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


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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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

How Individual Morals Are Formed by Communities

December 16, 2012, 4:24 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Despite the legal emphasis our society places on individual responsibility, moral codes are actually formed by entire communities, says science writer Michael Shermer. Despite the convictions we hold of our own moral correctness, we are easily brought under the influence of group morals, i.e. our behavior is motivated by our desire to be faithful to a group, not out of allegiance to our own concept of justice. Therefore, when an immoral act occurs, we may be wisest to look at the community from which the agent came rather than his or access to particular piece of machinery that directly facilitated the wrongdoing. 

What's the Big Idea?

"As a social primate species, we modulate our morals with signals from family, friends and social groups with whom we identify because in our evolutionary past those attributes helped individuals to survive and reproduce. We do not just blindly concede control to authorities; instead we follow the cues provided by our moral communities on how best to behave." In his book on the motivation of soldiers to follow orders On Killing, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman reveals that a soldier's primary motivation is not politics and ideology but devotion to his band of brothers.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com



How Individual Morals Are F...

Newsletter: Share: