Everything is Connected — Here’s How: | Tom Chi | TEDxTaipei

Everything is Connected — Here’s How: | Tom Chi | TEDxTaipei

Translator: Queenie Lee
Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs Hello. (Audience) Hello. My name is Tom Chi, and ever since I was a young child, I was determined to understand
how the entire universe worked, and that fascination led me
to my first job, at age 15 – I did astrophysical research
with the Harvard-Smithsonian Observatory in active galactic nuclei. Now, years after being a scientist
and astrophysicist, I slowly kind of matured out of that
and entered the world of people. It actually turns out
that the world of people is way harder to understand
than the entire universe. But I stayed with it, and in the process
of being a technologist, an inventor, and an entrepreneur, I’ve learned a lot about people. What I’m going to talk to you today
is a little bit of what I’ve learned. Because as I learn about people, I get very interested
in the gaps that still remain for us as human beings
and us as a civilization, relative to the challenges
that are in front of us. And one of those gaps that I’ve seen
is around this concept, and the concept is a really simple one. It’s the concept
that everything is connected. You’ve probably heard
this many, many times, in fact. It’s an element of almost
every spiritual tradition of humankind throughout all of history. But whenever I hear people talk
and mention this phrase that “we are all connected,” they do so in a way where it’s something they wish
that they could believe was true, that it’s something that’s abstract; that it’s esoteric; that it’s a thing that is unprovable, but they just really wish
the universe was like that. And today I’m here to describe
that everything really is connected, and not in some abstract, esoteric way but in a very concrete, direct,
understandable way. And I am going to do that
with three different stories: a story of the heart, a story of the breath, and a story of the mind. So let’s begin. So all of you in this audience today, your hearts are beating
right at this moment. And the reason that your hearts beat is because you need to move this molecule
through your blood called hemoglobin. And hemoglobin carries
this smaller molecule that’s called heme B, which is what we see over here. Now, at the heart of heme B
is a single atom of iron, so in a way, at the heart of our heart
is this little iron atom. And this is actually really a central part
of the hemoglobin molecule because this is the thing
that allows us to bind oxygen and move that through
our circulatory system. But one thing that you may not know is that the only way that iron
is created in the universe, is through supernovas
and through supermassive stars. So the universe started
with basically no iron at all. Hydrogen. Helium – And only through the process
of these stars forming, exploding, forming and exploding, was iron able to be created that now courses
through each one of our veins. But the story doesn’t really end there. Because – why do stars keep forming? Actually, after a supernova happens, it may be a long time before those gases
come back together to form a star. So in order to understand how this works, we need to understand
why stars would form. Even though there’s a couple
different ways that stars form, one of the most robust is this process: galactic collisions. And these are images
from the Hubble Space Telescope, and they show through a series of panels –
which are actually different galaxies because this process takes,
like, a half billion to a billion years – different galaxies what the process
of a galactic collision would look like. So across the top, you get the galaxies
slowly coming together, and in the bottom three frames, you see them smashing into each other,
and their interstellar gases mixing, and in the process of doing that, they set on fire with new star formation
across the entire galaxy, and whatever remains after the collision. Now, even here
is not the end of the story. Because why in the world
would galaxies collide? This doesn’t seem like a thing
that should just happen for no reason. So, to understand this, we’re going to need
to scoot back way, way more. And here we’re at the level
of seeing about 100,000 galaxies. So last slide, two galaxies. This slide, 100,000 galaxies. Every one of these dots here
is a galaxy that is in our supercluster. And we’re that red dot over here,
where it says, “You are here.” And these glowing lines are not galaxies. These glowing lines are the trajectories that these galaxies are going
to take through gravity over the coming billions of years in this beautiful gravitational dance
of all these galaxies swirling together in a gravitational structure
that we call Laniakea, which in Hawaiian means
the immeasurable heaven. And it’s this process, the gravitational dance
of 100,000 galaxies swirling together, which drive the process
of galaxies colliding, which drive massive star formation, which drive the process
of creating the iron that courses through each one
of our veins with every heartbeat. And in this way, every one of our heartbeats is connected. Now we’re going to move to a second story. And this story is about breath. Taking a deep breath
is one of the most simple ways to connect with our own bodies – a deeply grounded, calming breath. But taking a deep breath was not something
that was possible on this earth three billion years ago. On this slide, we have the composition
of the atmosphere of the earth during that time period. We had about the same amount of nitrogen, but we had almost no oxygen at all. So you would be taking a breath in vain
three billion years ago. And we actually had
a huge amount of carbon dioxide. And the net effect was
an almost inhabitable planet. The only organisms
that could exist that time were single-celled organisms inside of stromatolites
and other closed spaces. Now, luckily for us, one of those organisms
that was alive at this time was something called a cyanobacteria. That’s a picture of it in the background. And this organism has the special trick
that we call “photosynthesis,” the ability to go take energy from the sun and transform carbon dioxide into oxygen. And over the course of billions of years, so starting from two
and a half billion years ago, little by little these bacteria
spread across the planet and converted all
that carbon dioxide in the air into the oxygen that we now have. And it was a very slow process. First, they had to saturate the seas, then they had to saturate the oxygen
that the earth would absorb, and only then, finally, could oxygen begin to build up
in the atmosphere. So you see, just after
about 900 million years ago, oxygen starts to build up
in the atmosphere. And about 600 million years ago,
something really amazing happens. The ozone layer forms from the oxygen
that has been released in the atmosphere. And it sounds like a small deal, like we talked about the ozone
a couple decades ago, but it actually turns out
that before the ozone layer existed, earth was not really able
to sustain complex, multicellular life. We had single-celled organisms, we had a couple of simple,
multicellular organisms, but we didn’t really
have anything like you or me. And shortly after the ozone layer
came into place, the earth was able to sustain
complex multicellular life. There was a Cambrian explosion
of life in the seas. And the first plants got onto land. In fact, there was actually
no life on land ahead of that. Another way to see this is, this is kind of a chart
of pretty much most of the animals that you guys are familiar with. And right at the bottom in time
is the formation of the ozone layer. Like nothing that you
are familiar with today could exist without the contributions
of these tiny organisms over those billions of years. And where are they now? Well actually, they never really left us. The direct descendants
of the cyanobacteria were eventually captured by plants. And they’re now called chloroplasts. So this is a zoom-in of a plant leaf – and we probably
ate some of these guys today – where tons of little chloroplasts are still trapped –
contributing photosynthesis and making energy for the plants that continue to be the other half
of our lungs on earth. And in this way, our breaths
are very deeply united. Every out-breath is mirrored
by the in-breath of a plant, and their out-breath
is mirrored by our in-breath. I’m going to take a little aside here
for a moment with this story. Because imagine for a moment –
and this is a thought experiment – imagine you were one
of these little organisms two billions year ago. You might be born. You live a couple weeks. You die. And you kind of feel like,
well, nothing really changed. I mean, I had no purpose in this life. Like, the world I came to is exactly
the same as the world that I left. But what you wouldn’t have understood
is that every breath that you took contributed to the possibility
of countless lives after you – lives that you would never see, lives that we are all a part of today. And it’s worth thinking
that maybe the meaning of our lives are actually not even
within the scope of our understanding. Because it’s true of every one
of these organisms, and it may also be true of us. Last story of connection
is the story of the mind. This is not “our minds are
all connected in some psychic way or some scientifically unexplainable way,” I’m going to explain
the connection of the mind through the simple story
of this instrument. This is a piano. And I have actually a good
relationship with pianos. Thanks, mom. She gave me piano lessons very early. I think you have to if you’re Asian. But – (Laughter) a beautiful thing
about this instrument is it is so nuanced
and so textured and so complex, and so much beauty can be created from it
that people can make an entire career, they can make an entire lifetime
out of playing this instrument. Professional musicians, concert pianists get to know this instrument
deeply, intimately. And through it, they’re able
to create with sound in a way that just dazzles us,
and challenges us, and deepens us. But if you were to look into the mind
of a concert pianist, and you used all the modern
ways of imaging it, an interesting thing that you would see is how much of their brain
is actually dedicated to this instrument. The ability to coordinate ten fingers. The ability to work the pedal. The feeling of the sound. The understanding of music theory. All these things are represented as different patterns
and structures in the brain. And now that you have
that thought in your mind, recognize that this beautiful pattern
and structure of thought in the brain was not possible even just
a couple hundred years ago. Because the piano was not invented
until the year 1700. This beautiful pattern of thought
in the brain didn’t exist 5,000 years ago. And in this way, the skill of the piano,
the relationship to the piano, the beauty that comes from it was not a thinkable thought until
very, very recently in human history. And the invention of the piano itself
was not an independent thought. It required a depth
of mechanical engineering. It required the history
of stringed instruments. It required so many patterns
and structures of thought that led to the possibility
of its invention and then the possibility
of the mastery of its play. And it leads me to a concept I’d like to share with you guys,
which I call “The Palette of Being.” Because all of us are born into this life having available to us
the experiences of humanity that has come so far. We typically are only able
to paint with the patterns of thoughts and the ways of being that existed before. So if the piano and the way
of playing it is a way of being, this is a way of being that didn’t exist
for people 5,000 years ago. It was a color in the Palette of Being
that you couldn’t paint with. Nowadays if you are born,
you can actually learn the skill; you can learn to be a computer scientist, another color that was not available
just a couple hundred years ago. And our lives are really beautiful
for the following reason. We’re born into this life. We have the ability
to go make this unique painting with the colors of being that are around us
at the point of our birth. But in the process of life, we also have the unique opportunity
to create a new color. And that might come
from the invention of a new thing. A self-driving car. A piano. A computer. It might come from the way that you express yourself
as a human being. It might come from a piece
of artwork that you create. Each one of these ways of being, these things that we
put out into the world through the creative process
of mixing together all the other things that existed
at the point that we were born, allow us to expand the Palette of Being
for all of society after us. And this leads me
to a very simple way to go frame everything that we’ve talked about today. Because I think a lot of us understand that we exist in this kind
of the marvelous universe, but we think about this universe
as we’re this tiny, unimportant thing, there’s this massive physical universe,
and inside of it, there’s the biosphere, and inside of that, that’s society, and inside of us, we’re just one person
out of seven billion people, and how can we matter? And we think about this
as like a container relationship, where all the goodness comes
from the outside to the inside, and there’s nothing really
special about us. But the Palette of Being
says the opposite. It says that the way
that we are in our lives, the way that we affect
our friends and our family, begin to change the way
that they are able to paint in the future, begins to change the way
that communities then affect society, the way that society could then affect
its relationship to the biosphere, and the way that the biosphere
could then affect the physical planet and the universe itself. And if it’s a possible thing
for cyanobacteria to completely transform
the physical environment of our planet, it is absolutely a possible thing
for us to do the same thing. And it leads to a really
important question for the way that we’re going to do that, the manner in which
we’re going to do that. Because we’ve been given
this amazing gift of consciousness. And because of this gift, we have the ability to deeply
understand our connectedness, in the way we haven’t seen other animals
having the opportunity to do so. And because we can deeply
understand our connectedness, we’re the ones that have the decision on how we’re going to go
use that knowledge, how we’re going to go use it to build
our societies and to shape our lives. I think the reason
that all the spiritual traditions have got this concept
of “we are all connected inside of it” is because the societies
that actually deeply adopt this idea are the ones that over time deepen their level of consideration, deepen their level of expression, deepen their level
of understanding for each other. This is the reason that this idea
pops up over and over at the core of spiritual traditions. And I hope through this talk
you see that the reason that it appears at the core of science is it’s actually something that is just
literally true of the physical universe at every single level of organization and every single manifestation
of matter, energy, and life. So I’d like us all to come together
with this knowledge and understand this truth about how the universe is, that because our hearts, our breath, and our mind are connected in this way, we need to challenge
ourselves to understand what it means to live from this truth. Thank you. (Applause)

