The TEDxSydney ‘AHA’ moment you need to know about

James MacDiarmid

There I was sitting on the commuter train from Wollongong at 6am wondering what type of experience I was about to have in attending this year’s TEDxSydney event for 2019, with legacy being the headline for the day.

When first asked to write about legacy I have to admit I found myself sitting quietly at my desk engrossed in deep thought, trying to place an image to the word. I eventually landed on something that allowed me to write freely, speaking to my passions and area of expertise. However, I was still intrigued to see how the actual day would celebrate legacy loud, proud and clear.

I tend to operate under the notion that everything around us works in patterns and that by looking for patterns we are able to find clarity amongst the noise that lives inside our minds eye.

It did not take long for me to reach this moment of clarity and speaker, Tara Djokic, who shared with us her work on the geological setting and ecology of some of Earth’s oldest evidence of life, was my aha moment.

Legacy is about acknowledgment. Legacy is about sharing stories as a way to pass through knowledge. Legacy is about connection. And at the center-point of all this is, science.

From my humble perspective each speaker, in some way, shape or form, spoke to the notion of legacy in sharing stories of a scientific nature, from the past, present and toward the future.

We are all living on a continuum that is, arguably, finite but yet our legacy, our active engagement and citizenship is not. Our legacy is infinite. Our stories that are our own eventually become lessons for others, lesson that hopefully enable us to make better decisions. Lessons that heighten our awareness and appreciation of others, ourselves and spaces greater than just our own.

I never liked, nor actively focussed on, history when I was at school, yet my willingness to listen and learn from others through story-telling and literacy in adult life has undoubtedly led me to where I currently sit on my (own) continuum.

TEDxSydney and I’m sure all other TED events around the world offers a terrific platform, no pun intended, to share and fuel our inner desires aforementioned. How nice it is that we can congregate as one and celebrate the continuums of others and those that will exist into the future.

Here is my challenge to all that have kindly spent the time to read this and for those that feel inspired to share amongst friends, family and strangers.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been made aware of the technological glitches regarding standardised testing processes in schools here in Australia, which has in turn resulted in significant levels of stress and anxiety in students, and in many cases, tears. Is this the type of legacy we aspire to have and leave behind?

If legacy means all those things which I laid to bare and science is at the center-point for thought, provocation and narrative, why do we not celebrate its importance enough but also with truth and integrity? Furthermore, how can we ensure that the future, that all synapses (human stories and connection) that make-up life’s continuum, shift mindsets, change behaviour patterns of ourselves and ultimately our human-designed systems that supposedly are designed to support life, love and longevity?

As one fast track speaker said, look up! I agree. I’d also challenge one self to look in and look around. Life is short but be-ing is not.

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