The World We Explore- Sir Ken Robinson Zeitgeist Americas 2012

The World We Explore- Sir Ken Robinson Zeitgeist Americas 2012

>>Ken Robinson:
Adults think they’re not creative, but children do. That’s true, isn’t it? Broadly speaking?
In fact, I want to give you a quick test, if I could. Well, I’m going to, so….
How creative do you think you are personally? I mean, if you would, think of that on a ten-point
scale, with ten at the top. Okay? It’s important to know that ten is the top. And where would
you put yourself on a scale of one to ten? While you’re thinking about that, have a think
about this. How intelligent are you on a scale of one to ten, with ten at the top?
Now I’m going to ask you to put your hands up. You don’t have to. You can say, “I’m sorry.
I did not come to Zeitgeist for this type of thing. I’m a grownup. You may put your
hand up.” But assuming you’re willing to, let me just
give you an assurance that if you do put your hands up, there are no social consequences.
[ Laughter ]>>Ken Robinson: For me.
[ Laughter ]>>Ken Robinson: Can be social death for you,
for all I know. What I’m going to do, I’m not going to drag anybody you up here and
ask you to demonstrate anything. It’s purely a straw poll for the purpose of conversation.
So with that caveat in mind, would you put your hands up if you gave yourselves ten for
creativity? Was that a vote or a scratch? All right. One.
Nine? Eight?
Seven? Six?
Five? Four?
Three? Two?
Okay. Where was the average, do you think, of that?
Yeah, I’d say. How about intelligence? Now, I know a certain
social modesty comes into play here, but this is Zeitgeist, so get over it, you know.
[ Laughter ]>>Ken Robinson: How about ten? Any tens for
intelligence? No?
Nine? Thank you. Thank you. Actually, you can — we’re just wasting your time, honestly.
You can go now. [ Laughter ]
>>Ken Robinson: Eight? Seven?
Six? Five?
Four? Three?
— it’s getting tense, isn’t it? [ Laughter ]
>>Ken Robinson: Two? Any twos?
Okay. I never do one, by the way. If you got one, you’re not following this anyway, are
you? [ Laughter ]
>>Ken Robinson: Where was the top of that curve, would you think? In intelligence? About
seven again? Okay. Eight. Okay. All right. One last question. Last time you
have to put your hands up. Put your hands up if you gave yourself different
marks for intelligence or creativity. Okay. The reason I ask you this is, I think
you’re all wrong, by the way. Obviously, apart from the two nines, obviously. Never argue
with a nine is my view. But the reason I say it is that I think most
people operate on a very limited conception of creativity and of intelligence.
So my question is, what were you thinking of when you gave yourself the mark? When you
decided you could give a number for creativity, what was in your mind? When you give yourself
a number for intelligence, what was it you were thinking of?
You see, my experience of it is that people operate on all kinds of misconceptions about
creativity. And I think it’s why that last conversation was so important. They think
it’s all about the arts. And while the arts are terribly important, it’s not just about
the arts. They think it’s about special people. It’s really not. I mean, if you’re a human
being, it comes with a kit. You are born with tremendous creative capacities.
The trouble is that creativity’s a bit like literacy. You may have an aptitude for it
but never developed the abilities that are required to exercise it. That, to me, is a
big fault of our education system. And the third misconception is, there’s nothing
you can do about it. You’re creative or not, and that’s the end of it. And I believe there’s
a great deal you can do to make yourselves more creative.
The whole theme of this conference is about linking these two worlds, or this session,
the inner world and the outer world. And I believe that our education systems currently
are failing to keep pace with the developments in the external world, which are moving with
a tremendous speed and depth of change. And they have never been good at connecting with
our inner world. Very many people go through their education
having no real sense of what lies deep within them.
I’m convinced of this, that we’re all born with tremendous natural talents. But very
few of us actually get to tap into them, to tap into the — the depth of them.
Just on this external world, by the way. I mean, I published a book ten years ago called
“Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.” And I was asked if I would like to make any
changes to it last year. We were bringing out a new edition. The publisher was going
to do a tenth-anniversary edition. “Would you like to make any changes?”
Well, it seemed to me, improbable, frankly, that it could be improved in any way.
[ Laughter ]>>Ken Robinson: It was, after all, a masterwork
that I had written myself. But I decided under some pressure I’d make
a few changes. I had in mind a weekend with a spell check and a bottle of burgundy. That
was the plan. I actually rewrote the entire book from start
to finish. I don’t think there’s a single word unchanged in the entire book.
And the reason is that so much has happened in ten years, just in ten years. I mean, Google
is responsible for quite a bit of this, I think.
But ten years ago, there were no smartphones, were there? There were no iPads? No iPods?
I know that’s not a Google idea. There were no social media. I mean, Alison talked about
interviewing Zuckerberg here when it was just a faint idea in his head.
There was no Twitter ten years ago, was there? I mean, ten years ago, people didn’t tweet,
did they? I mean, if they did, they were discouraged, weren’t they?
[ Laughter ]>>Ken Robinson: People — people would say,
“What was that? And do you mind not doing that again? We’re trying to eat in here. If
you have to tweet, go outside and do it.” [ Laughter ]
>>Ken Robinson: But now, you know, if you’re not tweeting on a regular basis, if you haven’t
tweeted this morning, you feel socially inadequate. This is just in the space of ten years.
So we know the external world is changing with a fantastic rate and profundity. So that’s
one of the reasons I wanted to rewrite the book.
By the way, I rewrote the book on Microsoft Word. Do you use Microsoft Word?
Yes. Well, I like it. But you may have noticed Microsoft Word has opinions. Doesn’t it? It
tends to give you little squiggles if it — there are two sorts of squiggles, those that point
out you have made a mistake. I’m fine with that. The squiggles I don’t like are where
they disapprove of what you’ve just said. [ Laughter ]
>>Ken Robinson: Like the passive voice. They don’t like it. And why? What has this got
to do with Bill Gates? We don’t know. If you use the passive voice, they give you
squiggles and suggest helpful alternatives. I wrote this sentence, “The foundations of
the modern intelligence test were laid in the late 19th century by Sir Francis Galton,
a cousin of Charles Darwin.” That’s true, by the way. It’s a beautiful
sentence, isn’t it? I’ll read it again for you. It’s that good,
I’m feeling. [ Laughter. ]
>>Ken Robinson: “The foundations of the modern intelligence test were laid in the late 19th
century by Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin.”
Microsoft Word didn’t like that. It has the passive voice in it, “were laid.” So it helpfully
suggested this alternative in the active voice. “In the late 19th century, Sir Francis Galton
laid a cousin of Charles Darwin” — [ Laughter ]
>>Ken Robinson: — “the foundation of the modern intelligence test.”
I had no idea. But I rewrote the book using Microsoft Word
for lack of an alternative, because so much has changed in the world around us. The rate
of technological change has transformed everything. And it will continue to. People here are much
more expert at this than I am, but you will know, I’m sure, that ten years from now, the
book will have to be rewritten again. Many of the things that we think are so smart and
groovy just now will be discarded within ten years. I mean, I think if you show your grandchildren
your iPad, they will smile at you with a kind of patronizing look of how quaint it was that
you thought this was so exciting. You know, that you actually have to hold something in
your hand, like an actual object. Because, I mean, the work we’ve been seeing on robotics,
you can multiply that with what’s happening in cloud computing and everything else, ten
years from now, these things we think are so advanced will be primitive, in all likelihood.
The other fact is population growth, that’s, I think, about to present us with challenges
people haven’t faced up to. There was a very good program on the BBC — there are many
good programs on the BBC. This happens to be one of them — last year. It was about
how many people can live on Earth. And it was called. “How Many People Can Live on Earth.”
The BBC have a great gift for titles, I find. And they came to this view. You know, there
are now seven and a half billion people on the planet, seven and a half — heading for
seven and a half billion, which is more people than the whole history of humanity, by a long
way. And we don’t know if the Earth can handle
it. So they said if everybody on Earth were to consume at the same rate as the average
person in Rwanda — you know, consume food, fuel, water, air, space. They said if everybody
on Earth were to consume at the same rate as the average person in Rwanda, that the
Earth could sustain a maximum population of 15 billion people. So we’re halfway to that.
The trouble, of course, is, we don’t all consume at the same rate as they do in Rwanda. They
said if everybody on Earth were to consume at the same rate as the average person in
North America — that’s us — the Earth could sustain a maximum population of 1.2 billion.
So we’re five times past that currently. So if everybody on Earth wants to live as
we do in North America — and, by the way, they do — we would need four more planets
to make this feasible, which we don’t have. And there’s a paradox here. All of these challenges
are created by human ingenuity and human innovation and creativity. It’s not the lemurs that are
causing the problem. It’s us. And at the very point where we need to get even more innovative,
more inventive, more ingenious to deal with the challenges that we have created, our education
systems are stifling the very capacities on which we’re about to depend. And this is — I
just want to get to this. There are — We really live in two worlds, don’t we? There’s
a world, as a guy called (saying name) once, I thought, very nicely put it. There’s a world
that exists only — exists whether or not you exist, a world that came into being before
you did. It was here before you got here. It will be here well long after you are gone.
It’s the world of other people, events, other circumstances. Our education systems are pretty
obsessed with that world. But there’s another world that exists only
because you exist. It’s the world of your own private consciousness, the world that
came into being when you did, the world, as somebody once said, where there’s only one
set of footprints, a world of your private passions, your motivations, your aspirations,
your hopes, and your talents. And I believe the future of the world around
us, so far as we’re concerned, depends on understanding much more about the world within
us. And the more standardized our education systems
become, the less amenable they are to allowing us to make those explorations.
You have no idea what your talents are, I’m sure.
How many of you have got children? Can I ask you? How about two children? Okay. And the
rest of you have seen such children? [ Laughter. ]
>>Ken Robinson: Small people wandering about. I will make you a bet. If you’ve got two or
more children or you have two or more siblings or friends — I hope that’s now included everybody.
But if you’ve got two or more children, I’ll make you a bet. My bet is that they are completely
different from each other. Aren’t they? Completely different from each other. No matter how alike
they may be in some respects, you would never confuse them, would you? Like, “Which one
are you? Remind me.” [ Laughter. ]
>>Ken Robinson: I am constantly being mixed up here.
And the reason I point out is this, that our education systems are based on three principles
which are the opposite of how human life flourishes. Apart from that, they’re great.
The first one is conformity. Our systems are becoming more and more standardized; whereas
the great pulse of human life is diversity. We are here in all of our varied differences,
we are centers of unique talents and possibilities, each of us in every child. The second is our
education systems are based on compliance, more and more. Whereas the energy of human
life is creativity and innovation. It’s why in the United States — kids come from college
and they cannot innovate anymore. It’s kind of been educated out of them. But the third
is this: Human life is organic. We create our alliance, our education systems are based
on a principal of linearity. I would bet very few of are you of living the life now that
you anticipated you would be living when you left school; is that correct? I mean, we submit
to a fiction here that there comes a point in your life where you have to write your
resume. And we set it all out in some linear narrative, you put headings in, certain things
in bold you pick them out to try to make your life look as if it’s all run along some very
well-planned strategy here to take you from your childhood to your present position of
eminence. But of course it’s not at all like that. You do that because the last thing that
you want to do is to convey in your resume the actual chaos that you’ve been living through.
[ Laughter ]>>Ken Robinson: And the actual decisions
you’ve made all along the way. Now we are paying a very heavy price for this.
This failure to hold people to plumb the world within them. Currently, in the United States,
almost 10% of 14 to 19-year-olds are on drugs to treat attention deficit disorder, ADHD.
The people prescribing them will tell you, in some cases these are genuine instances;
in many cases it’s based on the quickest and most subjective of assessments. Our kids are
being drugged, often to get them through this education system in a way that’s unprecedented.
Nearly five and a half million children in America are on these drugs to get them to
focus on things which are presumably otherwise rather tedious for them.
And a minimum of a third of our kids who head to high school in America do not graduate.
It’s as high as 60% in some parts of the country. I was in Houston, Texas recently. I was told
by the superintendent, 60% of kids don’t graduate high school. That’s a catastrophic. In America,
where we are now, where I live, one in 31 Americans is in the correctional system. I
don’t mean to say if you drop out of school you end up in jail, of course not. But what
is true is very many people in the correctional system did not complete their education. Many
states are spending more money on the correctional system now while reducing it on the educational
system. And the other fact you might just dwell on is that a couple of years ago, sales
in America of anti-psychotic drugs that were previously only given to people who were in
mental care, sales of that category exceeded sales of anti-cholesterol drugs and drugs
for acid reflux. It’s now a $14 billion industry. If you wanted evidence that the world within
us is in bad shape, on a grand scale, I think they are just some of the examples that I
could give. So what I’m saying is if we’re serious about
exploring the world around us, we have to explore the world within us. We do that, as
Van Jones I thought said beautifully earlier, by looking again at the broad structure of
education, we need to restore arts programs, sports programs, we need to re-professionalize
the teaching profession. Above all, we have to personalize education to every child in
the system. We have the technology now for the first time in human history to do it.
The last thing that I just want to say is there was — there was a great thing on the
Onion, do you know that website? Yeah, about — we have to save the planet. I’m optimistic
that we have the powers within us to do it. But — but we have to attend to them. The
Onion’s were saying don’t worry about saving the planet. The planet will be fine. As we
saw at the very beginning of that fantastic image of the cosmos of the Milky Way, we are
a very small part of all of this. The earth has been around for four and a half billion
years. Human beings like us, showed up — I don’t mean like neanderthal creatures. I mean
like brutal people like us, with attractive profiles and a sense of irony.
[ Laughter ]>>Ken Robinson: We showed up probably less
than 100,000 years ago. If you think of the whole arc of the life span of the earth as
one year, human beings showed up less than a minute to midnight on the 31st of December.
So the Onion said, look, don’t worry about the planet, the planet is going to be fine.
It’s gone on for four and a half billion years left yet. We may not make it, you know. The
planet make conclude, you know, we tried humanity, not so good.
[ Laughter ]>>Ken Robinson: Not the idea we thought it
would be. We’re going back to bacteria. They had a fantastic run.
[ Laughter ]>>Ken Robinson: Don’t worry about the planet.
Worry about us. And what we can do to live harmoniously with it, as we saw from those
wonderful photographs of the arctic. I mean that picture of the slaughter of the dolphins
I think will live with all of us. We are despoiling the very planet on which we depend. We won’t,
I think, make a better job of it until we understand the depth of our own talent and
spiritual resources within us. When I ask you how intelligent you are, that’s the wrong
question. The real question is how are you intelligent. The question is not how creative
are you; it’s how are you creative. If we can flip our education to get to a better
sense of human capacity, then I think we’ll have a better chance of understanding and
making sense of the world within us and the world around us. By the way, there is a wonderful
quote from H.G. Wells, the science fiction writer in the early ’20s, he said, “Civilization
is a race between education and catastrophe.” Now, it may or may not be the case, but what
we do know is that — that the great bridge between the two worlds that we live in is
education. And I think that we have to rebuild it so we can build a bridge to the future,
thank you very much. [ Applause ]

