View Talk: “An Experiment in Collective Intelligence

TJ Dawe, 2013 —

Five quick questions

tj-daweTJ Dawe writes, performs, directs, and creates new theatre pieces. Based in Vancouver, he’s been touring theatre and comedy festivals in Canada and the US for thirteen years, with no signs of slowing down. He has six published plays and a humour book. He perpetually juggles a dozen or so new projects, and blogs a lot at beamsandstruts.com—a magazine for hungry brains and thirsty souls. TEDxManitoba is thrilled to announce that he’ll be speaking at our 2012 event.

What motivates you?

Intuitive leaps motivate me: that moment when the synapses fire and one thing connects with another (or with a whole bunch of other things). I stop what I’m doing, my eyes widen, and I think “I’ve got to get this out there.”

What do you do for a living and why?

I explore ideas and share them with people. For the past decade or so this has meant writing and performing one-person shows, standing on a stage, tellings audiences autobiographical stories and related thoughts. Now I also co-edit and write for a group blog. I’m screenwriting and creating plays. I do all of this because it’s satisfying. There’s nothing like presenting people with what you’ve created, and having them get it, and respond. A room full of strangers becomes a single person.

Which TED talk do you think everyone should watch?

Clay Shirky’s Cognitive surplus will change the world

Why are you excited to speak at TEDxManitoba?

I’ve been touring Canadian theatre festivals for more than a decade. I’ve yet to find more receptive audiences than the ones I’ve had in Winnipeg, year after year. I see TEDxManitoba as a more compact and ideas-based version of the Winnipeg Fringe. Participating in an event that’s all about exchanging information is an incredibly thrilling prospect to me. We have a great deal to gain from turning each other on to new thoughts and connections. As Pete Seeger said (I’m paraphrasing), when people get together, their ideas multiply exponentially.

What is your idea worth spreading?

How smart are you? How smart are we as a culture? How much can your brain juggle? Are we getting smarter or dumber? We have the capacity to wrap our brains around increasing levels of complexity. It takes effort, but we can do it, and it’s easier than most of us assume. And technology can help. It can also dumb us down. But it’s our choice whether we let it sweep us into complacency or use it as a ladder.

An Idea Worth Spreading

We have the capacity to wrap our brains around increasing levels of complexity. It takes effort, but we can do it, and it’s easier than most of us assume. And technology can help. It can also dumb us down. But it’s our choice whether we let it sweep us into complacency or use it as a ladder.