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

367 - Bethlehem to Ramallah by Boat

March 14, 2009, 11:10 AM


This map excerpt of the environs of Jerusalem is strangely reminiscent of this one, showing Belgium partially submerged along ethnic lines. Both maps solve the seemingly intractible disputes inherent in their human geography by flooding out the “other”.

The full map is entitled Un monde à l’envers (‘An Inverted World’) and can be found on page 129 of the 2009 edition of the Atlas du Monde diplomatique. It imagines the Palestinian areas, divided and separated by Israeli settlements, checkpoints and barriers, as an actual archipelago.

The excerpt shows Bethlehem as a coastal town on Holy Island, connected by ferry to Ar-Ram and Ramallah to the north, across the Jerusalem Canal. Other marine features on this map are Cape Elzariya and Cape Dibwan, the Ramalliot Archipelago and the Western Ramalliot Islands (both named, presumably, after Ramallah).

The aforementioned Atlas is a publication of Le Monde diplomatique, the French monthly magazine for world affairs. It might not be incidental to note that the editorial line of “Le Diplo” (as it is often called) is altermondialiste.

Altermondialism (or alter-globalisation) seeks to counteract the negative effects of an economic globalisation seen as too Anglo-Saxon and neo-liberal. But it also automatically rhymes with other political viewpoints, usually left-leaning, and in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians mainly sympathetic to the latter. Which might explain why this map resolves that particular conflict by submerging the former.

Many thanks to Olivier, Baptiste Hautdidier, Valéry Didelon and Jacques Lantier for sending in this map, found on this page of Guerre ou Paix, a (French-language) blog dedicated to Israeli-Palestine relations.


367 - Bethlehem to Ramallah...

Newsletter: Share: