MWT – What If? Wisdom

John Green: is the author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars. In 2007, he and his brother Hank stopped texting and began to talk mainly through videoblogs posted to YouTube. The videos spawned a community of people called nerdfighters who fight for intellectualism and to decrease the overall ‘worldwide level of suck’. (Decreasing suck takes many forms: Nerdfighters have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight poverty in the developing world; they also planted thousands of trees around the world in May of 2010 to celebrate Hank’s 30th birthday.)

Although they have long since resumed texting, John and Hank continue to upload two videos a week to their YouTube channel, vlogbrothers. Their videos have been viewed over 500M times, and their channel is one of the most popular in the history of online video.

A few things to ask & consider…
• Why do you think John made a point to say “where old men fear to tread”?
• Is he wrong?
• Why does it seem like the good stuff is ‘in corners of the Internet’?
• How do we bring more good stuff out of the corners?
• What is wisdom and where does it come from?
• In ancient Greece you had to be over 65 to be qualified to rule
• Emotional regulation improves with age (the ability to create, maintain, and change emotions)
• Increased connections between the amygdala and frontal cortex with age
• Allows for greater ability for discerning, planning, weighing outcomes, anticipating
• Pew Research – Older Adults & Technology Use
• The internet is a baby, full of information, how can we bring it wisdom?
• Is the internet making us smarter or dumber? Clay Shirky – Wall Street Journal
• Don’t be spoon feed by programmed media
• Talk back!

Just a few good free places for learning & conversation:
Harvard Gazette
TED Ideas blog
Harvard Gazette – subscribe!
• You don’t need a twitter account to view twitter
Aeon Magazine
StoryCorpsTED Prize Winner
• Any other suggestions?

Advice for using the internet mindfully:
• Before you begin – ask – What subject do I want to learn about or engage in today?
• And then stick to it! (That’s the hard part.)
• If just browsing – browse reputable informational sites
• Be careful what you click on – every click counts, every click infuences.
• Beware the top right corner of a page! (Depending on the page.)
• Read, discover, explore – then make time for deep thinking.
• Then go back and respond if inclined.

The generations represented in our class, and in all the classes here at ILR, have lived through the greatest technological advancements and achievements in the human race, which also occurred at an unprecedented rate. No other generation before or after can say that. Whose ‘collective wisdom’ then, can give us the greatest advantages for the future?

The minds of our elders are our greatest wasted resource. -Tera

SPRING 2016!


Matt Bernota – Mornings with TED – American Crossroads
Karen Reilly – Mornings with TED – Rethinking Society


Tera Kijek – Conversations – Celebrating the 21st Century

4 Comments on “MWT – What If? Wisdom

  1. We didn’t have time to get to this in class, but sometimes twitter can be an excellent news source for institutions and companies you are interested in or trust. The twitter link on the page above takes you to the Harvard twitter page, which I like to check occasionally. (You don’t need an account to view a twitter page. Try googling anything or anyone you’re interested in, plus the word twitter.) Yesterday on their twitter, Harvard posted a link to a fascinating panel discussion: Is social media ruining politics? Jump to 6 minutes 30 seconds if you want to skip the introductions. You might find answers to the “Trump” question that was asked at the beginning of class today. Enjoy!

  2. One more thought on wisdom… A little while ago I pulled my favorite recipe book off the shelf in order to begin preparing for Thanksgiving. It was my grandmother’s book – a collection of recipes from her parish (in new Orleans we have a parish instead of a county). Many of the recipes were passed down from generation to generation before someone decided to go door to door and gather them and have them printed and bound. (Perhaps one the first examples of larger scale social sharing?) For me it is far more than just a book of information – it is the collective cooking wisdom of the place I think of as home. Wisdom it seems, can take may forms.

  3. Tera, it was perfect that you ended your stint with Mornings with TED on the topic of wisdom. The subjects you chose to explore, and the opinions, ideas and concerns raised by the group, made for a most enjoyable experience. But what really kept me coming back was your exceptional wisdom and skill as a facilitator, leader, and moderator of the discussion. You genuinely wanted to hear the thoughts of the group, and when we wandered from the subject at hand you gently, and respectfully, brought us back again. You challenged us to think in ways, and about subjects, that were important, and I grew from the experience. The fact that I could never really tell where you sat on the political spectrum was a pure joy. Meaning the focus was on the discussion of ideas as opposed to an exercise in convincing the group. I learned as much from watching you work your magic as I did from the discussion itself. Thank you for your wisdom in creating the Mornings with TED series, and the wise way in which you made it all happen.

  4. Pam,
    Thank you for such a beautiful compliment. I learned more in those 1.5 hour sessions listening to all of you than I ever have as a student in any classroom. I look forward to passing the TED torch to future Mornings with TED facilitators at ILR and fostering greater sharing of ideas and wisdom.

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