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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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Big Think Sits Down With Noam Chomsky

August 28, 2009, 12:23 PM

Noam Chomsky, longtime chronicler of the gap between political bombast and legislative boorishness, recently sat down with Big Think to discuss a variety of issues, from his thoughts on Obama, to linguistics, taxes, protesting, love, and the beauty of the “people whose names you’ll never hear.”

When asked to evaluate Obama’s leadership thus far, Chomsky, an avowed anarchist by the age of 12, was unimpressed with any of the president’s current accomplishments. For Chomsky, Obama’s main virtues are in a negative sense—as he has “retracted” some of the more “extreme Bush positions” on issues like nuclear policy or imposed conditions for Cuba . Obama, Chomsky, says, has proven to be exactly what the linguist had imaged always thought he was, not a beacon of change, but a “familiar center democrat.”

Chomsky also leveled against the president’s treatments of the American workforce and the energy crisis, namely his avoidance of the most necessary and efficacious way to solve the crisis—to actually harness the power of the American workforce as we did during WWII to construct high-speed transit. Currently, “the government and the corporate sector, [are] dismantling the sector of the industrial apparatus, that could very well produce high-speed transit. The automobile industry could be re-tooled for high-speed transit. Much more radical steps have been taken.

After discussing the great unknowables of language, Chomsky, whose wife of 59 years passed away last December, weighed in on the concept of love, describing its “unbreakable grip,” and the hard fact that “life is empty without it.”



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