What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

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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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

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Why We Evolved as Meme Machines

May 12, 2013, 8:00 AM

People are wired for lots of things.  We’re wired for novelty.  We’re wired for humor. We’re wired for new pieces of information that surprise us in some way or add value to our lives.

We’re wired for fear.  Sometimes something scares us or seems like a threat.  We want to spread it on so other people know about this threat.  All of those things are because we evolved socially.  So we evolved as meme machines.  Our minds are made not just to steer our bodies and hunt for food, but to pick up new ideas and spread them to other members in the tribe if we think they’re useful to that member or if they’re useful to us in the spreading.  

So we are very, very wired to spread ideas and that’s where the power of human innovation comes from.

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

Image courtesy fo Shutterstock. 


Why We Evolved as Meme Mach...

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