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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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Truth vs. Happiness: Depressives Have a More Accurate View of Life, Optimists Are Happier and More Successful.

June 24, 2014, 3:30 PM

What's the Latest?

Psychologists Michael Scheier and Charles Carver have devoted their careers to understanding how different people can have such different outlooks on life, and how those outlooks affect their wellbeing. In one of their early experiments, the researchers found that depressed individuals tended to see more clearly how humans fundamentally lack control over their destiny. "Not only were depressed individuals more realistic in their judgments, they argued, but the very illusion of being in control held by those who weren’t depressed was likely protecting them from depression in the first place."

What's the Big Idea?

Harvard University psychologist Daniel Gilbert says that each of us have a "psychological immune system", in addition to our biological one, that links how we see the world with how we feel. The more optimistic we are, the better we feel. And the better we feel, the more optimistically we tend view the world around us. Optimism works like a shield, protecting our physical and mental health. On the other hand, "[t]he negative view is self-fulfilling: you set lower expectations, do less, achieve less, and experience a worse outcome, which in turn conforms to your initial negative views."

Read more at the New Yorker

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Truth vs. Happiness: Depres...

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