the public – social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, blogs or to enhance it such as with cellphones, iPods, and so forth, the more we actually are becoming private. The Public has been an essential part of Western social and political thought for thousands of years, going back to the Ancient Greeks. There was an importance that was ascribed to the Public, it had something that one could never find in the private. And this “something” was related to interaction which led to the exchange of ideas – be they good or bad. It was in the public sphere that we would learn about ways to better govern ourselves, to better our society, and our individual selves. We’d clash over ideas and we’d reunite over ideas. This, we are beginning to lose. This was the beauty of the public, the face to face confrontation of words and ideas that is becoming more and more obsolete. There is nothing wrong with these new avenues we’ve created to engage with and expand the public, but it has taken away our appreciation of the beauty of the public sphere. We must break our private havens. We must not be afraid to confront the ideas and words of others. We must not be afraid to initiate. If we lose this, if we lose our public – we lose far more than just a physical presence. We lose, in a sense, our humanity. We become desensitized to the thriving life around us. We voluntarily alienate ourselves from each other, albeit unconsciously.

So, go ahead and look around. Observe. Breathe. You might see something beautiful.