The Khan Academy
Salman Khan – Commencement Address At MIT (2012)
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[Salman Khan - Commencement Address At MIT (2012)]
[Intro] Source: LYBIO.net
It’s now my honor to introduce our Commencement Day speaker. The founder of the online education phenomenon known the Khan Academy, Sal Khan. Sal earned three degrees from MIT. A Bachelor’s in mathematics, as well as a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science rounding out his education with a MBA from Harvard. Sal began his career as a hedge fund analyst. Within a few years, however, he discovered quite by accident what has become his calling. Through preparing video tutorials to help his young cousin learn math, he came to understand his own gifts as a teacher and a great gift that he can give to the world by creating an online library of thousands of free bite-size videos that would shed light on any topic he chose from geometry to the GED. Today, the Khan Academy channel on YouTube has more than 300,000 subscribers and has delivered more than 156,000,000 lessons and has for millions of students, replaced bafflement with understanding. For launching this revolutionary experiment in online learning in the year 2012, Time Magazine names Sal Khan as one of the hundred most influential people on the planet. This is not the first time that Sal has spoken from the commencement stage here in Killian Court because he also served as president of his class. In 1998 addressing his fellow graduates Sal said and I quote: “It is not exaggeration to say that we will change the world.” End quote. Having checked this assignment off his off to do list, he joins us here today. Ladies and gentlemen, Salman Khan.
[Salman Amin 'Sal' Khan (à¦¸à¦¾à¦²à¦®à¦¾à¦¨ à¦–à¦¾à¦¨)] Source: LYBIO.net
Wow – This is really a a a surreal, a deep honor to be here for – for a whole set of reasons. As was introduced, MIT has obviously played a big role in my own life and I think a much deeper role than than many of youâ€™ll might appreciate.
Some of you might remember in the late nineties kind of when the first internet boom was happening, there was a lot of talk about about online education. And most of the conversation back then about online education, actually not too different from now, was around about how to profit off of it, how to make money off of it, OR as some institutions were thinking, about how to defend against it or at least sit on the sidelines and see how everything played out.
And all of a sudden MIT jumped into the mix in 2001, and announced MIT OpenCourseWare ÂÂâ€” that it was going to take knowledge and resources that used to be behind the walls of elite institutions and not charge for them but give them away for free to the world.
And instead of saying â€œhow can we profit off of this?â€ MIT said, well there are some things that are higher than that.
There are some things that if we could empower in an unlimited number of people for all of time, maybe, thatâ€™s something that we would be willing to spend resources on. And when that happened, I was just a couple years out of college, working at a tech company in San Francisco, I had no idea that my own career adventure would lead to what Iâ€™m doing now, but when I read that press release, I had never been so inspired; I had never felt so proud to come from this community. And frankly a couple years later when it became clear that the videos I had made for my cousins were not only being watched by my cousins, there was talk of, â€œWell, this could be a business.â€
I was in Silicon valley, and this is what it was all about. I worked for a hedge fund, a very – for profit organization, but it was the memory of how I felt the first time I read that press release about what OpenCourseWare had become that really gave me the frankly, the clarity to understand what Khan academy could be. It could be this institution that could reach everyone and transcend ideas of profits and businesses. And I say this not just to show the connection it had for Khan Academy, but thereâ€™s also a kind of meta-level idea here. These days you hear a lot of universities and institutions talk about teaching ethics and morality, taking classes on it, telling you to read about it, but MIT actually did it. MIT actually lived by its actions, it actually put principle over profit. And itâ€™s continuing to do it, with MITx, now with EdX in concert with Harvard. Itâ€™s continuing to push the envelope, and Iâ€™m just in awe of – It feels like weâ€™re living in a science fiction book of what might happen in education in the next few years.
But my connections to MIT go even deeper than that. Obviously I went here, but my wife also graduated from MIT, class of 2001. The president of Khan academy, and chief operating officer, he was my roommate freshman year at Next House (room 343 for the two or three of you that might have shared that room at some point). One of our board members went to MIT, and his wife went to MIT. And so – and Iâ€™m just starting; thatâ€™s a small sample of all the people we know at MIT, but maybe even more surprising is that of the people we know from MIT now, 90% of them are married to each other.
And anytime you have this type of love come from one place, I think one should introspect, as romantic as the infinite corridor may be. And ah and you know Iâ€™ve seen such extreme coupling here that Iâ€™ve suspected this whole place might be a front for some type of DARPA-funded breeding project (someone knows whatâ€™s going on up here – that’s what what).
