TED Conversations

Linda Hesthag  Ellwein

Communications, Change, and Photography, Oikonomia, Inc.


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How attached are you to your deeply held beliefs? If solutions to global problems challenge your worldview, how do you react?

Allan Savory's recent TED Talk introduced an unlikely and politically incorrect solution to reversing global desertification and climate change with the use of livestock as a tool, and different decision making.

Well-meaning laws, bureaucracies, and activists at the mercy of public opinion have stifled this work from moving forward on a large scale in the US. Belief systems and the fear of being wrong often prohibits change.

How do you respond to ideas that challenge your belief system? How do we stop our paradigms and prejudices from unfairly shaping decision making, and allowing us to take real risks for lasting change? What's your reaction to cows helping save the world? What idea have you believed and been completely wrong?


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  • Mar 12 2013: -- continued from my previous comment on 'contrived epiphanies'.
    Cult recruitment practices work extremely well when they do work because the recruits are taken 'there' - they are invited/persuaded to enter into a world where they are (seemingly) 'loved' & taken care of some for the first time in their lives. Recruits are flooded with epiphanic-inducing circumstances & spoken messages. These two examples of 'arranged epiphanies' do not exhaust the list.
    My point being that epiphanies do happen, are possible, not only change the subject's mind but not infrequently his or her whole way of being, & also can be deliberately orchestrated & in the hands of ethical 'practitioners' operate to the good of everyone concerned.
    Imagine for effectively most people's minds could be changed by visiting a example of Allan's work.
    In the 'greening the planet & reversing climate change via the Allan Savory's method' 'ethical practitioners' could be no more than 'tour guides' showing willing visitors around examples of his work.
    Undoubtedly the Savory Institute is also an extremely powerful & highly ethical epiphany-inducing phenomenon in its own right - any one desiring to become involved in this work, attending the Institute & becoming a student of his ideas, would almost certainly be guaranteed non-stop epiphanies on a daily basis .. ... .. Sure wish I could - & take along a couple of nay-sayers too if I could persuade them . . . . . . Cheers from Down Under
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      Mar 13 2013: I love this post Margriet. You're so right about epiphanies and how people respond to them. I particularly appreciated your comment about the failure of an intervention when the subject's 'psychic garden soil' is not fertile. So true.

      I don't know if people experience the type of 'epiphany' you describe at Savory's Institute. I know I didn't. It was interesting, but not for the reason one might think. The realization solutions might look different than those within my neatly defined, urban, environmental worldview were most fascinating. I took the challenge and pursued the actual practice of it. My actions did lead to epiphanies but not the type we have at a personal growth seminar, or even a TED conference. Instead, the process opened me up to the idea of using more tools than I had imagined to achieve my goal. I accredit these experiences to a more open worldview in general towards humanity and a much deeper appreciation for the wonder of our natural world as a whole. I'm grateful for that.

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