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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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Liberal Education

The Big Idea for Friday, February 10, 2012

Everything I need to know I learned from Google and Wikipedia. If I'm in a real hurry I just ask Siri. And since I don't like reading I tend to search for videos that teach me things on Youtube. If there is some pesky copyright barrier on Youtube, alas, I turn to Netflix.

This would actually be a cheap, efficient and highly desirable education program if the Web was something other than the garbage heap of spam, half-truths and outright misinformation that it has become. That's why scholars like Jeffrey BrenzelAndrew Graham-Dixon, Joseph Luzzi, Stephen Greenblatt and Peter Lawler, among others, are absolutely indispensable today. 

In his Floating University lecture Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: The Essential Value of a Classic Education, Yale philosopher Jeffrey Brenzel presents five "rough and ready criteria" for identifying a classic of literature or philosophy or politics that, he argues, will not only enhance your education, but help you live better. 

How do we transfer knowledge today as quickly and efficiently as possible? Big Think has interviewed over 3,000 experts to do just that, and today we are highlighting a few of the leading voices who will tell you how to best pursue a liberal education in the 21st century. 


  1. 1 A Renaissance Education, Now Available in Your Netflix Queue
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 Liberal Education for the Twenty-First Century
    Peter Lawler Rightly Understood
  3. 3 The Poem That Dragged Us Out of the Dark Ages
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  4. 4 What Can Plato Teach Me That I Can't Find on Wikipedia?
    Daniel Honan Floating University

Liberal Education

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