ted talk

Body Language

I've always believed many of our answers are in our bodies. Our bodies often know what we think and feel before we do. So it's not a leap for me to see how our body language communicates our thoughts and feelings to others and even more importantly, to ourselves.

See also the work of Deborah Gruenfeld from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Data and Language

A Ted talk by Deb Roy on the birth of a word:

What I'd like to see is the link between media consumption and thoughts, which I suspect affect beliefs. How to get at thoughts? A user's online journal, blog or social media posts.

Like a baby learns to talk, I can imagine a person's belief formations or reinforcement can be tracked. What do you think?

A Measure of Your Own Belief

Recently I was trying to hang a silky blouse and it kept falling off the hanger and floating to the floor. My first thought: "Poor Blouse, she can't take it anymore." I have this urge to anthropomorphize objects in my life. There's something compelling about believing everything has a spirit.

I think that's why I'm drawn to Bent Objects by Terry Border.

And another take on this type of art by Vik Muniz:


Jane Hirshfield, poet: "Buddha meets someone who doesn’t see anything special about him because the awakened Buddha doesn’t look any different from anybody else. He is ordinary. Buddhism is not about being special. Buddhism is about being ordinary. And it is not about the continual exudation of bliss. It is about walking a normal human life with normal human beings, doing normal human things. And this reminds you that you yourself might be a Buddha. At this moment, the person you’re looking at might be one. It’s an interesting practice. Just each person you see as you walk down the street; 'Buddha? Buddha? Buddha? Buddha? Buddha?'"

Are You Happy?

Daniel Kahneman, the inventor of behavioral economics, says it's all about who you are talking to - your experiencing self or your remembering self. The experiencing self is all about the present moment while the remembering self is the story teller. The trick is we don't actually choose between experiences but we do choose between memories. Which has me thinking more about my recent memoir writing class.

Check out his TED talk here:


A Stroke of Insight

On Day Four of my recent drawing class, the teacher started the day by playing a video of Jill Bolte Taylor's Ted talk about her stroke and the miraculous, peaceful effect of having full access to her Right brain. I had read her book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, but was very touched by her talk. In it she delineates the powers of our Left and Right brains. The Right side of our brain she states is about the present moment, thinking in pictures and it learns kinesthetically. She describes it as, “I’m an energy being connected to the energies around me via my right brain.”

The Left side of our brain is linear and methodical. It’s all about the past and the future. “It takes an enormous collage of the present and picks out details and then more details about those details,” Ms. Taylor says. It thinks in language. It is the annoying inner chatter. “It’s the voice that says ‘I am.”

If you’re wondering, “What voice?” Then you’ve just identified your voice.

Taylor adds that as soon as that voice says “I am” you become separated from the energies around you. Which reminded me of an old myth on the birth of Self described by Joseph Campbell to Bill Moyers in The Power of Myth:

"There is a wonderful story of the deity (Hindu), of the Self that said, 'I am.' As soon as it said “I am,” it was afraid. Then it thought, 'What should I be afraid of, I’m the only thing that is.' And as soon as it said that, it felt lonesome, and wished that there were another, and so it felt desire. It swelled, split in two, became male and female, and begot the world."

Ms. Taylor's Ted Talk: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyyjU8fzEYU[/youtube]