Comments (55)

  1. Great speech.
    "and now we have the technology to make personnalised programm".
    Totally agree with this.

  2. The always inspiring Sir Ken Robinson delivers another important message. There are actually two parts of that message that resonate more profoundly with me here:
    – Our education system must do better at developing the very different creative and intellectual gifts of learners, in all their diversity.
    – Technology is offering us the possibility to personalize education, to help the talents of our learners flourish, if we realize that standardization of education is a disservice to us all.

  3. I have an interesting idea, that was provoked by Sir Ken's message on creative/intellectual talents. What if we are limited in our opportunities to expand our abilities because of cost, learning tracks & time. What I mean is when you are in K-12 you are told what to study and a time to complete it in. And in University if you are studying a particular major you are told what to study. World Mentoring Academy is a Free, self pace K-Grad School(1,000 courses) study whatever you have an interest in

  4. That was quite an extraordinary speech

  5. It's already happening.

    Search YouTube for Jenifer Fox's "Now Discover Strengths for Students" video.

    Jenifer was selected to lead a school that, to quote, "promises to be a national model for a personalized approach to help children achieve success not only in school, but in life."

    But you don't need to go to that school to benefit.

    Marcus Buckingham and his company, TMBC, have created many resources people can use.

    Jenifer also wrote a book called "Your Child's Strengths".

  6. However, I feel the real gem from Ken's talk was that our "inner worlds" have vast potential, and we can benefit greatly from exploring our respective inner world and tapping into that potential.

  7. That's awesome. But still it's just a patch on the system that should have been replaced long ago.There should be separate systems for socialization and acquiring skills.Government should have an institution to test for knowledge and skills.And when and how people acquire that knowledge is up to them. Government will just give money previously wasted on education system to those who pass tests.In result we will have a market,which will have a motivation to create the best education possible.

  8. 2) Tests should be very specialized, so people can choose what they like and need. That will make education less forced and teach people how to make choices from young age and give them a sense of freedom. Very specialized tests will make each step to seem quick n easy, and give a sense of freedom to try new and quit, without loosing much.
    It will remove social aspect from education in some cases, so there should be a separate system for socialization. IMHO it will be much better.

  9. Thanks Sir Ken Robinson!

  10. He's so right about Microsoft Word. I mean, he's right about the rest too, but Microsoft Word needs to brush up on its English.

  11. Brilliant, the West has used its energy developing the outer world sciences, the East has spent its energy developing the inner sciences, it's so inspiring to hear Ken Robinson addressing the inner world and spirituality as being core to a thriving humanity

  12. Suggestopedia is the cure he is looking for!

  13. Sir Ken, you still remain my favorite educational speaker! Thank you for inspiring and teaching me.


  14. Not so long ago, the idea of cultivating our inner world and spirituality was considered kind of like New Age bullshit. At present, every psychologist, doctor–and now educators, which I´m really pleased about–who want to get a real picture of what a human being actually is, talk about the inner world and sipirituality! It was about time!

  15. 8:48 that laughter in the background xD

  16. Sir Ken Robinson, what a delight to hear him delivering the most important message: How to educate ourselves getting out of the confusion of ideas and notions putting us down. Thank you, thank you, thank you….

  17. Love it, find it utterly inspirational and thought-provoking, however, the last section about saving the planet follows the structure of G. Carlin's one of earlier shows. No problem with it of course, but once you realize it, you can't get it out of your head 🙂

  18. I always thought that what Carlin said regarding the planet is surprinsingluy true, good to see Ken Robinson quoting him.

  19. Alguien que traduzca esto a español por favor!

  20. This speech almost made me cry. I sometimes wonder how it is that the educational system I have to go through to get the absurd piece of paper that says I am qualified expect me to accomplish mindless, uninteresting, meaningless tasks in the most standardized fashion and enjoy it. I'm neither stupid, lazy, depressed, I'm just bored out of my mind. I can think of so many better ways to evaluate what I have learned… and ways that would give my professors a much more pleasant time correcting.

  21. Both a friendly, yet scathing, critique of the status quo – and a reminder of what genuine education means in a time of exponential technological change. Inspiring on more than a few levels.

  22. I like lectures of Ser Ken Robinsons not just because he is essentially a very, very smart stand-up comedian but also that the comments below the videos are very, very smart, too.

  23. He's in his element 🙂

  24. I'd note Mr Robinson's ideas are quite inline with Mr Khan's ones, that talk about non-linear knowledge accumulation by the pupils.

  25. Great stuff….minus all that lip smacking!

  26. Deluded or clearly deranged?

  27. Yes, the self-elected so-called 'ruling class'.

    Long live liberty of anonymity ;

  28. Let us believe it is truly so! Kindly regards.

  29. I don't blame 'over population' for the world's pollution & resources crises, I blame the capitalist model & multi national corporations.


  31. Speaking on education, haven't we out grown evolution? Speaking on spiritual education. Its funny how some Believer's in Jesus will now call him Yeshua (Hebrew Name) and will take back the 66 books of the bible and allow history to provide the Truth of Scripture instead of religious sects. Yahweh nor Yeshua ever created a religion Yahweh made promises through convenants.

