Why Giving is Better Than Porn (David Erasmus)

David Erasmus giving a Ted Talk on the harmful effects of internet porn and the internet's ability to facilitate giving.
David Erasmus giving a Ted Talk on the topic of the internet, giving, and pornography.

The internet is the most powerful invention of the 20th century. I can’t think of a single area of life that hasn’t been affected by it. People can access information and communicate in ways that were unthinkable just a few decades ago. The internet is routinely used to gain knowledge and education, grow businesses and solve real-world problems, and meet and connect with people from all around the world. You wouldn’t be here reading this article without an internet connection. There is a lot of good that has come out of the internet, but there is also a dark side that people must be mindful of. Like all technology, the internet is neither good or bad in itself–it is all about the moral beings who operate it.

David Erasmus is an entrepreneur and founder of Givey, an online platform for fundraising. He gave a Ted Talk entitled “Why Giving is Better than Porn.” In it, he talks about the possibilities of the internet for both good and bad, using the contrasting examples of giving and pornography. Erasmus explains that porn doesn’t satisfy the deep need that human beings have to connect with others. He gives a standard for evaluating whether an activity is good for you in the form of two questions: Where does it lead you? And where does it leave you? When it comes to pornography, the answer is always “nowhere” and “empty.”

Transcript:

This might seem like an odd statement. But in reality the worlds of giving and porn are actually a lot closer than you might think. In fact they are a lot closer now than they ever have been. If we go back 20 years, if you think about what it took to try and get your hands on porn, 20 years ago: you had to get your mac on, had to run down to the newsagents, had to stare down the newsagent, grab the Razzle mag off the top shelf, give him your money, ask for the brown paper bag, run home, hope that no one sees you and if they do, they don’t ask what’s in the bag.

Similarly, if you wanted to send some money, a contribution to a cause that you cared about, you had to get into the bottom door of your desk, grab your cheque book, write the cheque, put it in an envelope, stamp it, put it in a post box and hope that it gets there. But these things have changed absolutely everything. Smashed screen as well, I’m sure some of you can understand that! These have changed absolutely everything. All of the content, commerce and communication that we were used to 20 years ago, can all be handled instantly, in the palm of my hand.

But there is one problem, there is one problem that we’ve all encountered and dealt with in different ways: it’s got us into sticky situations, and that is the problem of autocorrect. You all know what I’m talking about. Your thumbing out, you might have the fat thumb syndrome like I have. You get a bit distracted, you press send on a Google search, a YouTube search, or even a text message to someone, then look down and realize what you’ve done. It’s sent you hurtling into a world of chaos. Maybe you’ve said something weird to a friend, or you’ve found yourself in a place that you didn’t expect. It’s the kind of thing my grandparents might do, when trying to get used to their new devices.

But what happens if, by an accident with an autocorrect fail, or in a frisky moment, we find ourselves in the world of porn? What is it that we actually encounter? When you look at this, the first thing that you might see might be the blonde on the left, it might be the brunette on the right.

But when you look closer, you can see the leering eyes of the man behind them. This man’s name is Ben Dover. He is one of the leading forces in the porn industry in the UK, and him and his colleagues, they know how to be ruthlessly innovative, how to use every shred of modern technology to create the most captivating and engaging experience as possible for their customers. They know how to drive their hooks into you, how to grab and maintain your attention, and even to create, in some cases, an addiction.

But the greater reason why I think porn is addictive is because it doesn’t really satisfy our deeper desires. It only transacts with us on this level. See, I’ve spent most of my live believing that sexual urges outside of a committed relationship are bad, that I should forget about them, that I should suppress or delete them. But what I’ve realized is that those urges are just a manifestation of something that’s far more core and deep, innate in human nature. It’s our need to connect with other humans.

Our need to connect with other humans is a good thing. It’s a wonderful thing to be celebrated and enjoyed. But the challenge is for us, to channel that energy into something that is real and lasting. An old and wise friend of mine recently said to me, to figure out whether something is good for you, you have to ask the simple question: Where does it lead you? And where does it leave you?

See, knowing all of this, I find it really hard to reconcile the fact that knowing that the power of love and giving, gives us the opportunity to deeply satisfy the darkest parts of our souls. But in reality we see the porn industry thriving, like we’ve already heard about, whilst the giving sector is floundering, losing the attention of this generation.

I don’t think that the giving sector has understood how to create experiences online in the same way that other industries have yet. I think the giving world has settled for effective solutions online and not strived, like the porn industry has, for affective [affects the emotions] solutions. Settled for, purely transacting financials, rather than looking to create an experience that transforms people, leaves them different and can start to begin to createa different kind of social norm.

So we’ll all live — I hope we don’t live here! –We’ll all leave here. We’ll go for a beer, we’ll find ourselves at home later, in our bedrooms. If you’ve got any kind of discipline, you’ll probably turn your phone off, leave it charging in another room. But if you’re anything like me, it will be on, on loud, right next to my head, like it’s some kind of weird shrine. I try not to do it, but it always ends up there, waiting for any kind of notification from any of the worlds I’m plugged into in here.

Whichever habit you’ve subscribed to, we will all have the exact same choice. The choice to decide when we take action on this phone, to decide which kind of a world we want to be a part of creating. There are 2 very different kind of worlds out there that we can access through this tiny window: one world that offers an illusion of connection and one that offers real deep and meaningful connections.

One that offers short term fixes and one that offers satisfaction that cumulates and grows. Simply, one that leaves us with less and one that adds to our world and the world of others around us. The little actions that we take, especially in the most private of moments, will have more impact than we ever realize.

Thank you for your time.

Author: DL Admin

A Christian millennial passionate about seeing people live free from the harmful psychological and relational effects of lust.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s