Victoria Princewill

co- founder, TEDxOxford

About Victoria

Bio

Part aesthete, part dreamer -- if I could live long enough to understand all the academic and vocational disciplines of the world I would give everything to ensure it happened. Failing that give me Keats, Wilde, Plato and a glass of white wine in soft dewy grass. If I could this would be my every day my every minute and my eternity.

Languages

English

Areas of Expertise

English Literature and Language, Performance, Marketing + Branding + Innovation, Creativity, Entrepeneurship

An idea worth spreading

That everybody is capable of attaining their dreams - all they need is self belief and determination.

I'm passionate about

Ideas, literature, philosophy and creativity. Homer, Plato, Oscar Wilde, Albert Camus, Yukio Mishima and more.

Talk to me about

Anything. Everything. And whatever lies in between.

Comments & conversations

138325
Victoria Princewill
Posted almost 3 years ago
what is time?
Your last statement makes me think that you define time as 'man's comprehension of the passage of our perception of experience'. Time is a result of one trying to make the chaotic world around them into cogent data. However when you say other organisms do not run on 'time' it is not so much that as the fact that time is a term used to increase understanding and therefore time seeks to understand the organisms not the other way around. Therefore they are not at the mercy of time and thus do not 'run' on time. I find the conclusion that 'time' does not exist is a little blase though. To go back to your titular question time is not a substance, therefore it is not tangible and it is not something we can engage with (or travel through). At best we can travel through the experiences, as the experiences are the data through which the idea of time becomes logical. Time is simply a means of putting rationality into a near inexplicable concept. To claim that time does not truly exist, not only opens this discussion up to definitions of truth and proof but also to what determines existence. Given that we have separated the word 'time' from what it represents for humans when you say 'time' does not truly exist do you mean mankind's attempt to grasp it does not really exist or that the passage of existence is fallacy as well?
138325
Victoria Princewill
Posted almost 3 years ago
what is time?
'If the world didn't believe in using the hour, minute, and second it wouldnt exist anymore.' - what would not exist? time or the world? As with always words 'time' has no intrinsic meaning beyond what we choose to imbue it with. In our framework time constitutes the passage of experience, the gap between the sunrise and sunset etc, but time as a word is simply a means of describing it. If we did not use the word time and used 'potato' for example, the concept would still exist and the sunrise/sunset, earth's turn around the sun would all still take place, we just wouldn't call it time anymore, we'd call it something else. To a certain extent the nuances of time can be lost in people's individual perceptions -- but things like ageing are irrefutable as humanity itself is proof that ageing takes place. Ageing takes place over the passage of time and thus the passage of time is demonstrated by ageing and death.
138325
Victoria Princewill
Posted almost 3 years ago
Is OBESITY a disease?
Well -- I suppose when I use the word empathy, I mean it purely as a more respectful version of pity. It is so easy to be contemptuous of someone who is obese. If the research you referenced is correct (although I must ask you for a reference for that, as I've never heard it and optimistic though I am about it, I cannot help but be doubtful...) then there is an argument that they have little excuse for their state and thus contempt becomes disgust and we stop seeing them as human beings altogether. Ultimately I have to be empathetic otherwise I become the very things I mentioned, contemptuous and disgusted and it is too easy and inhumane to fall into that trap. Also -- I am convinced that there must be some sort of condition involved. I'm not sure how (I'm as far from a biology student as it is possible to get) but I think I find the alternative that they are just gluttons in the extreme too unsatisfying and simplistic. To clarify, I believe they are gluttons in the extreme but something must be causing them to have no sense of proportion or limit even as it infringes on their lifestyle. Your point that throat cancer cannot be reversed whereas obesity can is valid (and one I had overlooked but it does support your earlier statement that our inability to find the perfect synonym for obesity is why people are able to debate it: there are too many nuances involved. Nevertheless I still stand with my point in my original response that, as much as I am curious about the cause in an attempt to see the victims of obesity as victims as opposed to self-pitying gluttons, the origin holds less sway for me than the practicality of solving it. In terms of health care spend on it, I feel the same way as you do but about smoking victims and as little sympathy as I have for them, the fact that smoking is addictive alleviates some of the blame in a way that does not apply to obesity. What do you think is a more potent question: why it starts or how to solve? prevention vs cure?
138325
Victoria Princewill
Posted almost 3 years ago
What's your favorite word?
synecdoche, metonymy and melodious. The latter is so rarely used. Keats' Ode to a Nightingale has it in its first stanza and since then I have fallen in love with the sound...
138325
Victoria Princewill
Posted almost 3 years ago
Is OBESITY a disease?
Hmm. This is a subject I am sympathetic about and I feel that when dealing with obese people, empathy is required. However when dealing with the issue itself, part of me wonders whether the fact that obesity is or is not a disease is as relevant as whether its status as a disease renders it incurable, or its victims blameless. For example (and this is not as perfect as I would like but): throat cancer is a disease. Whilst it is not always caused by smoking, this is the most common cause. The fact that throat cancer is a disease does not make it unavoidable nor does it the victims of it (who smoke) blameless. With obesity it is the same -- even if it is a genetic issue and even though we have fast paced lives could we not fit in an hour to go to the gym every other day, scrutinise the food we feed our children more carefully and take them swimming or cycling on the weekends? Wouldn't this have an affect? It is not difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle; if anything the irony of our 'fast-paced lives' is that they have made us more indulgent and less active.
138325
Victoria Princewill
Posted almost 3 years ago
What is it which keeps the heart beating? Is it soul? What does soul mean to you?
I think your first question is a purely biological one that could be answered by a surgeon. The leap between the first question and the second is rather large, to the extent that I wonder what made you think they were connected at all. The heart is a very real tangible organ in our bodies whereas the soul is a debatable concept, relating to nuances and ideas of the self that religions and philosophies for centuries have sought to understand. Now they can be reconciled but when you ask a very practical question about the heart and follow it by a very abstract and unrelated rhetorical answer and a theoretical question I cannot help but become more interested in why YOU happen to think that that this is the best way to relate them to each other. In response to the last question I will add that to me, the soul represents my very human desire to be individual, to be unique and to have an essence as opposed to being like a car; the sum of its parts.
138325
Victoria Princewill
Posted almost 3 years ago
If you could trade lives for 24 hours; who would you trade with? Why?
I agree with Tibor, this is an amazing question! When you include mythical people the options are limitless. I would definitely pick a Greek God and I would pick Zeus. His life appeals for the obvious reasons: opposite sex to myself, a God with extraordinary power and the ultimate leader, King of the Olympians. However what interests me the most is the interplay between the lives of the Gods and the mortals on Earth. I think being able to see humanity from an objective perspective would be riveting, looking at us with all our weaknesses and temptations and the consequences. Zeus was very anthropomorphic but he never really had to face consequences for his selfish decisions. I would be curious as to whether death would suddenly become an appealing concept when one is going to live forever/ whether love is as eternal as people tend to believe when the idea of eternity is very real and tangible. I also wonder what the relationship between Gods and humans would be like: is it equivalent to ours with ants, or dogs perhaps, creatures with smaller minds, limited perception and whose sensory functions are vastly inferior to our own? William Blake once wrote: 'how do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way is an Immense world of Delight, clos'd by our senses five?' and this question makes me think of all that. The possibilities for knowledge beyond a priori and a posteriori are again limitless. This is why I would be a God.
138325
Victoria Princewill
Posted almost 3 years ago
If/when same-sex marriage is legalised, should ALL religious bodies be required by law to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies?
Religious institutions do and should have their own autonomy different from the state. Religiously-sanctioned marriages are not like vaccines; same-sex marriages are not contingent on their approval the way health can be contingent on getting vaccinated. As a slightly separate point I wonder how many people would want their marriage blessed by a vicar who believed it was intrinsically wrong, or by one who was grudgingly doing so. Given that there are religious institutions/leaders that will and do support gay marriage, (I'm talking rather specifically of Christianity, so forgive the unfortunate narrowness of this point) would it not make more sense to find a church that was willing and open to conduct a gay marriage rather than ruin the most pivotal day of a one's life by forcing someone else's hand and extracting an unwilling blessing? Whilst I fundamentally disagree with the idea of making religious bodies conduct same-sex marriages against their will I can understand the argument for a blanket rule that makes it technically compulsory but with the option for churches to 'opt-out' if they so desire. This changes the relationship between marriage and religion. Talking abstractly, given the major universal changes required, I can see the benefits of making the definition of marriage by law into 'an (eternal) union between two consenting adults' thus making every religious institution that wants to conduct marriages do so according to the law (but w the choice to opt out). As though opting out is discriminatory the fact that the universal perception of marriage is inclusive makes the entire framework less hostile to gay people who want to marry. Currently it looks more like a framework for heterosexuals that gay people are gradually being allowed into, I think that perception of marriage is what needs to change and that is a bigger problem than the one this question asks, although it is itself intriguing.
138325
Victoria Princewill
Posted almost 3 years ago
What is in a label? Should we change the way we use them?
A label is a name for a definition that already exists. It is the reverse of words that exist and need to be defined in a context. When people use labels they tend to believe they already have the context and now they are giving it a title or a headline. The problem is that quite often the people we label are actually more complex than the context itself. I like to naively assume that people label for simplicity and speed not because they think the sum total of a human being rests in one or two very limited descriptions of them. However I have often encountered people who seem to think it actually feasible for people to be the sum total of the label we place upon them. Part of me thinks that the problem with labels lies with the priority of simplicity and speed over truly understanding someone. However this would overlook the perception question. Ultimately everyone is blinkered by their own subjectivity. To argue that there is an objective version of ourselves that others could see if they really tried is erroneous. Thus even if labels did not exist, misrepresentations always would. Perhaps they would be more nuanced or more varied but they would still be in existence. As a black female who has been a victim of many a misplaced label I am tempted to hate labels on principle. Some earlier has actually used the phrase 'i hate labels.' But by hating labels as a whole are we not 'labelling' labels as intrinsically bad? Generalising, stereotyping and sweeping statements are why we find ourselves uncomfortable with labels but not all of them do this. Sometimes certain scenarios, especially research-based ones, deem labels relevant. If we refuse them all and claim humans are individual in every single sense that will certainly soothe our egos but what else will it attain in terms of greater human understanding? We must have some sense of commonality between us, surely. Discrimination is overcome by realisation of this -- labels can reconcile as much as they can divide.