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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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Human Ecology

The Big Idea for Friday, July 26, 2013

There is a reason people travel to Sun Valley, Idaho to attend the Allen & Co Media Conference or to Aspen, Colorado to attend the Aspen Ideas Festival, or, for that matter, The Nantucket Project, the East Coast upstart now in its third year. 

It is the same reason why research institutions like the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Maine attract top talent. "Breaking away from day-to-day routines and interacting in places that bring people together and that feed our minds helps us understand our relationship with our environment, our 'human ecology,'" writes Tara Rockefeller in today's lesson.

"Even in this time of advancing technology and expanding cyberspace, where we are makes a difference," Rockefeller argues. And that is why somehow, when we are connected to a place, "the ideas we generate have more sticking power."



  1. 1 In the World of Ideas, Place Matters
    Tara Rockefeller The Scientific Ideas of Our Time
  2. 2 The Future of 21st Century Science: Tearing Down Knowledge Silos
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  3. 3 Faster, More Urban, More Diverse
    Richard Florida

Human Ecology

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