Whitney Njiru

Student, Maseno University


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Which three people given the chance would you bring from the past to impact our earth?

Which THREE people from the past do you think had significant contributions or futuristic ideologies to mankind and society, irrespective of field of practice, culture, creed, appreciated or not, understood or not; that you think will motivate us to greater heights.
Be it the cave-man who discovered fire or Einstein and his theories or Plato and his philosophies or Michael Jackson and his music or... or... or...
Give a brief explanation please.

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    Feb 28 2011: Even though he never made such a direct impact on the way we live like for example Nicola Tesla, who has been mentioned a couple of times, I would also like to bring back Carl Sagan in the hope that will continue to impact the way we think.

    I don't see it as that crucial to bring back great minds to do the work for us, of course it would be a lot easier having da Vinci and Einstein around, but I feel that what is truly often lacking is not the capability of solving complex problems, but the motivation to do so.

    Someone like Sagan, if given the proper platform, could bring upon an educational revolution which would in turn create modern-day Einsteins and da Vincis and von Brauns.
  • Feb 26 2011: Buckminster Fuller, Leonardo da Vinci, & Mahatma Gandhi

    Buckminster Fuller and Leonardo da Vinci for their comprehensive perspectives, synergistic design approaches to complex problems, and balance between art & science before reductionism and the over-partitioning of life into extreme specialties reduced our collective ability to understand and communicate with each other about life and our world.

    Mahatma Gandhi, especially during the current exciting but dangerous transformation taking place in the middle east and elsewhere. His combination of perspective, compassion, strategic vision, leadership, and wisdom would be invaluable in helping us to navigate these treacherous waters.
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    Feb 24 2011: My best three would be : Descartes, Nikola Tesla and Leonardo da Vinci.
    Descartes for going against the norm of blindly following Aristotle and coming out a victor and giving us Discourse of Method. To us he would lead the "rebellion" against the norm and refuse to accept any thing without much consideration or thought. He would be the inspiration and drive of this vehicle of change.
    Nikola Tesla- after reviewing 'The Missing Secrets of Nikola Tesla' plus he was not only minded about the science but about social effects of his science. I believe that his motives were good as seen on the wireless electricity: energy companies nkt : and his distribution of "Death Ray" blueprints so that no one country can claim to own it or even attempt to build it without the consent of the other country(s). That was a good thing to do Mr Tesla. And again he truly envisioned the future, wireless electricity now possible as seen on TED, paved way for teleportation, soon to come with emergence of 3D printing and many more. He would be the moral bar and set us in course for more than commercial gain but for the better of the society. Plus assist in creation of the tech by Leornado.
    Leonardo da Vinci: one for being all rounded. I think he is the personification of TED: Technology, Entertainment and Design. he did it all. http://www.leonardoda-vinci.org/the-complete-works.html. If you want to know more.
    He would come up with eccentric designs (gazed for hours on the scythes) and assist in creation.
    I like the idea of someone from the future but the question parameter restricts to the past.
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    Feb 22 2011: I know one person for sure - Nikola Tesla.
    Wikipedia article about Nikola Tesla: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla
    Documentary video called "The Missing Secrets Of Nikola Tesla":
  • Feb 28 2011: Jesus, Darwin and Rasputin. Finally, we'd get some answers.
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    Feb 27 2011: 1. Werner Von Braun, to give us a renewed vision on space exploration. Perhaps the man was an "opportunist" willing to sell his science to anyone, but he did so because he had a vision that was far ahead of its time. The man should set us a challenge, we'd put up the money, and he'd build the monster or the nano-thingie to get us there.

    2. A good old 19th century scientist ("naturalist") who came to his discoveries by painstakingly collecting thousands of specimens of some sort, or by conducting thousands of tiny experiments - genre: Lamarck, Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace... To show us that science or indeed any breakthrough is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.

    3. The contrary of the above: a (non-scientific) thinker who brings it all together in an amazingly creative, at-times fantastic, over-the-top way. Philosopher Gilles Deleuze, for example. He influenced virtually all aspects of non-scientific endeavors, from architecture and literature, to psychiatry and sociology. We need this kind of man, to show us that the mind alone can come up with beautifully bizarre ideas and concepts that have no immediate use.
  • Feb 27 2011: John Lennon, JFK and my grandfather, whom I never had the chance to meet.

    Lives cut short before their brilliance was fully realized.
  • Feb 27 2011: None. The awareness we have now of heroes in our midst is unprecedented. Celebrate them and not the nostalgia of heroes from prior generations.
    • Feb 27 2011: Your right. Which is almost the total opposite of what I said. My three are all dead and from the past. I guess that is what TED is all about. Two minds, create a third mind and ideas that are just now being born. Thank You Gary
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      Feb 27 2011: I find this to be a false dichotomy. Why is it an "either-or" situation? How does contemplating the wonder and accomplishment of people past diminish those who are now?

      I cannot abide this concept of praise-worthiness or admiration as a finite resource. This arbitrary and small-minded competition for artificially-finite resources is the reason we have the society we do today.
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      Mar 16 2011: Gary, that's true but as always we cannot know where we are going unless we know where we are coming from. Hence the need to appreciate the past and embrace the current as we prepare for the future. What I aimed by this is for us to realize that those who did not conform to current trends and pushed to the limits the technologies and mindsets of their times are now deemed as heroes. e.g. Copernicus hence the need for us to embrace the current persons who ideas that seem out of this world and prepare an environment in the future that would hail such persons.
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    Feb 26 2011: I am going to read the other posts after I post mine because I don't want to be unduly influenced, even though I suspect it will lead to my wanting to kick myself.

    Einstein, Jesus, and - eh, I reserve the right to pick a third after I have more time to consider.

    Einstein because he balanced intellect with a deep concern for humanity, something which I think is lacking at the moment. I suspect (extrapolate, really) that he would balance whatever improvements/suggestions for improvement he would make about whatever technology he set his mind toward, with advice on how to truly advance the cause of humanity.

    And why would an agnostic pick Jesus other than because I think he would like to correct some of the crap that is currently being carried out in his name. No guarantee that those who are carrying out said crap would listen.

    And now to read the rest and ponder a third.
  • Feb 26 2011: Number one I would want to bring back Albert Einstein. It has been said that he was probably one of the smartest humans who ever lived. I think he would still be regarded as intelligent in even this day and age. An age I consider for the most part to be an age of stupidity especially in America. And, besides where are the Alber Einsteins of today.
    The second person I would want to bring back is the father of this country George Washington. I would want to know his reaction to the monster our government has become. Especially because it has also been said that he recomended highly against a two party system.
    Thirdly I would want to bring back John F. Kennedy as I feel he never had a chance really to finish what he was put here on earth to do, and besides it was such an emense tragedy for our country.
  • Feb 22 2011: There are more than three I would choose but to make a choice, I would choose Archimedes one of the first genius and inventors of history, Thomas Alva Edison( I could also choose Tesla instead of him) and Leonardo Da Vinci..These three are inventors and problem solvers and also people who had a lot of curiosity. I think they could make great things with todays resources and equipments.
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    Feb 22 2011: Given all the conversation about the IBM Watson, I would bring back Alan Turing, one of the fathers of modern computing science, to follow up on his (then) provocative line of questioning regarding "Can machines think?"

    For number 2, I would bring back Benjamin Franklin. A broad range inventor and problem solver, he seemed to refuse boundaries and exhibit an enormous curiosity. He also appeared to have a great sense of humor and insight. "A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle."

    Finally, I would bring back Alexander Hamilton. According to 23andme, we are related. Besides the natural familial curiosity, I would like his take as a founding father, first US Secretary of the Treasury, economist and political philosopher on the stalemate that has evolved into the US political system. It would be interesting to see his reaction to the enormity of the national debt created and the return to high taxes and government control as the way out.
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    Feb 22 2011: Jesus - I wonder what he would say if he were given the guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica? Oh right... and that long 2,000 year period where a whole laundry list of things were done in his name.

    Aristotle and Francis Bacon - imagine the sparks that would fly from that debate!
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    Feb 22 2011: Hmmmm. I can't come up with 3 names, but I can give you one. The reason is, that most great people from the past were great for their time, but probably would be irrelevant today.
    The only person I can think of, who could be great even in our time is Leonardo da Vinci. He was so incredible versatile with a brain as curious as that of a child and a visionary, being able to look far ahead of his time.