The Golden Ratio | Cooper Bragdon | TEDxYouth@FranklinSchoolOfInnovation | Summary and Q&A

September 22, 2023
TEDx Talks
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The Golden Ratio | Cooper Bragdon | TEDxYouth@FranklinSchoolOfInnovation

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In this video, the speaker explores the concept of disruption and its relationship to the self. They discuss two main responses to disruption: searching and yearning, symbolized by the narrator, and being unchanging and unafraid, symbolized by the maple. The speaker also delves into the definition of self and how our physiology interacts with the universe. They mention the impact of music on their understanding of self and recount their experience with polyrhythms. Finally, the speaker emphasizes the importance of disruption and uniqueness, encouraging the audience to ask questions and find their own disruption.

Questions & Answers

Q: What are the two main responses to disruption mentioned in the video?

One response is to search and yearn, represented by the narrator in the video. Instead of giving up, they choose to explore and find meaning in the face of disruption. The other response is to be unchanging and unafraid, represented by the maple. It symbolizes the ability to remain constant and fearless in the midst of disruption.

Q: How does the speaker define the self?

The speaker suggests that the self is not defined solely by one's voice, appearance, or even the cells in their body. They argue that the current shape of the self is influenced by what shaped it in the first place. Our physiology and how it interacts with the universe around us play a significant role in defining the self.

Q: How did music impact the speaker's understanding of self?

The speaker shares their experience with studying the golden ratio polyrhythm, highlighting how it affected the way they listened to various sounds. After studying this complex rhythm, they started recognizing elements of it, such as the golden ratio, in everyday sounds like rain. This cognitive pattern recognition expanded their understanding of self and disrupted their perception of familiar sounds.

Q: What is a polyrhythm?

A polyrhythm is a combination of multiple rhythms played simultaneously. It involves coordinating different beats and patterns to create complex and syncopated sounds. In the video, the speaker demonstrates a few polyrhythms to showcase the disruptive nature of these rhythms and invites the audience to participate.

Q: What is the golden ratio polyrhythm?

The golden ratio polyrhythm is a specific type of polyrhythm that consists of two different rhythms. These rhythms sync up at particular points, creating a unique pattern. The speaker explains that the points of synchronization are more important than what the hands are doing physically. The golden ratio polyrhythm never repeats and always has different sync-up points.

Q: How does disruption play a role in the video?

Disruption is a central theme in the video. The speaker encourages the audience to embrace disruption and see themselves as disruptors. They disrupt the audience's rhythmic patterns through demonstrations of polyrhythms, illustrating how disruption can lead to growth and understanding.


The video highlights the two main responses to disruption: searching and yearning or being unchanging and unafraid. It emphasizes the importance of self-discovery and understanding how our physiology shapes our identities. Additionally, the speaker encourages viewers to embrace disruption, explore their uniqueness, and ask questions to gain a broader perspective. Disruption is seen as a catalyst for growth and a way to disrupt the noise that disrupts us.

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