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 I Don't Follow Gandhi All the Way

December 25, 2013, 8:00 AM
Shutterstock_110432741

I'm sometimes asked if I'm a pacifist.  There have been times in my life when I've called myself a pacifist, but then I meet real pacifists and realize that I'm not or I read the writings of real pacifists. Gandhi talks about creating peace armies, for example, that consist of women and children. When India was worried about being invaded by Japan in the late 1930s Gandhi said that this army of women and children could go out in front of the Japanese and basically allow the Japanese to slaughter them until the Japanese started to feel really bad and laid down their arms.  That was Gandhi’s vision.

I have enormous adoration for Gandhi, but I found that to be horrific.  That seems unacceptable to me.  That’s carrying a moral principle of nonviolence too far.  I do think that there are situations where violence has really been -- I don’t know if it’s necessary -- but really difficult to avoid, where not using violence might be more immoral than not.  There are crazy people out there.  There are sociopaths.  There is always the possibility of violent apocalyptic cults.  A true pacifist doesn’t even think there should be police forces.  I can’t agree with that.

So I think we need to envision a radically demilitarized and disarmed world where war between nations is unlikely, but still there would be some kind of very minimal armed forces for self-defense for policing purposes.  Violence would only be used if absolutely necessary.

There would not be the kind of glorification that we have of military adventures that we have right now.  So maybe it could be carried out on a kind of international basis with a peacekeeping force organized by the United Nations.  

Total pacifism I think doesn’t recognize that there will always be dangerous, violent people even if there are just isolated sociopaths that need to be dealt with somehow.  My hope is that that will be really a minimal problem in the future once we get rid of state sanctioned violence.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

 

Why I Don't Follow Gandhi A...

Newsletter: Share: