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


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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

Three Mandela Misconceptions

December 6, 2013, 3:27 PM

The Nelson Mandela of American mythology differs in a few key ways from Nelson Mandela the man, Tony Karon points out in a must-read essay.

First, Karon argues, Mandela was no pacifist. “He played a leading role,” Karon writes, “in setting up the ANC’s guerrilla wing, and traveled abroad to gather support, even undergoing guerrilla training himself in Algeria, from the commanders of the FLN who had recently ejected the French colonials.” Still, Mandela never pursued the path of violent conflict when diplomacy was an option.

Karon’s second corrective is this: though Mandela was “moral giant,” he was not uniquely responsible for holding South Africans back from igniting a racial war against the whites. There was no “Mandela miracle.” Instead, the reconciliation process was made possible by “the political culture of the ANC, which Mandela helped form, and which also formed him.” The South African success story “was never dependent on his own, or any other individual’s strength of character.”

Third, Karon points out, Mandela is often lumped together with black separatists Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey, but “there were thousands of whites in the broad liberation movement led by the ANC.”

Read Karon’s full essay here.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


Three Mandela Misconceptions

Newsletter: Share: