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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.

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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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Today's Big Idea: Philosophy

The Big Idea for Sunday, September 02, 2012

People who aim at pleasure seldom get it, says philosopher Peter Singer. The "paradox of hedonism" is a philosophical construct which states that the more you seek pleasure, the less you get of it, and the more you avoid pain, the more it comes to haunt you.

The answer? Don't spend your life trying to be happy. Spend it absorbed in "some activity that's worthwhile in itself" (as Singer puts it), and you'll get more enjoyment out of your own fulfillment than you would laying on the beach all day drinking Mai Tais. 

Words worth remembering as we enjoy the unofficial last weekend of summer.

Perspectives

  1. 1 Why You Shouldn't Have Sex for Your Health
    Megan Erickson Postcards from Žižek
  2. 2 Let's Talk About Your Hedonism
    Peter Singer
  3. 3 Epicurus' World
    Adam Lee Daylight Atheism
  4. 4 Designing a Hedonistic and Sustainable Future
    Dominic Basulto Endless Innovation
 

Today's Big Idea: Philosophy

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