TED2008: Day 1 in Quotes

“Who are we? We’re just an upright, walking, big-brained, super-intelligent ape. ” – Paleontologist Louise Leakey

“The first thing we do when we’re born is we breathe in, and we cry. And the last thing we do when we die is we breathe out, and other people cry.” – Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, before leading an exercise in breathing and meditation

“Western science is a major response to minor needs.” – Wade Davis quoting Mattheiu Ricard

“Why do I believe that it is transformative? It enables you to experience the universe. You can tour it, with astronomers as your guides. It will enable a new generation of stories and storytellers.” – Astronomer Roy Gould, while previewing Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope

“I think it is quite likely that we are the only intelligent civilization within several hundred light years” – Stephen Hawking

“I’m not blaming anyone. This is just who we are right now”. – Photographer Chris Jordan, whose large-format works illustrate statistics of modern life, like the 40 million paper cups used by Americans every day

“You go in as an individual, but emerge as a community which reaffirms its sense of place on the planet.” – Wade Davis, describing a traditional run through the Peruvian mountains, taking in peaks of 11,000 and 15,000 feet in 36 hours

“It’s as if my consciousness had shifted away. I could no longer define the boundaries of my body. Then I realize: I’m having a stroke. And my left hemisphere tells me: Wow, this is so cool; how many brain scientists have the chance to study that from the inside?” — Jill Taylor

“Before the Web, there was just one guy running around saying ‘I KNOW!'” – Robin Williams, ad-libbing, after taking the stage during a technical problem in the BBC World Debate