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

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

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World Renowned Bloggers

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

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Big Think Edge

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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.

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Diagnosing a Racist Double Standard

February 19, 2010, 12:11 AM
Black_and_white_face

Why are rappers more likely to sing about being "schizophrenic," while white crooners are more apt to call themselves "depressed"? And why do supposed schizophrenics often get jailed rather than treated? The answer to both questions, according to psychiatrist and author Jonathan Metzl, traces back to the racially charged 1960s, when black dissent became redefined as mental illness—and mental illness as crime.

In his Big Think interview, Metzl traces the complex and shifting history of schizophrenia, a very real illness that has nonetheless become entangled in some very dubious stereotypes. He also speaks more broadly about the social and cultural dimension of mental illness, arguing that psychiatrists must gain a subtler appreciation of this context in order to define diseases more precisely, and treat them more effectively.

 

Diagnosing a Racist Double ...

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