  32. Does anyone know the name of the person he quotes around the 12m mark: "There is the world that exists whether or not you exist and then there's the world that exists because you exist" ?

  33. Anyone know the name of the person he quotes ( Robert ??) when he talks about the world that exists whether or not we exist and the world that exists because we exist?

  34. Kind of reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce… There is no one type of spaghetti sauce that every single person in the world will enjoy. In the same way, there is no "one size fits all" education that works for everyone.

  35. And you just made me realize there's an interesting link between Malcolm Gladwell's amazing TED Talk and my latest video, Failing Superman. I submit this very humbly as I don't pretend to be as forward thinking as Mr. Gladwell who was already talking about this in 2004! But I try ;o). Let me know what you think!

  36. Great speech! Especially like that comparison of planet to us which George Carlin used once before. About where I would put myself on the scale of creativity and intelligence from 1-10 it would be always 5 and I wouldnt like to go below or above it. Being somewhere in the middle offers plenty of space for creativity to either grow or fall but both r balanced and feel good. If u fall from number 9 or 8 it quite hurts but from 5 its fine 😉

  37. The World We Explore- Sir Ken Robinson Zeitgeist Americas 2012

  38. I won the competition at freshers week umist 1986, 8.5 pints without going for a wee. ive since built robots but im proud of my bladder capacity.

  39. He is just right in all of his ideas, and I am an absolute fan of his talks! 

  40. Sir Ken has wonderful ideas for education and Jacque Fresco has the practical solutions to the rest of our global problems (which are technical). He's dedicated 85+ yrs designing a system to move us beyond politics, poverty, war by changing our center-of-gravity from money to the intelligent mgmnt o/t earth's resources. We must change the intention of how our science/tech is being used, which, let's face it, it's in very scary hands. Anyway, if you're really open to new paradigms visit thevenusproject dotcom to meet the continuation of ppl like DaVinci, Tesla & Bucky Fuller. From a 65 yr old gramma who feels a Resource Based Economy is one of those ideas "whose time has come"  Respect, Gramma D "^_^"

  41. Let's get the education revolution from YouTube to the classroom, check out our channel to see how you can help!

  42. Curious what peoples opinions are on a guy who is in his 30's, jack of all trades.  I am an artist, take car engines apart, and tinker with a whole lot of technology. I even have a 3d printer.   …but I work in the oil and gas industry.   I have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time.  I'm not a great leader, but I know good things before they happen.  I've made lots of money via my job, and the stock market, but need to focus on accomplishing one task at a time.     I don't like the idea of taking drugs like adderall, or whatever does the job, but I'm the type of guy that deals with millions of dollars and wants to accomplish things.  I've got several projects on the go.   Ideas?  

  43. F.oundation (for the) A.dvancement (of) T.echnology (and) E.ducation


    Thinking and working to combine the best education and the most current advancements of the technological world.

    Feel free to take that.. Free idea. 

    It makes no money unless it gets developed, anyway! 😉

  44. The over prescription of anti-psychotics has a clear cause, and it's unrelated to the content of his lecture.   It's a reflection of a mass avoidance of "potentially" "abusable" medications.   So most of those anti-psychotics are prescribed off-label, for their side-effects, to promote sleep or reduce anxiety.  This is far more dangerous than the avoided medications, which are directly targeted to those concerns, without flattening out a personality.   In addition this puritanical ideology is backed by tons of pharmaceutical money, which pushed people off older established drugs, to newer on patent drugs..

    summery, it's about money funding a self-interested ideology, and the medical establishment serving itself rather than it's individual patients.   O and it's not limited to this example, whats happening to pain patients is also horrific.

  45. He takes us to a different plane every time

  46. My teacher in university made me watch this and now I got aids.

  47. Inspiring and entertaining speaker always worth listening to.

  48. Amazing! Thank you so much.

  49. Sir Ken Robinson es brillante! Él recuerda a todos nosotros que somos creativos.

  50. He is not as funny as he thinks he is. This humour detracts from his message. People remember that they laughed but ask them what was important about what he said and that is something different.

  51. So essentially the education system is only allowing us to tap into a small fraction of our full potential. Bit concerning.

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