( Michael B. Hubbard asks for comments about his speech. )
I think that it's very, very good!
The only sentence that I have any trouble at all with is
> While replacement parts are becoming more common, my personal
> belief is that it is better to have the original factory
> equipment until something truly better arrives.
The rest of your speech is glib---in a good way, mind---but this sentence is rather
too glib. In the first place, it contains considerably more meat, and hence is
considerably more controversial than the rest. (One of its hidden implications is
that when something better than our current organs does come along, you'll replace
your organs with it!) Something makes me uneasy about trying to slip something as
wild as that past people. But I could be wrong.
I've got speech for my local toastmasters group, and was wondering if anyone would
care to critique it. It's more in the style of a motivational speech than anything
really technical. I'm using the TM group as a test-bed for some ideas on how to
spread the extropian meme through public-speaking, and would welcome any observations
the list might have.
Live well, Michael Awakening the Sleeper
An anonymous Internet pundit once wrote, "The world is so fast that there are days
when the person who says it can't be done is interrupted by the person who is doing
it." It doesn't take much looking around these days to see that world is changing on
multiple fronts at breakneck speed. The Human Genome has been mapped. Computers are
becoming more powerful, smaller, and omnipresent. On the societal front the change is
no less dizzying. The nations of Europe have become the European Union. China has
broken out of its formerly third-world status to become a real potential rival to the
United States. We hear of protests and revolutions all over the world on what seems
to be a daily basis. In the financial world we move from being in the longest
sustained boom of the twentieth century to the troubled market we now see each night
on CNBC. The one constant of our times, it seems, is change. And frankly, more and
greater changes are approaching than we could have formerly even conceived.
So how do we, as human beings living in the age of change, cope with the constant
barrage of new information, and the constantly shifting state of the world? My answer
is that we ourselves must change, even transform, to face the challenges of our day.
As Frank Herbert wrote in his epic novel Dune, ""Without change, something sleeps
inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." I believe that we must
awaken the sleeping giants within ourselves to survive and thrive in this dawning age
of change. But what changes must we face?
First we have to be prepared to live longer. In 1990 there were just over 3 million
people in the United States age 85 or older. In the past ten years that number has
risen by nearly a million and a half. The numbers for 75 to 84 have increased by two
million. We as a nation are living longer, and living fuller and more productive
lives as we age, than we have in any point in history. Medical technology has
advanced enough, even assuming no further growth in knowledge, that it is very likely
that most if not all of the people in this room could live to see one hundred years
Next, be prepared for a more prosperous world. Over the next thirty years there will
be an unprecedented boom in production worldwide, ensuring a worldwide standard of
living and relative comfort never before possible. As a result, our energies will be
turned to creating and exploring on a level not seen since the European renaissance.
As the cost of travel across the globe decreases and the flow of information
increases, there will be more opportunity for those who wish to travel to do so, and
more contact with people from different cultures both face to face and on the
Finally, be prepared for more choice in nearly every aspect of life. Already choices
of lifestyle and occupation are more diverse than ever before, and the byproduct is
an ever-increasing tolerance of those choices. As productivity increases the trend
toward more free time and more money to spend on that time will only increase
So how do we prepare ourselves for these changes? First, take care of your body, and
try to expand your physical capabilities. While replacement parts are becoming more
common, my personal belief is that it is better to have the original factory
equipment until something truly better arrives. Secondly, take care of your mind, and
expand it whenever possible. Learn languages, take courses, follow whatever interests
you may have, but continue to learn and expand your brainpower. In a world dominated
by change and possibility a flexible and well-trained mind is one of the best tools
you can have. Finally, strive for self-direction in every aspect of your own life.
Make goals, make decisions, seek out freedom and openness. I can't tell you exactly
how you should individually each prepare for and cope with the coming changes in our
world, as Franklin Roosevelt said, "There are many ways of going forward, but only
one way of standing still." What I can tell you, though, is to strive to improve and
expand yourself in any way you feel is right for you. Challenge yourself to learn and
grow. Awaken your sleeper.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:39:48 MDT