Comments (100)

  1. When he said everything is connected, I became interested in this video. Many years ago, I had a NDE. The last thing I experienced before I returned to my body was the Oneness. Sort of like the oneness of the universe, or the oneness of everything. Somehow, someway, everything is one. I knew immediately that the Oneness is true. Tom is expressing the Oneness through his scientific knowledge. I am expressing the Oneness through my spiritual experience. When I say spiritual, I don't mean religious. Spirituality and religion are different in many respects. As human beings, I think we have a desire within to know the meaning of our lives. Perhaps a thirst for knowledge that is presently beyond our human knowledge.

  2. ~DMT~ Take some and wake up!

  3. Dude you hit the jackpot!! A big thank you.

  4. This Is Probly One of The Most Articulate' Empassioned and Enlighting Speeches at Ted' Talks I've Ever Had The Fortune of Hearing! Why This Beautifully Spoken Intelligent Treasure of Awareness' Didnt Get a Standing Ovation' Is Beyond Me!?!?_🌎🌍🌏🌈

  5. This was the most inspirational and eloquent way of rephrasing what a Buddhist monk said in the 17th century
    this young man is inspiring

    The monk “ when I was young I wanted to change the world when I couldn’t change the world I tried to change my country when I couldn’t change my country I tried to change my village when I couldn’t change my village I tried to change my family and when I was old I realized if I just tried to change myself then that would’ve inspired my family to change and they would’ve influenced the country to change and that could’ve changed the world

  6. He's trying to say that science has proven that an existence, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can be the building block for the betterment of this planet. The unintelligent and very short lived bacteria that produced oxygen from carbon dioxide through photosynthesis made it possible for humans to thrive. Because human have the added advantage of being inventive, like creating the piano or computer, their contributions in their lifetime, may it be in the arts or technology, will impact and enrich this planet much like the contributions of the bacteria.

  7. Amazing video 🙏🌷🌻🌹🌼🙌

  8. Here we have a genius talking to people like they are simpletons. We are all connected by nature. Wow. What a breakthrough.

  9. This was awesome thank you!

  10. The intricate patterns of music are anthropomorphic extensions of the innate time connection, here-now, forever.

  11. …we are stardust…we are golden !

  12. Second Law of thermodynamics though…

  13. Energy, including love, is never completely destroyed but lives on in one form or another. The Creator's mind is infinite and eternal and so too our souls.

  14. This is very profound. This existence does have meaning and purpose. This world is not an accident. An accident is a concept created in the minds of humans for an action which takes place that we didn't plan for.

  15. Is good to know this guy speak from the truth of his heart and mind. But I believe that we humans on our search to understand lose our capacity to know what are we here and you dont need to get to complicate science to understand how the universe works, you just need to put your self in line with "God" or "Universe" what ever you have to called it and you will get what is your purpose, as he told first line up you, after your family, then society, etc. But until you dont have the capacity to become part of any other person, you are just lost. We already know that to do something with purpose in our life comes with sacrifices (because what we do is for a greater purpose that we probably dont gonna live), with the truth (because is the only path that make real good) and with love (because is the only force that makes us see good in other beings otherwise how you gonna feel union to them). Well that a really short part of what I think, but Im glad to see this kind of videos where I can see it express. Im open to any comment and other perspectives.

  16. He did DMT with Joe Rogan and… voila! This presentation was born 🙂

  17. Indian Tamil saint thirumoolar 3000 years ago wrote what's there in universe is same as in smallest elements

  18. Consciousness is elemental in nature

  19. We are not a human experiencing the universe. We are the universe experiencing a human!

  20. Basing your whole point on theories about space and earths origin is the best way to lose all credibility!

  21. What about the 3 billion year old marbles from S Africa coal mine ? Really what about the computer found in the the ocean bottom believed to be millions of years old

  22. standing ovation! I wish governments and religions would act like they understand this.

  23. Scientists have found plant fossils that existed 600 million years before the Cambrian explosion event. It means that the biblical creation account is correct.

  24. Beyond thought is everything xx

  25. I'm sorry, but he hasn't answered the question of how are we connected together?

  26. wrong,非也,你找个前一秒的wavefunction试试?collapse了什么都没了

  27. वॉव!! ..साइंटिफिक स्पिरिचुआलिटी👌👌🤐🤐

  28. I think he is genius…the explaining is very detail…😊

  29. THANK YOU!! I am a little weary of the WE ARE ALL CONNECTED wish, and that's what it sounds like, a wish for happy, non-lonely connectedness. Brilliant person.

  30. This may sound like a silly question, but how do they know what was on our earth that long ago? Millions of years ago?

  31. In my faith God is in Jesus , we are in Jesus …we are all also interconnected to the universe which God created …He shares His glory with His sons and daughters , I love this!!

  32. Wow!!! love this perspective. Thank you so much for sharing!🙏🏻🙌❤️

  33. weeeeeeeooooow !!! 🙏

  34. what a loaf of feces

  35. Yes and matter having consciousness was as well because of those organisms. If you can explain every thing than we are a robots. So what do i learn from all of this ?? You should see the video By: Ilustra media, Unlocking the Mystery of Life DNA – intelligent design.. You know theres something missing in your talk,

  36. I could not quite understand his central point. However, a beautiful and well presented talk. Thank you Tom Chi.

  37. What a profound being! I doubt if any seer has understood the creative process more thoroughly or deeply. Bravo! Please send your thoughts repeatedly through all media to existentially unite conscious creatures.

  38. umm its a conjecture…nobody..absolutely nobody can tell us what the earth was like even 100,000 years ago nor a group equations…sorry conjecture proves nothing..its a cool theory.

  39. Anyone here familiar with Heidegger's "dasein"?

  40. Wake up remember
    We are born of one breath, one word
    We are all one spark, sun becoming.

  41. If i till you that the information about the mircule of steel is something that every Muslim knows about.. would you believe me???
    There is a verce in the Quran called (THE STEEL)
    It explains how the steel was brought down from the sky .
    You can read about if it interests you

    -READ- thats the real translation of Quran from arabic
    Thank you for the inspiring lecture. And I'm happy to be connected with all of you.

  42. Never seen a scientist conveying spiritual truth as well! Very refreshing.

  43. Maybe after billions of years, there will be some being which will use carbon dioxide to breathe the way we are releasing it in our atmosphere….history repeat itself

  44. Being told what to believe and witness actual truth are two vicious animals. In one)

  45. This guy is making echo of the fantasy of evolutionarily theories.

  46. science prove God is real more and more everyday!!! Then u Jesus!⛪️🗽⛪️

  47. 100% Untruth. Read Genesis

  48. 5:10  that's exactly what was described in Quran thousands of years ago ♥️
    {وَكُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ}(يس: 40)

  49. Thank you, Tom Chi and everyone at TED, for making these amazing ideas and information available! So inspiring! Thank you! Love and blessings! Namasté. 💞🌻

  50. The thought experiment was a morale boost. Maybe we are contributing to something better (or worse) that we will never experience.

  51. Thank you so much for your diligent and disciplined inquiry. This is truly one of the most interesting TED talks I have seen.

  52. Connectness is the way we evolved from/against nature and it will be the condition to unite back again to our origin: nature.

  53. Speaking of palette of being, my mother invented a bacon holder for microwave, umm, hahahahaha. And my mother paid for me to take organ lessons and swimming lessons when I was 9 or 10 and the swimming lessons paid off when I was caught in a riptide current at the age of 14 in Acapulco. Yeah, thanks Mom. 🏊🏻‍♀️🏊🏻‍♀️👍🏽😊❤️

  54. Omg!!!! Brilliant!!!!

  55. everything is connected = crossing block-chains{waves]

  56. confusing. .didn't understood

  57. Everything in this world, came from this world. So everything is connected, everything is one. If it wasn't, the word "universe", would be meaningless.

    Like Alan Watts said: "You didn't come INTO this world, you came OUT of it"

  58. Good talk, but I’ve got two words for you, and unless we get rid of them, this world and humanity is doomed: GOP and religion.



  61. God bless America she is fathered now . . . . AND ~ NOW ~ LEAST ~ YE ~PUT ~FORTH~YOUR ~ HAND . . . . .

  62. Beautifull talk of the interconnection and purpose of life, spirituality, art, and science and
    because our hearts, our breath, and our minds are interconnected like this, we have to challenge ourselves and live from the knowledge that this is true.

  63. So moving! So true. Beautiful! Grateful.

  64. It is so fascinating, what Tom Chi talks about is what I experienced on the mountains of the world. My life changing experience comes from the profound sense of connection to everything. This was totally unexpected and plunged me into an immersion, and a knowing of what it is like to be living completely in the moment. Some of Tom's concluding remarks include: "Societies that believe we are all connected, experience deepened levels of 1. consideration; 2. expression; and 3. understanding for each other." I'm sure, reading this you will be saying, "No surprise here!" Cognitively and logically this makes total sense, however, if that is unilaterally the case, why the heck are we not living from this truth? The former leads to a world of collaboration, the latter to competition, separation and even hate. A friend, Steve Fraber​ just wrote an awesome book, "Love is Just Damn Good Business." I'm sure he experiences the omnipresence of connection to everything at a very deep level. . .and the love that thus emanates from every pore. Great TedX talk Tom!

