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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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Seeing the Unseen

The Big Idea for Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thinking metaphorically is the key to creativity and creative problem solving.

Neuroscience shows us that thinking metaphorically is a normal, healthy mental process. And yet, some people, such as artists, possess a highly advanced capacity for metaphor.

A recent study sheds new light on this. The study observed arbitrary sensory experiences in infants that are unlike anything experienced by typical adults. This condition is known as synesthesia, in which two or more bodily senses are merged.

People with synesthesia "inhabit a strange no-man's-land between reality and fantasy. They taste colors, see sounds, hear shapes, or touch emotions in myriad combinations." It is not surprising then, that this condition is such an appealing one to artists who have sought to defamiliarize their perceptions of reality, or, to put it another way, to rediscover a primal, childlike perception of reality. 


  1. 1 See Like a Child, Paint Like Picasso
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 Creative Master Class: Turn Obstacles Into Inspiration
    Julie Burstein
  3. 3 Paintings That Dance
    Bob Duggan Picture This
  4. 4 The “Wacky” Mystery of Synesthesia
    Siri Hustvedt

Seeing the Unseen

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