TEDx ADMU: Not another selfie?
MANILA, Philippines – The internet phenomena widely known as TEDx joined forces with Ateneo De Manila University's (ADMU) Ateneo Junior Marketing Association (AJMA) in an attempt to inspire young audiences to be catalysts for change. From selfies to selflessness, speakers dared to tackle the long-pressing philosophical question “What is the self?”
The event held Saturday, December 14 in ADMU's Henry Lee Irwin Theater featured 6 speakers from various fields who presented 15-minute motivational lectures on their life experiences and self-made success stories.
The selfie generation
“Is the selfie generation selfish?”
This was the central question of ADMU Fine Arts professor Fr. Rene Javellana to an audience who admitted in a raise of hands that they were guilty of the social media phenomena.
Citing art history, Javellana told the audience that the selfie is an evidence of man’s constant fascination with the self.
Javellana added that technology has allowed for a greater ease of defining one’s self, as compared to the past centuries where only the rich and the powerful would be allowed to document one’s self identity.
Sociologist Czarina Medina, however, said that selfies are a "waste of time" and that the ‘I’ is something greater.
“There is no such thing as ‘finding yourself’,” she said as she challenged the audience to define themselves. Medina continued that the projection of the 'I' is evidenced by the impact it has with the world.
Embracing one’s true self
Artist Jetro Rafael recalled his experience of coping with his sickness. As a child, Rafael said he saw people leave trails of colors when they walked. This subjected himself to ridicule from his peers.
Rafael was later on diagnosed with bipolar 1, a disorder that sent him into mad fits of depression that further distanced him from others. At the peek of depression, Rafael tried a new approach with his alleged insanity: he embraced it.
This led to the creation of ‘Van Gogh is bipolar,’ a restaurant Rafel founded with hopes of providing others like him a sanctuary to embrace their true self.
“Empowered ako na meron akong choice. Oo, clinically bipolar ako pero hindi yun excuse,” Rafael said. (I am empowered that I have a choice. Yes, I am clinically bipolar but that is not an excuse.)
Going beyond the "I"
The messages of the speakers encouraged self-empowerment and a call for action, especially in a modern world where technology and social media can be harnessed as tools for change.
Fashion icon Rajo Laurel challenged the audience to go beyond themselves by following and not letting their dreams go to waste.
Laurel recalled how he sold kittens he found and cleaned up to fellow classmates in the playground for P20. “Sell from the heart," he said. "Don’t be afraid to fail."
Laurel also told the audience to always heed the advice of their parents.
“I am grateful that my father pushed me to finish my business degree because I feel like my business background has made me a better designer," he added.
Rags2Riches co-owner Reese Fernandez also emphasized the importance of being persistent with dreams.
“Have a ‘why’ that endures and later on you’ll figure out the how," she concluded.
TEDx videos from other parts of the world with the theme of defining one’s self were also given spotlight in the program. Among these videos were Adam Leipzig’s “How to know your life purpose in 5 minutes” and Thandie Newton’s “Embracing otherness, embracing myself."
The videos from TEDx ADMU will be available online following the event. For more information, browse through TEDx ADMU's official facebook page. Official hashtags for the event are #ProjectI and #TEDxADMU.