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  • Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome Mr Tim Minchin

  • (applause)

  • In darker days I did a corporate gig at a conference for this big company who made and

  • sold accounting software in a bid, I presumed, to inspire their salespeople to greater heights.

  • They'd forked out 12 grand for an inspirational speaker who was this extreme sports guy who

  • had had a couple of his limbs frozen off when he got stuck on a ledge on some mountain.

  • It was weird.

  • Software salespeople I think need to hear from someone who has had a long successful

  • career in software sales not from an overly optimistic ex-mountaineer.

  • Some poor guy who had arrived in the morning hoping to learn about sales techniques ended

  • up going home worried about the blood flow to his extremities. It's not inspirational,

  • it's confusing. And if the mountain was meant to be a symbol of life's challenges and the

  • loss of limbs a metaphor for sacrifice, the software guy is not going to get it, is he?

  • Because he didn't do an Arts degree, did he? He should have.

  • Arts degrees are awesome and they help you find meaning where there is none. And let

  • me assure you there is none. Don't go looking for it. Searching for meaning is like searching

  • for a rhymes scheme in a cookbook. You won't find it and it will bugger up your soufflé.

  • If you didn't like that metaphor you won't like the rest of it.

  • Point being I'm not an inspirational speaker. Iíve never ever lost a limb on a mountainside

  • metaphorically or otherwise and I'm certainly not going to give career advice because, well

  • I've never really had what most would consider a job. However I have had large groups of

  • people listening to what I say for quite a few years now and itís given me an inflated

  • sense of self importance.

  • So I will now, at the ripe old age of 37-point-nine, bestow upon you nine life lessons to echo

  • of course the nine lessons of carols of the traditional Christmas service, which is also

  • pretty obscure.

  • You might find some of this stuff inspiring. You will definitely find some of it boring

  • and you will definitely forget all of it within a week. And be warned there will be lots of

  • similes and obscure aphorisms which start well but end up making no sense. So listen

  • up or you'll get lost like a blind man clapping in a pharmacy trying to echo-locate the

  • contact lens fluid.

  • (audience laughs) - Looking for my old poetry teacher.

  • Here we go, ready?

  • One: You don't have to have a dream. Americans on talent shows always talk about their dreams.

  • Fine if you have something you've always wanted to do, dreamed of, like in your heart,

  • go for it. After all it's something to do with your time, chasing a dream. And if it's

  • a big enough one it'll take you most of your life to achieve so by the time you get to

  • it and are staring into the abyss of the meaningless of your achievement you'll be almost dead

  • so it won't matter.

  • I never really had one of these dreams and so I advocate passionate, dedication to the

  • pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on

  • whatever is in front of you. You never know where you might end up. Just be aware the

  • next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery, which is why you should be

  • careful of long-term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you you won't see the

  • shiny thing out the corner of your eye. Right? Good! Advice metaphor - look at me go.

  • Two: Don't seek happiness. Happiness is like an orgasm. If you think about it too much

  • it goes away. (audience laughs) Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy and you

  • might find you get some as a side effect. We didn't evolve to be constantly content.

  • Contented Homo erectus got eaten before passing on their genes.

  • Three: Remember it's all luck. You are lucky to be here. You are incalculably lucky to

  • be born and incredibly lucky to be brought up by a nice family who encouraged you to

  • go to uni. Or if you were born into a horrible family that's unlucky and you have my sympathy

  • but you are still lucky. Lucky that you happen to be made of the sort of DNA that went on

  • to make the sort of brain which when placed in a horrible child environment would make

  • decisions that meant you ended up eventually graduated uni. Well done you for dragging

  • yourself up by your shoelaces. But you were lucky. You didn't create the bit of you that

  • dragged you up. They're not even your shoelaces.

  • I suppose I worked hard to achieve whatever dubious achievements I've achieved but I

  • didn't make the bit of me that works hard any more than I made the bit of me that ate

  • too many burgers instead of attending lectures when I was here at UWA. Understanding that

  • you can't truly take credit for your successes nor truly blame others for their failures

  • will humble you and make you more compassionate. Empathy is intuitive. It is also something

  • you can work on intellectually.

  • Four: Exercise. I'm sorry you pasty, pale, smoking philosophy grads arching your eyebrows

  • into a Cartesian curve as you watch the human movement mob winding their way through the

  • miniature traffic cones of their existence. You are wrong and they are right. Well you're

  • half right. You think therefore you are but also you jog therefore you sleep therefore

  • you're not overwhelmed by existential angst. You can't be can't and you don't want to

  • be. Play a sport. Do yoga, pump iron, and run, whatever but take care of your body,

  • you're going to need it. Most of you mob are going to live to nearly 100 and even the

  • poorest of you will achieve a level of wealth that most humans throughout history could

  • not have dreamed of. And this long, luxurious life ahead of you is going to make you depressed.

  • (audience laughs) But don't despair. There is correlation between depression and exercise.

  • Do it! Run, my beautiful intellectuals run.

  • Five: Be hard on your opinions. A famous bon mot asserts opinions are like assholes in

  • that everyone has one. There is great wisdom in this but I would add that opinions differ

  • significantly from assholes in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined.

  • (audience laughs) I used to do exams in here (audience laughs) - It's revenge.

  • We must think critically and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs.

  • Take them out onto the verandah and hit them with a cricket bat. Be intellectually rigorous.

  • Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privileges. Most of society is kept alive

  • by a failure to acknowledge nuance. We tend to generate false dichotomies and then try

  • to argue one point using two entirely different sets of assumptions. Like two tennis players

  • trying to win a match by hitting beautifully executed shots from either end of separate

  • tennis courts.

  • By the way, while I have science and arts graduates in front of me please don't make

  • the mistake of thinking the arts and sciences are at odds with one another. That is a recent,

  • stupid and damaging idea. You donít have to be unscientific to make beautiful art,

  • to write beautiful things. If you need proof - Twain, Douglas Adams, Vonnegut, McEwan,

  • Sagan and Shakespeare, Dickens for a start. You don't need to be superstitious to be

  • a poet. You don't need to hate GM technology to care about the beauty of the planet. You

  • don't have to claim a soul to promote compassion. Science is not a body of knowledge nor a belief

  • system it's just a term which describes human kinds' incremental acquisition of understanding

  • through observation. Science is awesome! The arts and sciences need to work together to

  • improve how knowledge is communicated. The idea that many Australians including our new

  • PM and my distant cousin Nick Minchin believe that the science of anthropogenic global warming

  • is controversial is a powerful indicator of the extent of our failure to communicate.

  • The fact that 30 percent of the people just bristled is further evidence still. (audience

  • laughs) The fact that that bristling is more to do with politics than science is even more

  • despairing.

  • Six: Be a teacher! Please! Please! Please be a teacher. Teachers are the most admirable

  • and important people in the world. You don't have to do it forever but if you're in doubt

  • about what to do be an amazing teacher. Just for your 20s be a teacher. Be a primary school

  • teacher. Especially if you're a bloke. We need male primary school teachers. Even if

  • you're not a teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don't take for granted your education.

  • Rejoice in what you learn and spray it.

  • Seven: Define yourself by what you love. I found myself doing this thing a bit recently

  • where if someone asks me what sort of music I like I say. Well I don't listen to the

  • radio because pop song lyrics annoy me, or if someone asks me what food I like I say,

  • I think truffle oil is overused and slightly obnoxious. And I see it all the time online

  • - people whose idea of being part of a subculture is to hate Coldplay or football or feminists

  • or the Liberal Party.

  • We have a tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff. As a comedian I make

  • my living out of it. But try to also express your passion for things you love. Be demonstrative

  • and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank you cards and give standing ovations.

  • Be pro stuff not just anti stuff.

  • Eight: Respect people with less power than you. I have in the past made important decisions

  • about people I work with agents and producers - big decisions based largely on how they

  • treat the wait staff in the restaurants we're having the meeting in. I don't care if you're

  • the most powerful cat in the room, I will judge you on how you treat the least powerful.

  • So there!

  • Nine: Finally, don't rush. You don't need to know what you're going to do with the

  • rest of your life. I'm not saying sit around smoking cones all day but also don't panic!

  • Most people I know who were sure of their career path at 20 are having mid-life crises

  • now.

  • I said at the beginning of this ramble, which is already three-and-a-half minutes long,

  • life is meaningless. It was not a flippant assertion. I think itís absurd the idea of

  • seeking meaning in the set of circumstances that happens to exist after 13.8 billion years

  • worth of unguided events. Leave it to humans to think the universe has a purpose for them.

  • However I'm no nihilist. I'm not even a cynic. I am actually rather romantic and hereís

  • my idea of romance: you will soon be dead. Life will sometimes seem long and tough and

  • God it's tiring. And you will sometimes be happy and sometimes sad and then you'll be

  • old and then youíll be dead. There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence

  • and that is fill it. Not fillet. Fill it. And in my opinion, until I change it, life

  • is best filled by learning as much as you can about as much as you can. Taking pride

  • in whatever you're doing. Having compassion, sharing ideas, running, being enthusiastic

  • and then there's love and travel and wine and sex and art and kids and giving and mountain

  • climbing, but you know all that stuff already. Itís an incredibly exciting thing this one

  • meaningless life of yours. Good luck and thank you for indulging me.

Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome Mr Tim Minchin

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Tim Minchin 2013年UWA演講 (Tim Minchin UWA Address 2013)

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    jenny 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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