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Speaking at TEDx Paris 2011

Speaking at TEDx Paris came as a new challenge for me. How could I share the post monetary society vision in 12 minutes? TED even asks for much more than saying it all in a short amount of time. You don’t want to share only concepts and views, speakers have to manifest their emotional intelligence, balance the right and left brain, share about their personal journey…  Whatever the outcome, I saw it as a wonderful invitation to grow, to refine my expression, to help me find unknown paths inside myself. An initiatory journey that I took joyfully, surrounded and coached by the wonderful founders of TEDx Paris. Their feedback felt always accurate and benevolent.

I had to carefully select what I should say and not say. Each milestone in the discourse had to come in a precise time, not spoken by heart, but from the heart.

It came obvious that:

  • I should not try to explain the post-monetary society, but rather drop small seeds of curiosity. With the right seeds people can feel the importance of what they hear, even if the rational mind doesn’t understand the whole thing. Something more profound, more important, reaches a deeper inner knowing, often unconscious, but universally present in each human being.
  • I had to go beyond complementary currencies to reach free currencies, even if 95% of the audience wouldn’t follow me there.

This last point requires an explanation.

People usually understand complementary currencies well enough. Several reasons to this… First, as the name suggests, complementary currencies “complement” our monetary system, therefore we remain in the same paradigm even though the idea of using other units to account our exchanges provokes a huge quantum and emotional leap for many people. Furthermore, in their paradigm, free currencies remain monolithic –one currency at a time– and tied to the conventional market economy (immediate reciprocity/symmetry: I give you something, you give me currency in return). Given that people have only lived in market economy since childhood, they have no other reference point, anything else looks abstract.

Free currencies play plural. They work by constellations, they can do more than just exchanging things, they work beyond market economies (gift economies for instance), they bind flows of wealth together to build upward spirals. In short, if one hasn’t really played with free currencies, this looks meaningless just like the Internet looked for the large public back in the early 90’s. In these times, no conference could have helped understand today’s reality. Same thing with free currencies. It needs people to play in order to realize the obviousness and simplicity of it. So, the paradigm shift happens in free currencies, not in complementary currencies. I made it the final destination for the TEDx conference. 12 minutes to reach this summit felt like a risky experience. I took the risk to have a good part of the room not following me, to look too abstract, theoretical and incomplete. But I hope this conference would allow some seeds to find fertile soil. I think it did.

Years later I continue to receive lot’s of feedback. TEDx Paris gives the speakers a high visibility in the media. I receive lot’s of emails from individuals who want to understand better or take action, and from companies that would like to work with me on this project, or from medias for an interview.

Nevertheless I do have mixed feelings in regards to my talk. But here comes the gift: I learned how to do better next time. 🙂

Thanks again to TEDx organizers, and to all the volunteers who joyfully gave their time and energy.



There are 4 comments on this post
  1. January 27, 2011, 7:43 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by marc tirel, Jean-François Noubel. Jean-François Noubel said: My experience at #TEDxParis 2011 on #freecurrencies http://bit.ly/fwCzmV […]

  2. January 28, 2011, 3:25 am

    “only after trying them out that people realize how obvious and simple it is.”

    Jct: Of course, only after trying their own poker chips do people realize how obvious and simple it is to bank our own game and save all the interest we now pay our banks to create our chips when we could have created our own all along. My first political poem:
    Why represent our collateral with their chips for a fee,
    When we can represent our wealth with our chips for free?
    I’m going to do a video report on this, for sure. And I haven’t even watched it yet.
    But if he thinks free currencies are a paradigm shift, I wonder what he’ll think of the UNILETS Millennium Declaration C6 for an interest-free time-based global currency?

  3. January 30, 2011, 12:48 pm

    Bravo JF ! en 12 mn tu as initié le public aux monnaies libres de façon d’abord ludique, puis plus technique pour finir sur ton rêve, celui d’une économie du don… Je suis depuis longtemps les conférences TED, avant la création des TEDx d’ailleurs. Ta prestation était tout à fait dans la lignée de TED. Je serai ravie aussi de te revoir ou de t’entendre à l’occasion.
    Just one breath away

  4. April 17, 2011, 1:46 pm

    Very exciting vision and inspirational presentation.
    It becomes unavoidable not to begin to realize the simplicity and difficulty
    in breaking old patterns of thoughts and habitual ways of living, to create new and better ones for the future.
    From a reality full of possibilities, we allowed ourselves to not have such a freedom of imagination.
    An Invisible prison of the creative mind….
    Your talk made me think of a movie scene where someone told a prisoner :
    “You are more free inn here, than those out there, because your mind is free”
    Looking very much forward to see your vision develop as you step into the future.
    Thank you : )

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