For a long time in history, until not that long ago, our lives and those of our neighbours were fundamentally similar and the Other was easily defined, as someone or something coming from “the outside.” Then, over a very short period, everything changed. We now live in a World where Otherness is a quality encountered daily, in many forms and under many guises. Global travel and economic migration, a search for new meaning by millions of people and traditional conservatism by others, freedom of expression and deep anxiety about what the neighbours will think, all are as much manifestations as the causes of coming face to face with Otherness. We live longer, so the elderly are a visible, and growing part of society. We move easily, well the lucky ones among us do, so accents and skin colour of our neighbours cannot be taken for granted any more. Religious freedom and religious conservatism live in the same street. And as technology continues to drive the pace of change, it is its agent in all areas of our lives, very much including how we come up against, and deal with, “the Other.”
Our theme for TEDxWarsaw 2014 is “Embrace the Other.” Let’s start a conversation.