Culture

“Instead of sola scriptura, TED and its ilk offer more of a buffet-style approach to moral formation”

TED talks routinely present problems of huge scale and scope — we imprison too many people; the rain forest is dying; look at all this garbage; we’re unhappy; we have Big Data and aren’t sure what to do with it — then wrap up tidily and tinily. Do this. Stop doing that. Buy an app that will help you do this other thing.

To imagine that small behavior tweaks are smart responses to big persistent challenges, like the gender gap in wages, is a stretch. These ideas don’t spread because people are rationally calculating the odds that they’ll work.

Perhaps the fact that there’s no intrusive voice from above makes this all more appealing than monotheism. Instead of sola scriptura, TED and its ilk offer more of a buffet-style approach to moral formation.

Megan Hustad, “The Church of TED”, The New York Times (15 March 2015), SR4.