Friday, May 28, 2010

It All Starts With an Idea:

“Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.”


This is a quote from the movie V for Vendetta; a testament to the potency of ideas. Ideas, ladies and gentlemen, are the basis of all occurrences in the material world. Indeed, actions speak louder than words. But without the thought, the action is worthless. We may call the 21st century the “Modern Age”, but the issues we face globally today are all but Ancient. For all our technical marvel and productive prowess, we remain unable to cure the common cold – let alone remedy world poverty.

It is on this note and in this age of supposed material accomplishment that I wish to pause, and remember the basis of progress: not a machine, a computer or just hard work, but ideas. The website,, is in my opinion a beacon of light in the forest of darkness that sometimes surrounds us. The fundamental denominator to many of the problems we face today, from disease to terrorism, is often simply ignorance. It is only with the enlightened spread of worthy ideas that the benighted can be wrenched from their predicament.

Bold words, perhaps, for just a website. But it reflects the magnitude of faith I have in the spread of beneficial ideas. It is of utmost importance, in today’s swamp of complex information, to have an outlet or avenue where pertinent information can be accessed on demand. provides this avenue, maintaining excellent quality in content by attracting the best in their fields, all the while offering variety in a myriad of topics, with over 700 “ted talks”.

I recall a day where I was overcome with the menial tasks of finishing problem sets and reviewing lectures. A day when meaning seemed to give way to form, a day when ends hid under the rocks of didactic means. And yet, Ted's wealth of inspiration and brilliance lay at the touch of a fingertip, at once projecting the passion of its speakers onto me. I would scarce run out of examples, were I to describe a few of the magnificent talks that have brightened up my day, ranging from poverty alleviation to computational complexity theory and molecular biology.

A wise friend once told me that an idea can change the world. In today's society, despite all its flaws, I can't help but spot a glimmer of hope, and dare think that perhaps....just perhaps, they were right.

- Misrab Faizullah -

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