Satish Kumar talk

Satish Kumar featureBig grin and wave from Satish, and a big cheer from the audience.

Threesomes throughout the ages – Father, Son, Holy Spirit; mind, body, spirit; liberté, egalité, fraternité; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Satish comes with soil, soul and society. We come from and will return to the soil. We think we can control nature, but we are not nature’s rulers. We need to learn to revere nature because we are part of it – what James Lovelock calls Gaia. Sowing an apple seed in the soil is a ordertramadol much better investment than banking. Plant a tiny seed, and a tree generously bent with fruit will grow. And you don’t need a credit card to pick the apples!

Richard Dawkins says there is no such thing as soul or spirit, but everything has soul, and if we don’t care for the soul, we can’t care for the earth. “An artist is not a special kind of person, rather every person is a special kind of artist.” (Meister Eckhart) We have potential to be another Van Gogh, Shakespeare, or Gandhi. We need to look beyond the 9-5 office existence and take care of our souls.

We have been too focused on our own narrow identities and not enough on society. If Satish had walked on his peace pilgrimage as an Indian, he would have met a Pakistani. If he had walked as a socialist, he would have met a capitalist. But he walked without labels as a human being, and met other human beings. We need diversity, otherwise we will have no unity. But we need to avoid divisions – celebrate our diversity. Tourists always complain – laughter! Pilgrims celebrate. No more living as me me me me, my house, my job, my ego. Let’s be our true selves, and live on the earth as pilgrims. Earth is and you are, therefore I am. We are members of one earth community. That is society, and we are all members.

Soul, soil and society are three connected words in our interconnected world. Leadership is not going to come out of No.10 or the White House. We are all potential leaders, every one of us. Gandhi: “be the change you want to see in the world”. Speaking at TEDx is wonderful, but our words and our actions have to be consistent. So he gives us this new related trinity of soil, soul and society.


Jeanie Honey starts the introductions. “Welcome to the very first TEDx event in Exeter” gets a big cheer. Then Tom Dent emphasises the global phenomenon of TEDx – 700 organisers from over 90 nations in Doha, and the first TEDx talks in the Middle East. He met loads of inspirational people committed to making changes in their local communities. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. TEDx can empower you to make connections and work for a more sustainable world.

On your marks, get set…

Five minutes to go, and Holst’s Planet Suite is playing over the sound system. The theatre is practically full, which it should be, as the event was sold out 3 months in advance. There is an incredible buzz of excited conversation and almost palpable anticipation. Welcomes and introductions to kick us off, including two minutes of introduction to TEDx and Tom Dent, one of the team members, talking about his trip this week to the global get-together of TEDx organisers in Doha. Then Satish Kumar is our first speaker in the first session on The Big Picture…