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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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Getting Grandpa Confused with Emily Brontë

February 23, 2010, 12:10 AM

Did an early mistake in Edward Hirsch's life lead him to forge a career in poetry? "When I was eight years old my grandfather died...After he died I went down to the basement of my family house...and there was an anthology without any names attached to it. I read a poem called 'Spellbound' [by Emily Brontë] and I somehow attached it to my grandfather’s death and I thought my grandfather had written it...I didn’t sit down then and start writing poems, but it was in the back of my mind."

Hirsch sat down with Big Think to talk about the act of creating (and reading) poetry, which to him is a messy process that has evolved over the years, but still doesn't include systematic revisions. As for commenting on the future of poetry in this era of digital media and short attention spans, Hirsch isn't one to hide his concerns. In the end, he believes that poetry will continue to survive—but if people can't pay attention, it might save fewer souls.


Getting Grandpa Confused wi...

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