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Jordan Reeves

TED-Ed Community Manager, TED Conferences

TEDCRED 500+

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What's one lesson you find super compelling?

If you could put a megaphone to the ears of the world for just 5 mintues, what's the one lesson you would teach. It doesn't have to be serious, but it can be. It doesn't have to be about math, science, literature, or history, but it can be. It just needs to capture the minds of your audience.

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  • Apr 20 2012: Carl Sagan's lesson regarding the Pale Blue Dot (Earth). In my opinion it is the most profound lesson in perspective that you will ever hear.

    "From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us.

    On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was - lived out their lives.

    The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization. Every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

    The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings. How eager they are to kill one another. How fervent their hatreds.

    Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.

    ...

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