Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.
This year’s Edge Annual Question is:
What Will Change Everything? What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?
As usual, there are a large number of excellent essay responses, over 150 in all. I’d strongly recommend you read all of them: at 109,000 words, reading them might seem a bit like reading a couple of small novels, but it’s worth it.
Let me try and entice you further by pointing you at a few of the essays. I’m going to pick six in particular:
I make no secret of my passion for education. Regular readers will be well aware of my intent to build a school as and when I “retire” from normal salaried work. My interest in School Of Everything stems from the same root. In fact, my interest in working for BT stemmed, at least in part, from my belief that ubiquitous, affordable connectivity will transform education, and through that transformation, affect health, welfare and society in general.
We stand at a crossroads today, and we don’t have the Yogi Berra option (when you see a fork in the road, take it). We have critical choices to make. What choices?
Are we prepared to change our worldview to one of good stewardship? Where we make ourselves accountable and responsible for the use and enrichment of the talents we are born with, the talents we are given, the talents we acquire? Are we prepared to encourage, develop and enrich the talents of our society, our peers, our children and the generations to come? Do we care about the legacies that each of us will leave?
As curator of TED, Chris Anderson has been instrumental in giving us the opportunity to listen to some wonderful lectures by many other people about many things. Right now, it’s time we listened to him. Read his essay. Then read it again.
We have to change the way we think about many things, stop looking at stuff in isolation: The Csikszentmihalyi essay is a good place to start. We have to approach this need to change with the openness and freshness that a child brings to learning: The Gopnik essay should help us do that. We have to appreciate the technological changes that are taking place, changes that will help us become better stewards of all that we are given to look after: the Brand, Devlin and Hearst essays provide a worthwhile context for that.
But what brings it all together is Chris’s essay about the need for us to “contribute more than we consume”, the importance of education in doing that, the role of technology (particularly the web) in supporting that.
So please read the essays. And then read them again.