In April 2017, Pope Francis became the first individual in his position to give a TED Talk. Pope Francis’ TED Talk, “Why the only future worth building includes everyone” was shown at TED2017. His passionate delivery of a meaningful message resonated with listeners and viewers.
He addressed concerns that span gender, race, geography, political and religious perspective, and more. At the beginning of his speech, he provided a summary of what was to come by saying “life is about interactions.” Connection and empathy continued to serve as the central theme and narrative impetus.
I think the most effective aspect of the Pope’s TED Talk was the structure of his argument. His first main point focused on the “I” of his argument. In this section, he touches on the dangers of autonomy and independence in a wholly connected world.
“Even the harsh judgment I hold in my heart against my brother or my sister, the open wound that was never cured, the offense that was never forgiven, the rancor that is only going to hurt me, are all instances of a fight I carry within me, a flare deep in my heart that needs to be extinguished before it goes up in flames, leaving only ashes behind.”
Then, Pope Francis expands on his first point – bringing other people into the picture. The focus shifts from the individual to the group as he provides substance through story to his second point.
Drawing from the themes of compassion and true love in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the Pope paints a picture of the humanity of today. In the current social climate, those who are less fortunate or who look different in the eyes of the majority are turned away and forgotten like the battered and robbed man from the parable.
Finally, Pope Francis zooms out further on the situation and confronts connectedness at its very macro level – through the lens of a revolution. Calling for a “revolution of tenderness,” he encourages the audience to not only view themselves as part of a collective, but to advance a movement with whatever influence they may have.
“The future of humankind isn’t exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies. Yes, they do hold an enormous responsibility. But the future is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognize the other as a ‘you’ and themselves as part of an ‘us.’”
Throughout his speech, the Pope cultivated an inspirational tone, while conveying a sense of urgency and hope. What I find to be most admirable about his message was his fearlessness when making a few specific comments. From shedding light on his view of our techno-economic system which places products above people to warning against the outcome of power minus humility and tenderness, the Pope’s conviction was apparent. After watching his TED Talk, I began looking at how I’ve treated others recently and pondered ways that I could operate and react as an “us” versus and “I.”
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