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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IdeaFeed Posts

Big ideas in the news from around the web

IdeaFeed

Can Honesty Survive the Net?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Are we more or less likely to lie to someone if we are communicating via email or text message than if we are speaking face-to-face?" asks Professor Jeff Hancock of Cornell University. According to In Character, "The first part of Hancock's research revealed that the conventional wisdom is correct ...

IdeaFeed

Digital Divide Goes Cultural

Missing
about 4 years ago

The digital divide is about more than access to the Internet, say experts. The white Anglo-Europeans who program the Web may set culturally exclusive parameters on the experience. "There's a push among development specialists to provide more people with Internet connections and the assumption that ...

IdeaFeed

No News Is Good News

Missing
about 4 years ago

Garrison Keillor is feeling especially powerless these days: "As the Gulf turns dark and the polar ice cap melts, I intend to listen to Bach more and listen to the news less," he says. The Midwesterner has had it up to here with contradictory TEA Party platforms and a once-great nation being sold ...

IdeaFeed

Dark Matter Sighting?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"For the first time, physicists have confirmed that certain subatomic particles have mass," writes the L.A. Times. The mass could account for the mysterious existence of dark matter. According to the article, "Astrophysicists have inferred the existence of dark matter from their observations that ...

IdeaFeed

Death by Broken Heart

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Do people really die of broken hearts?" asks the Times' health blog. Elevated stress hormones following an emotionally trying event may cause cardiomyopathy, a.k.a. broken heart syndrome. "It may be that elevated stress hormones interfere with normal blood flow, causing the heart damage. Or it may ...

IdeaFeed

Artificial Intelligence

Missing
over 4 years ago

While artificial intelligence has yet to realize its often dramatic promises, the development of brain science has led thinkers to prioritize the mind over the body as the center of the self. "Is the 'society of mind' trying to colonize the societies of body and emotion?" asks 3 Quarks Daily. "Why ...

IdeaFeed

Renaming 'Breakdown'

Missing
over 4 years ago

As diagnosis of mental illness has changed with shifting cultural attitudes, now the term "nervous breakdown" is being reevaluated. Are you on the verge of "burnout syndrome"? "'Nervous breakdown' is one of those sturdy old terms, like 'melancholia' and 'nervous illness,' that haven’t really been ...

IdeaFeed

Smart Phone Transactions

Missing
over 4 years ago

New technologies are turning smart phones into credit cards and cash registers, but as usual, there are trust issues and people are nervous about abandoning their wallets all together. "'The future has arrived,' tweeted Mayer Hawthorne, a singer and songwriter who used Square to sell his CDs and ...

IdeaFeed

Oil Spill Ends Free Market

Missing
over 4 years ago

Leonard Pitts takes the pulse of those affected by the Gulf Oil spill and finds that many who once opposed big government maneuvers are now begging for its assistance. "You know what they say: it's all fun and games till somebody gets hurt. Well, the Gulf Coast is hurt, hurt in ways that may take ...

IdeaFeed

Morality In a Democracy

Missing
over 4 years ago

"'Democracy' in the abstract misleads us. Living in a democracy—and it is lived experience that must be our theme—becomes a different thing in each generation," begins Kenneth Minogue. Minogue, professor of political science at the London School of Economics, sees traditional values of democracy ...

IdeaFeed

Saving Newspapers

Missing
over 4 years ago

P.J. O'Rourke has a clever idea for reviving newspaper sales—the pre-obituary: "official notices that certain people aren’t dead with brief summaries of their lives indicating why we wish they were." "The main advantage of the Pre-Obit over the traditional obituary is the knowledge of reader and ...

IdeaFeed

The Writer's Life

Missing
over 4 years ago

A new book examines the lives of the Romantic poets in their well-intentioned but ultimately ambiguous morality. It is a case of life imitating art, writes Laura Miller for Slate. "This second generation of Romantic poets shaped our contemporary conceptions of creativity and morality so profoundly ...

IdeaFeed

Buying Happiness

Missing
over 4 years ago

"While taking a more relaxed attitude towards the pursuit of wealth may make sense as a personal philosophy, it is an uncertain guide to public policy," says the Financial Times. More and more economists in the West are seeking to recalibrate capitalism. Many, including Joseph Stieglitz, no longer ...

IdeaFeed

Pro-Choice Media

Missing
over 4 years ago

"When will our media reflect America on abortion?" asks William McGurn at The Wall Street Journal now that a Gallup poll has reported that half of America is pro-life. Aware of the difference between saying something is wrong and that it should be outlawed—according to Gallup, half of Americans say ...

IdeaFeed

Stimulus Versus Austerity

Missing
over 4 years ago

Paul Krugman's recommendation for more public spending is at odds with his own comparison of the U.S. to Japan where aggressive fiscal policy did not stimulate growth, says The New Republic. According to William Galston, Paul Krugman's position is that "The Fed should abandon its groundless fears of ...