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

Why We Value Sincerity & How It Influences the Culture

July 13, 2012, 9:00 AM
Sincere%20smile%20ss

What's the Latest Development?

While we tend to think of human values as universal and outside of time, a new book shines light on the history of sincerity, how it became a value and how it has affected society through the ages. R. Jay Magill Jr.'s new book "Sincerity" defines the value as: "confronting one's innermost thoughts or emotions and relaying them to others straightforwardly, no matter how relevant to the topic, injurious to one's own reputation, or embarrassing—or however correct or incorrect." This alignment of the inner-self with the outer-self came about, writes Magill, primarily through religious movements that emphasized a modest and personal relationship with divine spirits. 

What's the Big Idea?

Since simplicity and honesty were extended into the new concept of sincerity, the value has been ruthlessly mocked by writers from Machiavelli and Nietzsche to Ben Franklin and George Bernard Shaw. "I don't think you want too much sincerity in society," said W. Somerset Maugham. "It would be like an iron girder in a house of cards." Nonetheless, Magill traces sincerity's influence through Western culture, especially in areas of art and design. The very history of design, says Magill, is a search for visual sincerity, which he argues explains the rise of abstraction in 20th century visual art. Yet insofar as insincerity gives us prettier versions of ourselves, sincerity can be a tough sell. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

 

Why We Value Sincerity & Ho...

Newsletter: Share: