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

1

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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close

Michael Pollan on the Sacred, Ancient Act of the BBQ

May 27, 2014, 12:00 AM
Bt_michael_pollan_final

Over Memorial Day Weekend, did you attend a barbeque? Perhaps you passed village-sized picnics gathered around smoking grills in the park? Now that it’s spring, we’re entering the time of the year when raw slabs of meat bring people together. It’s not entirely different from the rituals of our ancestors, when a successful hunt was occasion to please the gods with the pleasing aroma of slowly cooking animal.

Michael Pollan, a definitive voice on modern food issues and the author of the seminal The Omnivore’s Dilemna, shares his insights into the ancient art of the barbeque. And in doing so, he challenges us into rethinking our relationship with food--his trademark. Pollan stopped by Big Think’s studio to talk about his latest book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.

Pollan explains our barbeques ancient roots: “Pitmasters today stand in for the, you know, this lineage that goes back probably a couple million years and passes along the way through the priests and Greek culture who oversaw the rights, the ritual sacrifice or the rabbis in the old testament who also did ritual sacrifice.”

Unfortunately, with factory farms pumping the animals we eat full of hormones and imprisoning them in stressful conditions, we have lost touch with the meat at the core of one of our oldest activities.

“We eat meat in this incredibly thoughtless, cavalier way. We waste it.  We don’t give a thought to the animal.  We don’t give a thought to the person who raised it or hunted it,” says Pollan. “I think in the process we’ve lost something.  And that carelessness, it now infects the way we raise the meat. That we treat the animals really badly and we don’t honor it the way we need to honor it.”

For more on Pollan’s discussion on the ancient practice of barbeque and how we should rethink one of our favorite warm-weather pastimes, watch this clip from Big Think’s interview:

 

Michael Pollan on the Sacre...

Newsletter: Share: