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 Uses of Pessimism

August 14, 2010, 6:55 AM
British philosopher Roger Scruton says false hope is the biggest danger to humanity and that doses of pessimism help keep us on track toward gradual positive social change: "Scruton identifies seven fallacies that he sees as underwriting false hope. Put briefly, these translate into a tendency to always look on the bright side, a belief that freedom is hampered by law, an unwillingness to countenance refutation, a belief that failure in one human quarter is directly connected to success in another, an inclination to impose solutions rather than letting them evolve over time, the idea that human history has an endpoint, and the tendency to assume agreeable concepts such as liberty and equality are mutually reinforcing."
 

The Uses of Pessimism

Newsletter: Share: