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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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.

Find out more
Close

The World Is Just Awesome

October 15, 2011, 12:05 PM
Earthfromspace

One of the major changes that's come with the new site is that here, every post has to have an accompanying image. I'm not complaining - I had always meant to have more pictures on the old Daylight Atheism, I think they make a site more interesting and engaging - but since I didn't have to, I rarely went to the trouble. Now that that's changed, I've been putting together a library of public domain and Creative Commons-licensed pictures (plus a few shots of my own) to use with future posts.

While I was looking around on Wikimedia Commons, I came across this page, a contest to select the best image out of all the featured pictures of 2010. The winner is, indeed, spectacular: a wide-angle image of the Paranal Observatory in Chile, looking into the heart of the Milky Way with a laser-guided adaptive optics system. But it's not just that one picture I want to focus on: it's the gallery page, which shows all the entries. There are previous years, too.

Browse all the galleries, as I've spent some time doing, and I think there's just one conclusion to be drawn: Isn't the world an awesome place?

From a single cell to a sweeping landscape vista to a distant galaxy, at every level the universe reveals a fractal scale of intricacy and beauty. The products of human culture don't compete on that scale, but in their finest moments, they offer something different: a majestic combination of ambition, creativity and craftsmanship, whether it's a medieval cathedral or a modern scientific observatory. (Of course, as I've noted in the past, the observatories at least have the benefit that they're used to advance human knowledge rather than superstition.) But whether they're the most breathtaking examples of natural beauty or the loftiest products of human ability, either way these images stir the same sense of awe and admiration in me.

Part of the reason I'm an egalitarian is that the world is an amazing place, one that we all inherit by virtue of being born into it, and I think every person deserves the opportunity and the means to experience its glories for themselves. Beauty shouldn't be hidden away, fenced off, or available only to a select few; it should be shared with everyone. We all only get one life, and we should all have the chance to live it to the fullest!

Image credit: NASA

 

The World Is Just Awesome

Newsletter: Share: