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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Why Our Brains Are Hungry for Puzzles

June 4, 2013, 3:20 PM

There are general reasons why we like puzzles and then there are particular reasons why we like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and things like that.  The general reason is we’re faced with problems every day in life.  Most of them don’t have perfect solutions.  We just muddle through the best we can and move onto the next thing. Also, there are very few things in life that we completely grasp or that are completely our own. 

You drive a car, but do you really understand how the car was made?  Do you understand all about how the engine works?  Probably not, but all you need to do is drive. But the nice thing about a human-made puzzle is when you solve the problem, you feel a sense of satisfaction that you don’t get much in everyday life, because you’ve found the perfect answer and also you’re seeing the whole process.  If you solve a crossword you know you’re carrying it through, literally from square one to the end and that gives you a sense of satisfaction that you don’t get in everyday life.  

60 Second Reads is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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