TED 2018: Emily Levine’s “How I Made Friends With Reality”

The charming philosopher/writer/comedian discusses serious truths with lighthearted humor

Somehow, beginning her TED Talk “How I Made Friends With Reality” by announcing she has stage four cancer, yet making the entire crowd laugh, the inimitable and charming Emily Levine immediately hooks her audience. The writer/philosopher/comedian discusses how she avoided reality for a long time, only to find out—through her diagnosis and coping mechanisms—that she and reality were always on great terms. By figuring that reality is actually an “imposter,” Levine learned that reality is about limits. “Those very limits that I’d spent my whole life denying and pushing past and ignoring were real. And I had to deal with them, and they took imagination, creativity and my entire skill-set. It turned out, I was great at actual reality. I didn’t come to terms with it, I fell in love.”

Proposing that the exact moment she finally fell in love with reality, the entire country decided to go in the opposite direction, Levine explores her relationship with the concept with wit and thoughtfulness—and with tremendous delivery. While her talk revolves around a grave subject, Levine successfully entertains and, of course, educates in a way that truly encourages and inspires her audience to do as she did, and accept reality on their own terms.

Image courtesy of TED