In the spirit of the age of Enlightenment, people all over the world are now examining dogmas and old convictions, due to the failing of our economic-, monetary-, political and social cultural system. The loss of faith in big corporations and the changing beliefs in how people are supposed to thrive together are present everywhere. So: are we on the verge of a ‘new Enlightenment’? And who are the new creative and critical minds that provide us with the tools to handle our challenges and offer us a direction for the future?
Relive some of TEDxHaarlems spellbinding speakers and performances in our visual highlights of the day.
*Alexander Rinnooy Kan
Robots will steal our jobs, but that is OK!
“We are observing some very worrying trends in our modern society – among which are an aging population with fewer people in the workforce able to sustain the social security system, increasing rates of inequality, and the prospect of structural technological unemployment due to automation, robotics, and AI. Without a serious public discussion, with experts, academics, social planners, policymakers, and entrepreneurs, we’re headed for disaster.
Some have suggested that an unconditional basic income could be a solution to these problems, but experiments with UBI, however promising, are still too small and don’t give us enough data to establish whether it’s a viable solution or not. I urge all in position of power and who are able to influence policy to start working towards more trials or truly unconditional basic income, with control groups and proper research studies to analyze the results and, if successful, make plans for an eventual nation-wide adoption.”
21st Century Enlightenment: unleashing our power to create
“The goal of realising the 21st century enlightenment principles through the process of helping people to turn ideas into action is powerful for me as a woman. I believe that a huge amount of creative capital is going untapped – failing to politically and economically empower women is a missed opportunity because the way that women think about change is different. Values that work for women tend to be about a shared purpose, having empathy, being inclusive and being resilient. Currently I feel we see more evidence of power and protectionism than trust and collaboration. When our values work towards the greater good, everyone benefits. When societal structures empower women, the benefits are shared widely across whole communities. Can we be brave to engage with the challenges of the least powerful? Can we be that bold, courageous, generous, empathetic and forward thinking?”
Herman van Bolhuis
Rage against the machine
“The digital world grows rapidly with the endless technological possibilities such as 3D printing, Quantified Self and Smart Systems. Instead of thriving, the majority is unable to deal with the many changes the digital life offers, like radical transparency and decentralization of either the society or economy. These healthy changes are held back by the paradigm of former generations. Instead we are left with a new era shaped and ruled by so called ‘nerds’ and global intellectuals. The new Enlightenment should be more, should offer more and should be shaped by all. Show your solidarity to the new generations. Don’t be behind the wheel, be the car.”
How Law can Save the Earth
“I have found my purpose in using my own freedom of speech and legal education to express my love for the Earth and for those who defend her. I took the inspiration I got from Higgin’s TED Talk on Ecocide which literally changed the course of my life. I discovered that when an idea calls to you so strongly, it’s probably because you are meant to become one of its spokespersons. For me this journey has been one of daring to take my space and speak up for something I believe in.
And you too can speak up for the health of our Mother Earth, by signing petitions to end Ecocide, by supporting Environmental Defenders and by becoming an Environmental Defender in your own sphere of influence.”
Educating the mind without the heart is no education at all
“I believe that our learning ability is socialy driven: Learning through empathy. Understanding and learning come when you investigate, when you enquire, when you reach out which requires a safe space, consideration, thought and affection.
That is why at Knowmads we teach students to ask questions, instead of pushing them through a fixed programme or ‘chicken factory assembly line’ designed programme. We look for answers to questions, like What is important to me? How do I create projects and businesses that matter to me? And How do I manifest that in the world? This is what we call self-direct learning and where the core of our Business School lies.
By working together with our students and companies we try to find out what is important for each individual student through knowledge (head), feeling (heart) and action (hands)”
Banks need serious heart surgery
“Since the 2008 crisis the financial sector has drunk away the hangover with even more booze. We are more debt laden than ever before, the stock markets are at dizzying heights. Banks need to start pumping more money into the real economy, where jobs are created.
So it is your turn to identify. Look into the banks that you’re putting your money and savings accounts into. Are they really pumping money into the real economy? Or are they just creating money for themselves or their shareholders? If you make the right decisions, the banks will think twice. If the don’t, they will need some heart surgery.”
Reconnecting with landscape in a globalized world
“Maps define who we are and how we see the world around us. Explorers and map makers of the early days left many blank spots on the map, and located fabulous lands and paradise in the unknown. Nowadays modern maps show the exact lay out of the land. Western names replaced exotic local names. Through Google (Earth) we even can intimately survey and get to know a desert range before we explore it real time. Google defines how we see the world, which is a world devoid of the miraculous.
Contemporary maps leave out the human connection, the sense of awe one feels standing face to face with the mountains, the taste of its water, the messages carried by the wind. To really know ourselves and establish a sense of place in a rapidly changing world we will need to revise our maps and add the human connection.”
Arnoud van Aalst
Process Is The New Result
“I am convinced that by allowing cultural organisations time for experiment and process, not necessarily focused on result, we could get re-enlightened. I am convinced that as soon as the cultural world for once and for all gets rid of theoretical terms like ‘experience’ and instead starts to really interact with its audience, this will lead to a successful cultural climate. I am convinced starting with building knowledge and creating innovation, followed by realising what your audience wants by truly involving them and letting them participate will almost automatically lead to a successful organisation and a justifiable financial picture.
Therefore, we should stimulate cultural organisations to look in the mirror and ask themselves the following questions: – What is my identity? What is my story? ”
Freek de Jonge
Is a revival of ethics on the way?
“Before the spiders go to sleep, father spider counts his children. And he asks ‘Where is Harry?’ The children tell about the weakness, the laughter and the fall. The father says: ‘Let it be a lesson to all of you. Don’t laugh, otherwise you will go to hell!’ Another night, father counts his children, and to his surprise he finds out that Harry is back. He asks: ‘What are you doing here?’ ‘I’m sucked up again’, Harry says. ‘But you’re supposed to be in hell!’ ‘There is no hell out there. The light of hell is the same light as the light at the end of the tunnel. We are living in a dust bag. All we can do is release and let it go. And than we float back into the light where we can spin webs and catch flies.’ ”
*Speakers TEDxHaarlem 2015
*Crew TEDxHaarlem 2015