- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The TED2017 conference managed to secure a well-known speaker with a regular audience of 1.2 billion Catholics — Pope Francis.

Attendees at TED’s “The Future You” conference in Vancouver on Tuesday night watched as the pope addressed three key topics from the Vatican. The head of the Catholic Church urged people to see how interconnected they are to one another, recognize the promises and pitfalls of technological progress, and to participate in “the revolution of tenderness.”

“The more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly,” the pope said. “If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other. There is a saying in Argentina: ‘Power is like drinking gin on an empty stomach.’ You feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you will end up hurting yourself and those around you, if you don’t connect your power with humility and tenderness. Through humility and concrete love, on the other hand, power — the highest, the strongest one — becomes a service, a force for good.

The 80-year-old also warned individuals not to consider themselves a island, an idea explored in Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s 1955 book “No Man is an Island.”

“I would love it if this meeting could help to remind us that we 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,” the pope said. “We don’t think about it often, but everything is connected, and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state. Even the harsh judgment I hold in my heart against my brother or my sister, the open wound that was never cured, the offense that was never forgiven, the rancor that is only going to hurt me, are all instances of a fight that I carry within me, a flare deep in my heart that needs to be extinguished before it goes up in flames, leaving only ashes behind.”

Francis’ speech closed with the assertion that “the future of humankind isn’t exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies.” Instead, he said the future rests on those “who recognize the other as a ‘you’ and themselves as part of an ‘us.’ “

Bruno Giussani, TED’s international curator, who convinced the pope to give the talk, told CNN on Wednesday that Francis is perhaps “the only moral voice capable of reaching people across boundaries and providing clarity and a compelling message of hope.”

TED2017’s “The Future You” conference ends Friday.

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