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.

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

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Effortless Action

The Big Idea for Monday, May 19, 2014

We think of "flow"--being in the zone, which creates a feeling of effortless action--as a modern pursuit. In fact, Confucius focused many years on achieving a state of wu wei, which far exceeds the benefits of flow. 

Confucius's efforts--his rituals, study, and practice--are explored from a neuroscience perspective in Edward Slingerland's latest critically-acclaimed book Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity. The flow that we strive to achieve in the modern age is nothing compared to wu wei.

To learn how to practice wu wei--effortless action--subscribe to Big Think Mentor's exclusive workshop with Slingerland. The internationally renowned Chinese thought and cognitive science expert teaches you how to achieve wu wei. Subscribe to Big Think Mentor today.


  1. 1 The Wu-Wei of Confucius
    Big Think Editors Big Think Mentor
  2. 2 Was Confucius a "Genius"?
    Thorsten J. Pattberg Dragons and Pandas
  3. 3 Philosophy Is A Syndicate
    Thorsten J. Pattberg Dragons and Pandas
  4. 4 The Long Road to Enlightenment
    Nicholas Clairmont Buddhism, Blasphemy, and Blackmail

Effortless Action

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