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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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21st Century Spirituality Posts

Redefining Spirituality and Debunking Magical Thinking In the Modern Age

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21st Century Spirituality

Sam Harris Wakes Up

about 1 month ago

One day while walking through Rutgers' Quad Two on the way to the gym, I noticed my friend Shelton across the lawn. As he bounced along the sidewalk—he was in constant point guard mode—it appeared that he was talking. This was 1994, well before the possibility of a headset bluetoothed to his cell ...

21st Century Spirituality

The Case Against Empathy

about 1 month ago

It’s hard to imagine empathy being anything but beneficial. It has become one of the most championed mental states in the neuroscience age: the ability to feel what someone else is feeling and, if all goes well, extend a hand altruistically or compassionately.

21st Century Spirituality

Is Mindfulness Dangerous?

3 months ago

In his 1961 book, Psychotherapy East & West, the philosopher Alan Watts wrote, If there is to be a battle, there must be a field of battle; when the contestants really notice this they will have a war dance instead of a war. As is popular in South Asian poetry, such imagery aptly ...

21st Century Spirituality

Where Does Marriage Go From Here?

3 months ago

It has been amusing listening to the religious right’s argument that marriage must be between a man and woman for one simple reason: the institution itself has been crumbling for decades. This is not to discourage monogamy or the attempt at commitment. Many of my friends, myself included, enjoy ...

21st Century Spirituality

The Trauma of Everyday Life

3 months ago

Like all major religions, there exists numerous ideas of what Buddhism is and how to practice it. Perhaps the hardest part about explaining Buddhism is that it’s nowhere near being a religion in the first place. Rather it is a way of engaging and grappling with yourself and the world you live in ...

21st Century Spirituality

When Can We Talk About Israel?

4 months ago

Human beings have long been engaged in dramatic struggles. We want to honor our better angels, yet our demons wait on the corner, smirking. They know we’ll crack. Evolution has handed us a harrowing deal: humans are empathetic and even compassionate beings when it comes to our family and tribe ...