I spent the better part of three hours this morning watching short (i.e., under 6 minute) TED Talk videos. The purpose of my viewing-spree was to find videos I can use to support facilitating a conversation about how seemingly mundane and unimportant aspects of our life experiences can sometimes be enormously impactful.

During my search, I found several videos that will serve the purpose; I selected two for the conversation, which will take place next Sunday. A number of videos I won’t use on Sunday were fascinating, as well. For example, I found one that explained why pasta comes in all shapes and sizes. And other one about a pacifist who became a spy for the Allied forces in World War II and who, ultimately, was captured and executed by her captors. Another one showed a Palestinian-born poet reciting some extremely moving poetry. In another video, an African American astronomer/classically trained actor discussed how we might find life on other planets. Frida Kahlo was the subject of another video.

I think I could spend most of my waking hours watching TED Talks. While some of them are disappointing, most have enough interesting content and/or are presented well enough that they merit watching at least once. When watching the short talks, it occurred to me that it might be fun to organize a viewing party. I would select a series of short videos, ten minutes or less that, collectively, would total no more than two hours in length. The party-goers would gather in a comfortable setting, complete with drinks and munchies, to watch them. Between each video, participants would be given five minutes to write their impressions, comments, questions, etc. After the last video has been shown and comments about it written, participants would be asked to share their comments (if they wish) and the group would discuss what they thought about the videos. I may be the only person who would find such an event interesting, but I suspect not. It would mimic certain aspects of a short-film festival; a little like the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, but with all very short videos. I may pursue the idea one day. Maybe. But probably not. Because I don’t know enough people who would have an interest. Oh, well.

For my own reference, links to the ones I mentioned above are shown below:

Why Pasta Comes in All Shapes and Sizes:

From Pacifist to Spy:

Poems of War, Peace, Women, Power: (5:46)

Contradictions (How We’ll Find Life on Other Planets): (5:26)

Frida Kahlo: The Woman Behind the Legend: (3:55)

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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