TEDxMcGill Proves That Curiosity Breeds Change.
Let me paint a simple picture: All of the world’s problems sit in a single car. The engine that gets the car moving is made of all of us and the communities we belong to. The fuel that goes into the car is curiosity. If there is fuel in the tank, the engine is working. As long as the engine is going, and keeps going, the car will keep moving in the direction it needs to go. So, if we want it to head towards change, we need to fuel our communities with curiosity and lead the problems to a land of change.
Too simplified? Maybe. But yesterday, just about 600 people hurdled in from the cold and gathered in one large room at Marché Bonsecours to listen to twenty people talk about this sort of model of change. The TEDxMcGill event was a much anticipated one, independently organized and produced by McGill students and community volunteers. The stage was taken up by a montage of students, professors, industry professionals, and everyday life-livers, all of whom presented talks on a range of topics relating to worldly issues.
Frankly, the issues that were brought to the forefront are not new ones. There was talk of climate change, sustainability, over-population, physical and mental illnesses, the oil-crisis, and other such pressing issues that we all continue, whether directly or remotely, to face. The great thing about the TEDxMcGill event, and TEDTalks in general, is that each speaker presents issues we constantly hear about in a way we’ve never heard before.
The theme of the event was ‘Relentless Curiosity’. By being there, both physically and virtually, each audience member claimed to own such a quality. By participating, we agreed that yes, we’re here and we’re curious. And we’re not only curious about one thing, but plenty of things. Together, we’re gripping onto the strong expectation that our curiosity will lead us to a series of exploits through realms of information that will, ideally, lead our initial sense of curiosity to a new level of understanding.
So, yes, the theme was ‘Relentless Curiosity’, but as each speaker walked up on stage and engaged the crowd with their ideas, it quickly became clear that the real theme, the real message, was ‘Change’. Regardless of the topic or the speaker, they all followed a very simple and very engaging speaking model: ‘Hi, this is something we think about. This is how we think about it. This is how we could think about it. This is how I think about it. What do you think?’ Most speakers, despite the laws of logic, gave us a premise, added a bunch of hypotheticals and conditionals, but left out the conclusion, leaving it up to us to complete the equation.
Curiosity isn’t about answers or concrete conclusions. It’s about understanding through the re-exploration and reinterpretation of ideas for the sake of better results. Yes, results. It all comes down to results. If a system that is in place isn’t working, it needs to be changed, and to change it, it needs to be understood and then re-understood. More importantly, it needs to be understood by an entire community, one curious enough to keep the car rolling until it reaches change.
To see a list of the TedxMcGill speakers and the topics of their talks visit tedxmcgill.com
By Rima Hammoudi