But there are simpler explanations, and I think the most obvious one, and at least the one most clear to me, is that the admissions office here, at both the undergraduate and graduate level, seems to have a somewhat unhealthy bias for only admitting extremely attractive people (youâ€™re welcome, thought that would go over well). Source: LYBIO.net
The ah – But I think it goes even deeper than that. As long as I could remember, to anyone who would listen to me, I’ve told people that MIT is the closest thing on this planet Earth to Hogwarts, to Harry Potterâ€™s wizarding school. That the – the ideas and research and the science that percolate behind these walls â€” thatâ€™s the closest thing to magic in the real world, and frankly, to people outside this campus it looks like magic. The faculty we have these are the leading wizards of our time, the Dumbledores and McGonagalls (I guess, President Hockfield, you would be McGonagall). The halls here they have secret passages and tunnels, and around every corner there are strange and bizarre magical objects and creatures, some of whom may finish their thesis this decade. Maybe a few in the audience.
When weâ€™re in Killian court, itâ€™s almost a shrine when you look at the names around us. You see Newton and Darwin and Gallileo and and and Archimedes and these are the great wizards of history. And they they remind us that we have inherited an ancient tradition, an ancient art onr that for much of history and even today to some degree, has been sometimes vilified or suppressed by forces of ignorance. But, despite that, has always shone through and has been, at least in my mind, the prime cause of human advancement.
The people who come here, the students who come here, you, thereâ€™s these young people all over the world from every walk of life, who are all off the charts in some special way for this kind of magic that goes on here. Some come from affluent, rich, educated families; cause some of you come from poor families where youâ€™re the first to get a college degree; some come from environments where their gifts are really celebrated; some come from environments where frankly most for of their life, they had to hide their passions, their gifts, for fear of looking different. But they come here, suspecting that this might be a place where they can spread their wings: where they can – where they can explore the world, where they can finally look with clarity at the mysteries of the universe, at the magic of everything that surrounds us.
MIT, I think, delivers on that. It opens our minds to whatâ€™s possible and even more uniquely, it pushes us. I do believe that MIT pushes us harder than probably any other institution in the world. But when you do that, you take someone to another level, you take them truly recognize what theyâ€™re capable of.
And I think that thereâ€™s another side-effect owing to why thereâ€™s so much love here. When you have people, regardless of what they look like superficially, or where they come from, they have that same core desire to understand the universe; they all have that same core desire to push humanity forward. And you bring them all together to a community like this, and then you push them, in a frankly, a very intense environment. You cry together, you laugh together, you procrastinate together, you – you – you have sleepless nights together, you wander the halls together. It creates the deepest possible bond. Itâ€™s like people who have fought in wars together; they have a shared experience that other people might not understand or even comprehend.
And because of that, the rest of your life, you will feel connected to other MIT people. And youâ€™ll want to be around them and youâ€™ll seek them out. And if youâ€™re in kind of a mixed group of people and you hear someone not from MIT talk about how impossible something is, how hard something is, how difficult something is, youâ€™ll seek out the other MIT person in the room and catch a glance and youâ€™ll both share a little smirk. And while youâ€™re doing that smirk, if they are your preferred gender, you might see a certain twinkle in their eye and realize that you are irresistibly attracted to them.
So coming here, it really does feels like Iâ€™ve come to a family, a family that Iâ€™m deeply connected to, a family that I truly love, and I hope to just give you some appreciation for the potential you guys are about to leave with. And when I said that 14 years ago at my commencement, you know it was kind of an idea on paper, but now Iâ€™ve seen what my peers in my class above and below me have done and itâ€™s really been nothing short of amazing.
And with that, I want to give you a sense of internal strength and happiness, and not just because I care about you and I want you to be happy person, but because I believe in order for you to really reach your potential, you really have to be centered and have a place to go when things get a little bit tough. And you should take all of this with a grain of salt, Iâ€™m not a lot older than most of you; I — view me as your older brother or cousin or whatever. What Iâ€™m about to say, these are things I still try to live by, but Iâ€™m at least as imperfect as any of you guys; these are things that when I have been able to do it, Iâ€™ve found work quite well.
The first is to be just as incredibly and maybe even as delusionally positive as possible. Itâ€™s a very cynical place out there sometimes and that cynicism will eat at your energy and eat at your potential. And to fight it, you should smile with every – every atom in your body, you should smile first thing in the morning, you should even, this is something that I actually do if Iâ€™m in a bad mood, force yourself to smile. It releases things in your brain. You should smile with your eyes, your mouth, your face, your body, at every living and non-living thing that you see. You should recognize that the grass is greener on your side of the fence and even in the 1% chance that itâ€™s not, just convincing yourself that itâ€™s greener will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you find yourself, in your life, in an argument with someone whom you respect, whom you care deeply about, that’s a time – itâ€™s not an easy thing to do, but try to surrender your ego to the shared identity of the relationship that you have with that person. If possible, do exactly the opposite of what your pride and ego tell you in the heat of battle. And if you have the strength to do it, right when youâ€™re about to get in that last word and youâ€™re about to say that kind of maybe vindictive or below the belt thing, just pause, donâ€™t do anything, and try to just give them a super-mega hug.
Recognize that material loss or gain we’ll all have it, but when it happens be upset a little bit or be happy a little bit, but keep it all in perspective. Theyâ€™re all silly relative to the things that matter: your health and your relationships. As much as possible, try to make people feel like youâ€™re listening to them. And I have a secret here, the best way to make people feel that youâ€™re listening to them is to listen to them.
When youâ€™re stressed, and there will be times of stress in your life, just look up at the night sky and imagine the scale of the universe, the age of the universe, the distance to the next star, the other sentient creatures on other M-class planets who are also looking at the night sky. And think about that shared experience and the civilizations that have come on by. Itâ€™ll put your problems in a little bit of perspective. If you can take a walk through the woods, forget your name, your identity, your ambitions, and just for a little bit, for a moment, realize what you are, just another animal walking through the woods, another mammal and and – recognize that youâ€™re not quite sure why youâ€™re here, but you enjoy the ride and you love the mystery of everything thatâ€™s around you and you want to explore it more.
As much as possible, and this is something thatâ€™s difficult and not something I do anywhere near perfectly, but I try, is try to build true empathy for everyone. And a thought experiment I do often to get me in that frame of mind, itâ€™s just a thought experiment regardless of your actual spiritual beliefs, is to imagine that – imagine that time isnâ€™t a one way street, that you can go back in time, etc etc. And in your next life, you could go back in time and be reincarnated as anyone, you can be – and you literally could be everyone in this room. And with that little mental framework in place, imagine that in your next life, you could go back in time and be that person youâ€™re having the conversation with right now, that person that youâ€™re arguing with right now, or the person that youâ€™re passing judgement on right now. And if that is the case, that in your next life, you will have to put up with the current self-righteous version of yourself. Source: LYBIO.net
And so I wanna just bring it all together with another thought experiment that I like to do that helps me at least focus on where I want to put my energies.
Imagine yourself – imagine yourself in 50 years. Youâ€™re in your early 70s, near the end of your career (we have a few models here if you have trouble visualizing that). But – youâ€™re sitting on your couch. 2062, and youâ€™ve just finished watching the State of the Union holograph by president Kardashian.
And you start to reflect on your life. You start to think of all your successes you’ve had, your career successes, your family successes, the great memories that youâ€™ve had. But then you start to think about all of the things you wished you had done just a little differently, your regrets. And I can imagine what they might be.
You wish you had spent more time with your children, youâ€™ll wish that you had told your spouse how much you loved them more frequently, youâ€™ll wish you could have spent more time and told your parents how much you appreciated them before they passed away. And just while thatâ€™s happening, a genie appears.
And the genie says, â€œWell, Iâ€™ve been listening in on your regrets, and you seem like a good person. Iâ€™m willing to give you a second chance if you are open to it.â€ And so you say sure, and the genie snaps his fingers and you blink your eyes and when you open then you find yourself right there right where you are right now, June 8th 2012, Killian Court. Some crazy guy is giving a commencement speech. And you say â€œOh my god, Iâ€™m in my 20-something fit, pain-free body again! Iâ€™m around my peers again, and the genie was serious! I can have a second chance, I can have all of the successes, all of the adventures I had the first time around, but now I can optimize things. Now when I see my classmates and I give them that hug at commencement, I can hug them a little bit harder, I can show them how much I care about them. Now that I – my parents are back, I can finally tell them how much I appreciate them. I can finally give them more hugs, more time. I can do everything more; I can laugh more, I can sing more, I can dance more, I can be more of a source of positivity for people around me and empower more people.
And so here I am, your your – truly honored to be your commencement speaker, just in awe of the potential thatâ€™s here, the potential from – in this time that weâ€™re in. The positive revolutions are not going to be caused by generals and politicians; they are going to be caused by innovators like you. And in this time, to see you, the wizards of tomorrow, Iâ€™m just excited by what youâ€™re going to do with your second pass. Thank you.
Salman Khan – Commencement Address At MIT (2012). I can do everything more; I can laugh more, I can sing more, I can dance more, I can be more of a source of positivity for people around me and empower more people. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.
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