Speed Reads

Holy TED Talk!

In a surprise TED Talk, Pope Francis urges a 'revolution of tenderness' in a world of waste

He didn't stand on a stage or display any visual aids, but Pope Francis just gave the first papal TED Talk. Released Tuesday night, the talk, "Why The Only Future Worth Building Includes Everyone," is delivered in Italian, though TED provides an English translation. And while the pope doesn't mention religion until halfway through, it is essentially a sermon to the "creative minds" who watch TED Talks about the need for love and human solidarity in a world where "techno-economic systems" and human indifference leave many people discarded in a "culture of waste," and where hope is not just possible but crucial. "Life is not time merely passing by," he says, "life is about interactions."

Pope Francis structured the talk around three messages: A reminder that "we all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent 'I,' separated from the other, and we can only build the future by standing together"; a hope that technology and scientific innovation lead to "more equality and social inclusion," not alienation and greed; and the need for a "revolution of tenderness." He explains the coming revolution in Christian terms:

For us Christians, the future does have a name, and this name is Hope. Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naive and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn't lock itself into darkness, that doesn't dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow. Hope is the door that opens onto the future. ... A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you. And then there will be another "you," and another "you," and it turns into an "us." And so, does hope begin when we have an "us?" No. Hope began with one "you." When there is an "us," there begins a revolution. [Pope Francis, TED Talk]

"The future of humankind isn't exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies," the pope concludes, though "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.'" You can read his talk in English, or, watch Pope Francis deliver his TED Talk in Italian below. Peter Weber