You Can – and Should – Go Home Again

You Can – and Should – Go Home Again

Thanks to the miracle of modern technology –  and the Formbys (and their team) – last week Telluride was able to ingest Tuesday and Wednesday’s sessions of the TED Talks (via simulcasts) taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia. The rock star Sting was one of the presenters. In his Op Ed piece in Sunday’s New York Times, columnist (and TED talker) David Brooks comments on the importance of Sting’s message: We can – and should – go home again (metaphorically, if not literally).

Sting (courtesy of Rolling Stone)

Sting (courtesy of Rolling Stone)

The TED conference is dedicated to innovation. Most of the people who give TED talks are working on some creative project: to invent new bionic limbs for amputees, new telescopes, new fusion reactors or new protest movements to reduce the power of money in politics.

The speakers generally live in hope and have the audacity of the technologist. Naturally enough, they believe fervently in their projects. “This will change everything!” they tell the crowds.

And there’s a certain suspension of disbelief as audiences get swept up in the fervor and feel themselves delightedly on the cutting edge. The future will be insanely great. Everything will change at the speed of Moore’s Law.

But at this year’s TED conference, which was held here in Vancouver, British Columbia, the rock star Sting got onstage and gave a presentation that had a different feel. He talked about his rise to stardom and then about a period in middle age when he was unable to write any new songs. The muse abandoned him, he said — for days, then weeks, then months, then years.

But then he went back and started thinking about his childhood in the north of England. He’d lived on a street that led down to a shipyard where some of the world’s largest ocean-going vessels were built.

Most of us have an urge, maybe more as we age, to circle back to the past and touch the places and things of childhood. When Sting did this, his creativity was reborn. Songs exploded from his head…

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