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X Marks the Spot: Questions of trust in this week’s TEDx talks

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Ivan Krastev's TED Book and talk from TEDGlobal 2012 are both about trust. It's a theme that rings true with this week's TEDx talks. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Ivan Krastev’s TED Book and talk from TEDGlobal 2012 are both about trust. It’s a theme that rings true with this week’s TEDx talks. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Ivan Krastev’s TED book asks probing and difficult questions about democracy in societies that do not trust their leaders. For example, while Americans cling to the belief that democray represents the highest form of political organization, they also rate members of Congress amongst the least trusted professions. In his book In Mistrust We Trust, Krastev asks: can democracy survive?

The theme of trust runs through this week’s TEDx highlights. Can we trust that students are paying for an education and not a degree? Can we trust history? Can we trust ourselves to find the courage to deal with life’s difficulties? These are some of the questions addressed in these four TEDx talks, highlighting just a few of the enlightening speakers from the TEDx community and its diverse constellation of ideas.

Love in a shoe box: Verna St. Rose Greaves at TEDxPortofSpain
At TEDxPortofSpain, Verna St. Rose Greaves shares a remarkable story of determination and survival from when she was 12 years old — her mother rescuing her prematurely born niece by keeping her alive in a shoebox. She challenges us to find that kind of courage in ourselves and take action to fight modern poverty.

Less trust, more trustworthiness: Baroness Onora O’Neill at TEDxHousesofParliament
Between the financial crises, global unrest and the precarious nature of personal privacy it seems that trust is declining. But that, according to Onora O’Neill, may not be true and — even if it were — may not be a problem. In this understated and rich talk, Baroness O’Neill breaks down our assumptions about the value of trust, asking us instead to focus on trustworthiness and the vulnerability it takes to earn it.

History’s selective memory: Ray Raphael at TEDxEureka
How do we decide which stories from history to tell? Ray Raphael says, by creating a suitable, sometimes easy,narrative. At TEDxEureka, Raphael uses the American Revolution to show how this narrative might not be as accurate as we think, and asks that as gatekeepers of the past, we become aware of how easily our narratives can be manipulated.

A full education, beyond the degree: David Helfand at TEDxWestVancouverED
Students are buying degrees, not educations, says Dr. David Helfand. At TEDxWestVancouverED, Helfand suggests a radical overhaul of the modern university, including interdepartmental cooperation, holistic curricula, and interactive lectures to create degree programs that will provide undergraduates with more than just a diploma — an education to serve them in whatever they decide to pursue.

Below, some highlights from the TEDx blog this week: