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← "Stumbling towards intimacy": An improvised TED Talk

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Showing Revision 8 created 09/04/2019 by Oliver Friedman.

  1. [This is an improvised talk (and intro)
  2. based on a suggested topic
    from the audience.
  3. The speaker doesn't know
    the content of the slides.]
  4. Moderator: Our next speaker --

  5. (Laughter)

  6. is an --

  7. incredibly --
  8. (Laughter)

  9. Is an incredibly experienced linguist

  10. working at a lab at MIT
    with a small group of researchers,
  11. and through studying our language
  12. and the way that we communicate
    with other people,
  13. he has stumbled upon
    the secret of human intimacy.
  14. Here to give us his perspective,
    please welcome to the stage,
  15. Anthony Veneziale.
  16. (Applause)

  17. (Laughter)

  18. Anthony Veneziale: You might think
    I know what you're going through.

  19. You might be looking at me
    here on the red dot,
  20. or you might be looking
    at me on the screen.
  21. There's a one sixth of a second delay.
  22. Did I catch myself? I did.
  23. I could see myself before I turned,
  24. and that small delay
    creates a little bit of a divide.
  25. (Laughter)

  26. And a divide is exactly what happens
    with human language,

  27. and the processing of that language.
  28. I of course am working
    out of a small lab at MIT.

  29. (Laughter)

  30. And we are scraping
    for every insight that we can get.

  31. (Laughter)

  32. This is not often associated
    with a computational challenge,

  33. but in this case,
    we found that persistence of vision
  34. and auditory intake
  35. actually have more in common
    than we ever realized,
  36. and we can see it in this first slide.
  37. (Laughter)

  38. (Applause)

  39. Immediately your processing goes to,
    "Is that a hard-boiled egg?"

  40. (Laughter)

  41. "Is that perhaps the structural
    integrity of the egg

  42. being able to sustain
    the weight of what seems to be a rock?
  43. Aha, is it in fact a real rock?"
  44. We go to questions
    when we see visual information.
  45. But when we hear information,
    this is what happens.
  46. (Laughter)

  47. The floodgates in our mind
    open much like the streets of Shanghai.

  48. (Applause)

  49. So many pieces of information to process,

  50. so many ideas, concepts, feelings
    and, of course, vulnerabilities
  51. that we don't often wish to share.
  52. And so we hide,
  53. and we hide behind what we like to call
    the floodgate of intimacy.
  54. (Laughter)

  55. And what might that floodgate be holding?

  56. What is the dike upon which it is built?
  57. Well, first off --
  58. (Laughter)

  59. we found that it's different
    for six different genotypes.

  60. (Applause)

  61. And, of course, we can start
    categorizing these genotypes

  62. into a neuronormative experience
    and a neurodiverse experience.
  63. (Laughter)

  64. On the right-hand side of the screen,

  65. you're seeing spikes
    for the neurodiverse thinking.
  66. Now, there are generally
    only two emotional states
  67. that a neurodiverse brain can tabulate
    and keep count of at any given time,
  68. thereby eliminating the possibility
    for them to be emotionally, sometimes,
  69. attuned to the present situation.
  70. But on the left-hand side,
    you can see the neuronormative brain,
  71. which can often handle
    about five different pieces
  72. of emotional cognitive information
    at any given time.
  73. These are the slight variances
    that you are seeing
  74. in the 75, 90 and 60 percentile,
  75. and then of course
    that dramatic difference
  76. of the 25, 40 and 35 percentile.
  77. (Laughter)

  78. But of course, what is the neural network

  79. that is helping to bridge and build
    these different discrepancies?
  80. (Laughter)

  81. Fear.

  82. (Laughter)

  83. (Applause)

  84. And as we all know,
    fear resides in the amygdala,

  85. and it is a very natural response,
  86. and it is very closely linked
    with visual perception.
  87. It is not as closely linked
    with verbal perception,
  88. so our fear receptors
    often will be going off
  89. in advance of any of our cognitive usage
    around verbal and words
  90. and cues of language.
  91. So as we see these fear moments,
  92. we of course are taken aback.
  93. We stumble in a certain direction,
  94. generally away from the intimacy.
  95. (Laughter)

  96. Now of course, there's a difference
    between the male perception

  97. and the female perception
  98. and of trans and those who are in between,
    all of those as well,
  99. and outside of the gender spectrum.
  100. (Laughter)

  101. But fear is the central
    underlying underpinning

  102. of all of our response systems.
  103. Fight-or-flight is one of the earliest,
  104. some say reptilian,
    response to our environment.
  105. How can we disengage or unhook ourselves
    from the horns of the amygdala?

  106. (Laughter)

  107. Well, I'd like to tell you
    the secret right now.

  108. (Applause)

  109. This is all making
    much, much too much sense.

  110. (Laughter)

  111. The secret lies

  112. in turning our backs to one another,
  113. and I know that that sounds
    absolutely like the opposite
  114. of what you were expecting,
  115. but when in a relationship
    you turn your back to your partner
  116. and place your back upon their back --
  117. (Laughter)

  118. you eliminate visual cues.

  119. (Laughter)

  120. (Applause)

  121. You are more readily available

  122. to failing first,
  123. and failing first --
  124. (Laughter)

  125. far outweighs the lengths we go to

  126. to appeal to others,
  127. to our partners and to ourselves.
  128. We spend billions and billions of dollars
  129. on clothing, on makeup,
  130. on the latest trend of glasses,
  131. but what we don't spend money and time on
  132. is connecting with each other
  133. in a way that is truthful
  134. and honest
  135. and stripped of those visual receptors.
  136. (Applause)

  137. (Laughter)

  138. It sounds hard, doesn't it?

  139. (Laughter)

  140. But we want to be aggressive about this.

  141. We don't want to just sit on the couch.
  142. As a historian said earlier today,
  143. it's important to get up
    and circumvent sometimes that couch.
  144. And how can we do it?
  145. Well yes, ice is a big part of it.
  146. Insights, compassion and empathy:
  147. I, C, E.
  148. (Applause)

  149. And when we start using this ice method,

  150. well, the possibilities become
    much bigger than us.
  151. In fact, they become smaller than you.
  152. On a molecular level,
  153. I believe that that insight
  154. is the unifying theme
  155. for every talk you have seen so far at TED
  156. and will continue as we of course embark
  157. on this journey here on this tiny planet,
  158. on the ledge, on the precipice,
  159. as we are seeing, yes,
    death is inevitable.
  160. (Laughter)

  161. Will it meet all of us at the same time,

  162. I think, is the variable we are inquiring.
  163. (Laughter)

  164. I think that timeline gets a bit longer

  165. when we use ice
  166. and when we rest our backs
    upon one another
  167. and build together,
  168. leaving behind the fear
  169. and working towards --
  170. (Laughter)

  171. they'll edit this part out --

  172. (Laughter)

  173. a ripened experience of love,

  174. compassion,
  175. intimacy based on a truth
  176. that you are sharing from your mind's eye
  177. and the heart that we all can touch,
  178. tactilely feel,
  179. have maybe potentially a mushy experience
  180. that we don't just throw out
    because it is browned,
  181. but let us slice in half
    the experience we have gathered,
  182. let us seed what the heart, the core,
  183. the seed of that idea in each of us is,
  184. and let us share it back to back.
  185. Thank you very much.

  186. (Applause)