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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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September 11, 2009, 8:41 PM

I had a neighbor years ago, a nice woman in a happy second marriage with two adult kids and two elderly parents. Devoted to Martha Stewart's algorithms for a gracious life.

The last time I spoke to her she was painting her front door yet again because she wasn't satisfied with the color from two weeks before. Paper towels were neatly spread on the shiny polyurethaned wood floor and her top, though white, had no paint stains. Neither did the towels. She was the kind of meticulous person people like, the one who just wants everything to be right for everyone.

She died in Tower 1 on September 11 eight years ago.

In the Iliad somewhere there's a line more or less like: ``He died, and with him perished his father's knowledge of making intricate things.'' As this anniversary becomes an emotional fossil -- a symbol, a bit of rhetoric, a ceremonial obligation -- I try to remember what came before all that: the raw experience that begins to fade the moment we clothe it in interpretation. She enjoyed the work. The door looked good.



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