I received some out-of-the-ordinary responses to last week's article. Some were complimentary; some quite critical. For example, a few readers told me that they searched for information about Sydney Banks and learned a thing or two about a super-wise human being. Others thought I took an unnecessary shot at TedTalks. It's the latter group that I want to address here.
TedTalks aren't good or bad. My colleague Michael Neill gave an insightful Ted X presentation not long ago. What I disagree with is the overabundance of theory (concepts and practices, too) that is propagated by so-called experts at events like TedTalks. Why? Because a theory is someone's personal opinion. And personal opinions cannot improve the condition of our world -- or endure. Only truth can do this.
It's also common for these experts to use data or statistics to back their theories or opinions. We often hear: "A recent study shows that so and so happens at an accuracy rate of 87.5 percent." Truth, on the other hand, is 100 percent accurate. When uncovering truth (such as gravity -- if I drop a hockey puck, it will always fall), data is superfluous, practically absurd. Like trying to prove gravity, we don't need a study to affirm that the earth is round, germs cause illness, or that all human beings are created equal.
We also don't need a study to prove how human beings work psychologically. Sigmund Freud tried. He presented several analyses to confirm that taking people back to their past could improve their current state of mind. Was his theory foolproof? Of course not. No theory is. By contrast, Syd Banks uncovered the simple truth that (no matter the past) when a person's mind is cluttered, he or she feels bad; when the same person's mind is clear, he or she feels good. I've never met a person who disagrees with this.
The fact is, like everyone, I have plenty of theories of my own. I live my life based on personal beliefs. These beliefs, however, are not what my work is about or what I teach. Imparting personal opinions into the thought system of another person contaminates free will and instincts. That's why theories account for 0 percent of the world's essential advancements and 100 percent of the world's transgressions.
I do appreciate the viewpoints of those who disagreed with last week's article--and perhaps this one, too. It's just that the escalation of suffering and atrocities in our world shows that a new direction is sorely necessary. We need less motivation and more leadership. Fewer methods, strategies, techniques, and excuses and more Copernicus, Newton, King, and Banks. Less individualism and more of what brings us together. In short, we need less hype and more of the only thing that can stand the test of time -- truth.