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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
With rendition switcher


Question: How do you see drugs portrayed in the media?

Hart:    Some people get it right but often times, they get it wrong particularly when we think about drugs in which the society has a limited experience when that’s the case, when a new drug or typically these drugs aren’t new I should say when a new rather administration a new form of the drug is introduced to a society, the portrayal of that drug, that drug is often exaggerated to the extent that it’s in accurate.  That typically happens but when you think of a drug that is more common like, alcohol tends to be more accurate because many folks have experienced using alcohols so it’s difficult to be inaccurate in your description or you loose some credibility whereas when you think of a drug like methamphetamine for example that’s a current sort of new form of Amphetamines that people have talked quite a bit about in the general public that recently6, when y6ou think of that drug, the portrayal of the effects of that drugs has been so exaggerated that they are often inaccurate.

Question: What about in The Wire?

Hart:    When you associate drugs with a specific group, you may be doing it for a purpose but clearly you are limiting the scope of the users or the example that you gave regarding The Wire and I think the primary drug that they talked about on the Wire is cocaine but of course, cocaine use is broad well in terms of the demographics of cocaine use in the United States, mini groups use cocaine not just poor impoverish people.  There are folks here in New York on Wall Street as we have heard use cocaine.  There are other places where people in Hollywood use cocaine.  So to folks is exclusively on this narrows sort of subset of user is limiting of course. 

Question: Is there a drug potency that is underplayed?

Hart:    Nicotine, a couple of milligrams is enough to kill you, if it’s just pure nicotine.  So that’s really dangerous but people still figured out how to use the drug safely and so when we talked about dangers we have to, we have to be clear about what we’re talking about so when we think about dangerous, alcohol withdrawal.  People can die from alcohol withdrawal.  If folks have been abusing alcohol for extended period of time then they go to withdrawal they could actually die but in the movies we often times see heroin withdrawal being portrayed as excruciating, agonizing pain people don’t die from heroin withdrawal so in terms of danger you can see that alcohol is potentially fatal.  That’s dangerous.  Now, there are if you take for example high, high doses of amphetamines, we know from laboratory animal studies that you can potentially cause some neural toxicity, that is kill brain cells.  We’ve seen that sort of thing but people don’t typically do those kinds of doses but we’re talking just danger.


Carl Hart Examines at Drugs...

Newsletter: Share: