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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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Billy Collins:    Well first of all, I’m not terribly unhappy that poetry has a small audience.  This is not something that keeps me up at night.  One of the reasons it has a small audience is that there’s a lot of unreadable poetry being written.  So I don’t see it as the fault of a Philistine, poetry-hating, barbarian public.  I think it’s just as much the fault of poets who ignore their readers and write . . . either indulge in  self-expression period, and that’s a highly rated, over-rated activity because no one really cares about you the stranger.  Or they write terribly obscure, riddle type poetry.  

And many times you get a vicious combination of self-expression and obscurity.  So who would want to read it in the first place?  And like jazz, or like chamber music, or like keeping tropical fish, poetry has a fairly small, but very intense audience.  And often the smaller the audience, the more intense the participants feel about this interest.  I mean you can compare that to television.  It has a broad audience, but I don’t think anyone carries an intensity about it.  They just watch it.


Cultivating Respect for the...

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