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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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“I Ended Apartheid”

February 2, 2010, 6:10 AM
Twenty years ago today, FW de Klerk addressed South Africa’s parliament and stunned it and the rest of the world by ending 41 years of Apartheid. The press were gathered as everyone was expecting de Klerk to announce that Nelson Mandela was to be freed. “In fact de Klerk had no intention of freeing Mandela that day. He had something even bigger on his mind, something he knew would take even the keenest observers of his presidential style by surprise. As MPs, ambassadors and other dignitaries gathered for the formal opening of parliament, only a handful of cabinet ministers were in the know, and they had been sworn not even to tell their wives – de Klerk only confided in his wife Marike on the way to parliament that morning. De Klerk, in the job since September 1989, was about to announce the official end of apartheid, the system which the National Party, which included his Afrikaner forebears, had given birth to 41 years before and whose brutality and injustice millions had demonstrated against in every capital in the free world. He wanted maximum impact and publicity for his speech, which he had been working on for months, and he didn't want the distraction of Mandela's pending release getting in the way of it.”

“I Ended Apartheid”

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