Monday, March 25, 2013

censoring the future

mind-futures | TED’s decision to remove public talks by Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock from YouTube and the main section of their web site has created quite a furore. To date there has been well over 1000 supportive comments posted on TED’s discussion pages. The latest page opened regarding the topic on the TED site  is here. TED initially made quite a mess of the entire process. The first announcement they released was incredibly sloppy, and almost all the statements they made about the content of the two videos was inaccurate. It looked like the writer had either not watched the videos, or merely skimmed them.
Sheldrake’s video was a philosophy of science talk, where he put forward ten questions about significant problem areas in science which he suggests require further investigation. These included whether telepathy exists, whether the laws of nature are fixed, and whether memories are really found in the substrate of brains.

Hancock’s talk was about his experience of using the drug ayahuasca to expand his understanding of consciousness.

To their credit, TED has allowed open discussion of the issue. The criticism has been intense, both on their site and across the blogosphere. This has  clearly spooked the organisation. If my understanding is correct, TED is going to restore the videos to the main section of the site. I am not sure whether they will restore them to YouTube. I have engaged in the discussions myself, and joked that my TEDx talk about consciousness and the future might be taken down from YouTube if I wasn’t careful. It hasn’t been.

Many fans of Hancock in particular have been very angry about what happened. This is perfectly understandable. However this is not my attitude to the problem. I foresee a time when we leave behind the crude process of creating confrontational binaries and attacking others who disagree with us. Shaming and cursing others rarely shifts perspectives. It just isn’t a smart way to initiate a discourse with another. I prefer to engage others, even when they hold a contrary position. This is one of the great advantages of having done a lot of inner work, and becoming more “mindful”. I find it difficult to take other people’s behaviour personally, including criticism and personal attacks.

I see this TED saga as a tremendous opportunity for progress in the understanding of consciousness.
The obvious reason is that it has generated a great deal of publicity for Sheldrake and Hancock. That is the obvious benefit. Fist tap Arnach.


Plane Ideas said...
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