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Elif Shafak’s Ted Talk : 3 Important Thoughts to Learn

Elif Shafak’s Ted Talk : 3 Important Thoughts to Learn

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This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

Elif Shafak : The Revolutionary power of Diverse Thought 

Elif Shafak introduces this brilliant take on the world’s “indispensable need for democracy”. She begins by speaking about the flavours of words, the taste of certain words which invoke emotions that play at the heart’s strings. For example, the word purple is pungent and perfumed, any words associated with it would emanate that aura, but she believed when she described how she could taste words, it would seem almost unnatural and too abstract to the world, a stickler for the “solidarity”, so she remained afraid and quiet. 

Over time, she learned to never remain silent in the fear of complexity. She stood on the stage and expressed her desire to explore this complexity, among others. She asks the audience what “equality”, “love”, “revolution” would taste to her and them. Her motherland, Turkey, invokes a sweet and bitter taste. I reflect on the love for my motherland, fierce respect and love for my homeland, I can understand what she means by the taste of words now. We feel a love so fierce for our land that we feel even the extent of anger, grief, frustration toward the injustice caused by politics and politicians of our nation. 

There is a brave discussion about the world’s need for emotional intelligence. The fast-paced, revolutionizing world that relays on political theory pays very little attention to emotions. The vast expanse of data that consistently changes leaves little space for thoughts and emotions. We are emotional beings and in this new era of “collective sentiments” and misguided politics, we often forget who we are. These sentiments are greatly amplified by social media instilling a new age of fear, anger, distrust, and resentment. For example, while there is much research surrounding economics, there is minimal research surrounding the associated emotions. 

How does one bridge the gap between emotions and politics? One of the biggest intellectual challenges of our time would be underestimating a political system “replete” with emotions. Over time, illiberal politicians have taken advantage of these thoughts and emotions. 

 We should focus on economic inequality worldwide, we need to pay more attention to emotional and cognitive gaps worldwide and how to bridge these gaps because they do matter.  

Elif Shafak

The brilliance of Shafak’s speech is poignant here when she talks about the world divided into an imaginary map, an ideology where some countries were considered solid, and some were liquid. The liquid countries were compared to the ocean’s choppy waves, unsettled while the solid countries were safe and stable. The liquid countries seemed to require activists and feminists, people to emblazon the path of support, whereas solid countries which had overcome these challenges, continued to triumph in their success and help others achieve the democracy they had. 

In 2016, the “imaginary map” that people had built in their minds of the hierarchical classification around the world, had shattered. The mention of moving forward from history is highlighted, she says that history repeats itself sometimes. It slides backwards, goes in a circle, where people in our nation makes the same mistakes as our ancestors once did. With this realization we realise that we all live in liquid times, we move and change like the ocean’s tides. 

With the world’s changing construct, we must remember as the societies slide backwards toward the thoughts of “authoritarianism, nationalism, or religious fanaticism”, women have the most to lose. We need not only global activism but a global sisterhood. With most of us worried about the nation’s future and the future of the world, we start to feel like strangers. 

With nations such as Turkey, Bangladesh, China, Russia in the boat in the liquid world, other “solid” nations from the world’s map such as UK, USA, France, Austria,… join hands in understanding the bizarre certainties of the world. In this world of unbeknownst problems and challenges along with the emotional backlash towards it, we crave the familiar. In all this chaos with its dangerous intersections, all we want is simplicity. 

With that thought comes collective sentiments, where people form tribal-like behaviour to create an atmosphere of sameness. Leaders such as of a political party in Europe, an Islamist extremist, a Nazi loving orator, or a white supremacist party seem divided at best, with different dogmas, disconnected from each other. But, they need each other, the desire to be supported and stand with each other for the same cause is what holds them together, the tribal structure. 

When each group forms its own movements, thought of acts of righteousness one thing is seen as a common thread, the intolerance of plurality. The ambiguous is seen as a harm, and the uprising of extremes is seen. For example, in a debate, there will be a pro and anti side, the other categories are seen as ambiguous are not included, only the two known certainties clash. 

Shafak shows how the world functions on a binary opposition based system, with no space for the complex “in-between”. When expressing sorrow for a sudden uprising of cruelty, there are multiple reactions, with the anti and pro side of the issue. In this collective thought it is not understood that people cannot stand for all of the world’s injustice, and how one pain is somehow made to be greater than the other. This tribalism causes us to side with the greater side of pain, in turn shrinking our minds and our very hearts. 

As children we are like birds, we want to soar and see the world with our eyes. We want to be novelists and global citizens of the world. We have the spirit to embrace that thought of confidence, but as the children grow into young adults a vast change is seen. Those children with the hue for adventure, novel ideas, have become more timid, cautious, fearful, reluctant to speak in public places. Their schools and society have taught them to erase their individuality. 

With this new mindset, we lose our multiplicity, our complexity within society. Becoming an individual voice has become an illusion like those solid countries in the imaginary world map. As a mix of various thoughts, we can achieve that. We have multiple attachments, multiple stories, as world citizens and global souls, we have the compassion to create our own stories and journeys. To those that preach certainty, in this ever-changing world, there is plenty of magic to that which is ambiguous. 

We can most certainly go back to the basic, to the thoughts, tastes and colours of this vibrant world. 

As the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran used to say, “I learned silence from the talkative and tolerance from the intolerant and kindness from the unkind.” 

Elif Shafak

From these tribal associations, we learn the “true indispensability of democracy, the need for global solidarity, and the beauty of diversity”. Shafak leaves the audience with the Turkish word “yurt”, which symbolizes homeland and also “a tent used by nomadic tribes”, as if to say that the homeland of a person is portable, it need not be rooted in one place. And as for writers, their homeland is the world of writing, a world of freedom, imagination, and the chutzpah for change. 

Read another article written by Aashi Shah, “The Impenetrable Mind: A True Friend or Fiend?“. 

This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

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This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

This article reflects on a prominent TEDtalk by Elif Shafak where she speaks about the ever-changing political world and puts a colourful twist to the beauty of human change. She explores the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts with the encapsulation of the understanding of the modern world, and how detailed the world can really be despite the constant change. Elif speaks about how there are humanity and emotions, speaks of what should matter in this bustling world, how to handle change. Her talk features how just the thought of feminism and woman power in this world can coexist just as beautifully as the world is built. 

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