  65. Oh! Only studied Active Galactic Nuclei at 15? Lightweight! LOL.

  66. A bit mushy for a typical TED talk. Seems like the talk all depends on the definition "connected"

  67. This is so interesting! Thank you for sharing this <3

  68. What we see.. That is stars is within us. It's not outside…. Lets say u never had the need to have eyes during evolution then.. What.. For an owl it's day and for u it's night.. Our very body can only take limited data which is because of survival… Cells have structured themselves in a away which enhance survival and it shows us only what it wanna show… For every life.. It's sense.. Changes.. So we must know our full mechanism through enhancing consciousness so that we can know…. If u r able to remove ur illusion that u are one… Then u become nothing.. And when this happens.. U become everything and u can know everything… That's how yogic science has evolved by life experience.. As life is not only Human being body it's all over…

  69. हरि ॐ हरि
    ॐ गणेशाया नमः
    ॐ नमः शिवायः
    ॐ ॐॐॐॐॐॐॐॐॐॐॐॐ

  70. Just smoke DMT. Aham bramhasmi.

  71. Al creation are created by the Almighty Creator – Allah – and man are not "another animal". Allah has created all creation and us different from the animals – with a independent mind. Allah say to at thing "be" and it is. He is the beginning and He is the end – and to Him we´ll all return. It is He who give us the ability to discover and seek knowledge by His permission. Alhamdulillah

  72. Looks like he likes to boast in the beginning!🙄

  73. blablabla

    bye bye baby blue
    all you have to see
    is the wicked 8true


  74. Imagine if all the people in this comment section came together. Humanity would prosper greatly.

  75. Beautifully structured talk, the buildup to the human organism and the value that the individual, like the Cyanobacteria, has to offer to the greater scheme of things. More often than not, unbeknownst to us, we are affecting so many lives in the future. No action or contribution is insignificant. Vygotsky’s scaffolding and the social constructivist theories and too an even deeper extend cognitive behavioral theories merge, like the galaxies in this talk.

  76. Soooooo boring. Good scientific info tho.

  77. Colossians 1:17
    New International Version

    He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

  78. What a joke! "Gravitational dance" is this science or pulp fiction?! It's absolutely nonsensical! Fire in a vacuum……..I think fire needs air to burn lol

  79. yet if i somehow die (I haven't figured out how yet, please stand by or fall off) yet if I die. none of you can exist. wack job ideology huh. Wack me, I'll give you my job

  80. So true well done 👍 Excellent Excellent I enjoy 😊 the video

  81. The universe made such a beautiful instrument as a human. Out of iron that gave it the breath life for a heartbeat? What is God's it in? I'm putting my every breath, counting every heartbeat and mind thought on the Creator THE MOST HIGH.

  82. It seems that the lofty ideas he was trying to convey were not so well supported by the scientific examples.
    Maybe if he would have suggested something more concrete it would have been more convincing and… Inspiring.

  83. very inspirational Ted

  84. In the beginning was a cyanobacteria…. WOW

  85. If you believe in God then surely existence, Life and everything that exists, is the result of Love?

  86. Materialism goes feel good

  87. Today I was standing at the Bus Stop outside the Co-op, in Swarcliffe in Leeds.
    In the winds, there were massive cobwebs and loads of tiny Baby Spiders, Flying Bye.
    The Intern-ET. It has allowed me to see things at a Binary/Molecular/Nanometer, level.
    Bye the way, Thanks for sharing, shared.

  88. I am refering to his coments in 10th minute. It is funny… the "piano lessons" from the chinese mom can likely be possible when you are growing as a second generation in chinese american home. Sadly china is the country of cheap labor and chinese people live on a few dolars a day, how they gonna develop elegant art tastes and teach to their children under such circumstance. Funny ! It is okey to be proud of your heritage but be realistic and dont generalize.

  89. We feed a macroexistence that we are not aware of.

  90. He was kind of winging it at the end

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