September 21, 2017, 8:22 pm
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A ‘Revolution of Tenderness’

POPE Francis, the world’s most powerful religious leader, recently used an international forum dedicated to promoting cutting-edge ideas to spread his own revolutionary message: “We all need each other.”

In a surprise videotaped message at the international TED conference in Vancouver, Canada last Tuesday, reportedly told the room of scientists, academics, tech innovators, investors, and cultural elite, “When there is an ‘us,’ there begins a revolution.”

When Pope Francis appeared on screen, the room erupted in applause. Though he was standing center stage in front of TED’s signature red blocks letters, but rather seated at a desk at the Vatican City, his speech had all the hallmarks of a TED Talk. His began with a personal narrative and wove in big ideas around hope, inclusion and starting a “revolution of tenderness.”

Keeping with the intent of the week-long conference to share strategies to make the world better, the Pope’s contribution to that conversation was to urge the people to use their influence and power to care for others.

“How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion,” he said. “How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters around us.”

He shared that he often wonders “why them and not me” when he travels the world meeting with the poor and the sick --- society’s “discarded people.” The question drives his belief that it is the responsibility of the fortunate to take care of those who have less in life.

“First and foremost,” the Pope went on to say, “I would love it if this meeting could help remind us that 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, including everyone. People’s paths are riddled with suffering, as everything is centered on money, and things, instead of people. And often there is this habit, by people who call themselves respectable, of not taking care of the others, thus leaving behind thousands of human beings, or entire populations on the side of the road.” 

The Pope has gained fans even among the non-religious for speaking out on issues, such as poverty, immigration and the environment, according to a Pew Research Center poll survey of more than 70 percent without religious affiliation who view him favourably.

Pope Francis is also known for his media savvy. He has 10 million followers on Twitter alone, and regularly records videos for specific audiences. But the TED world, with its heavy focus on science and technology, is an interesting choice and signals his revolutionary message far and wide. 

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Let us remember the wisdom of , a classical Greek philosopher: 

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

“Sometimes you put up walls not to keep out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not fighting the old, but on building the new.”

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Quote of the Day: “In this complicated world and often confusing world, Pope Francis has become probably the only moral voice capable of reaching people across boundaries and providing clarity and a compelling message of hope.” – Bruno Giussani, TED’s international curator.
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