What do you believe?
Ken Adelman is currently vice-president of Movers and Shakespeares, which conducts executive training through leadership lessons from Shakespeare. Ambassador Adelman began teaching Shakespeare in 1977 at Georgetown University, and later with honors students at George Washington University.
During the Reagan Administration, Ken Adelman was an Ambassador to the United Nations and then Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, accompanying President Reagan on his superpower summits with Mikhail Gorbachev.
Adelman was a philosophy major at Grinnell College and then attended Georgetown University, where he received a Masters in Foreign Service Studies and Doctorate in Political Theory.
He is the author of five books -- including co-author of Shakespeare in Charge -- and hundreds of articles, was for 20 years national editor of Washingtonian magazine, and for six years a member of the Defense Policy Board.
While living in Africa from 1972 to 1975, Adelman translated for Mohammed Ali during “The Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight championship fight in Zaire, and participated in the Zaire River Expedition, venturing down the Congo River on the 100th Anniversary of Stanley’s exploration.
Ken Adelman: I think that it’s more of a Greek philosophy that you have a . . .You have a lot in life. And Aristotle taught us that you take your. . . and you kind of realize where it is, and you try to fill it up as much as you can. And Aristotle also taught a very good lesson, that people like naturally . . . there’s something inherent about human beings about wanting to perfect whatever you do. And he tries to understand why this is, but he doesn’t get at it. And he says, “It’s clear. People like to perfect what they do.”
Now the second is far more . . . even more insightful. And that is people like to perfect complicated subjects more than easy subjects. So in a very simple analogy, no one becomes a fanatic on checkers. I’ve never seen somebody say, “Oh my gosh. I love checkers. I just think of checkers all the time.” It’s a simple game. But chess, you find lots of fanatics in chess. Their whole life revolves around chess. Why? Because chess is complicated. And so there you . . . to perfect it, it takes a lot of effort. So I think that there is a great attraction to taking something hard like Shakespeare, or like understanding the arts, and try to perfect that rather than take something simple and perfecting that. That’s why musicians are so stretched because, you know, it’s very hard to be a very good musician. Anybody in the arts has stressed a lot . . . stretched a lot because it’s complicated. And Aristotle would tell you that’s what makes it so much fun. And it makes it very frustrating because there’s not much margin for error.
Recorded on: 7/2/07
People want to perfect complex subjects more than easy subjects.
The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.
- The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
- Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
- Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.
- Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
- Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
- It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.
- Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
- The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
- The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.