Utilizing methods such as fMRI, it should become feasible to demonstrate that certain “memetic infections” can shut down the part of the brain where rational thinking takes place.
Extremism is more than a belief system; it is a dangerous cognitive disorder.
Let’s assume it could be proven that extremism is a memetic infection which causes dangerous cognitive damage to the brain (even if temporary) and that certain vulnerabilities to this type of memetic infection could be clearly defined. It would then be possible to create "memetic condoms," if you will, to immunize against such damage. After being carefully constructed, these preventative memes could be propagated in targeted areas to those most vulnerable, for example, those in war torn places.
If we can understand what happens inside the brain, making it possible for otherwise good people to be able to do unthinkable acts…we can begin the long road to prevention.
I discovered TED nearly 10 years ago while searching for signs of intelligent life in the universe, as Lili Tomlin would say. It immediately became a life goal to attend the conference.
I had the great honor of attending TED, and also presenting a short TED talk at TEDU in 2009. My talk was about about the 5 years I spent inside a religious cult in the early 70s and the subsequent 5 years spent as a deprogrammer. In the talk, I drew a parallel between what I had been through and extremists such as suicide bombers.
In 2010, I attended TED Active. It was WONDERFUL!! I will be back in Long Beach this year but highly recommend either.
Attending TED feeds me like nothing else could. It's not just the talks, but also the attendees that make the week so spectacular. I now know there is intelligent life - very intelligent life, and very inspiring life on this planet. Because of TED I am convinced we are evolving toward peace on this planet.
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