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

1

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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: From where do you draw your inspiration?

Robert Thurman: But where I do draw my inspiration is from whatever I can glean about the nature of the world, you know, Buddha was a person who, confronted reality actually, according to our understanding of what Buddha was, he was not a prophet who was commissioned by a God to go out and proclaim that everybody should believe in that God so that they’d then – because that God could then save them.  Buddha talked to the God and the Gods said, look, we can’t really help, we - we’re very powerful and we help some people in some ways, but we can’t change people’s evolutionary destinies, it’s up to them, and so Buddha taught people that they – if they confront themselves and reality they can understand themselves and reality and when they do, they will be inspired, they will be cheered up, because reality itself is a source of nourishment, it’s a source of health, it’s a source of joy, if you really know it.  All the misery and all the unsatisfactoriness and all the dissatisfaction comes from being caught in different kinds of illusions, and trying to manipulate the world to sort of fit with whatever your illusion is, and fit it into your illusion, and to that of course the world doesn’t react to well, and you can’t do that, and so then you get sick or you die or you suffer and then you – you’re frustrated.  So my inspiration actually comes from, and I don’t claim to be enlightened, but I have had a little better exposure to reality by developing a little more sharp critical mindedness, and focused mindedness, and by doing that I see the world I think more realistically than I did, and by seeing it that way I get inspired and by – and I get cheered up and by being inspired and cheered up I’d like to see other people inspired and cheered up.  But the problem is you can’t just inspire them and cheer them up by telling them to believe in something like a religious thing, you have to encourage them, and that’s why teaching is a great privilege and a wonderful thing to do, because by teaching you – in the true sense, it doesn’t mean indoctrinating and it doesn’t mean sort of brainwashing in this sort of thing.  Truly teaching means  bringing out people’s own intelligence and letting them suddenly feel their own critical mind that they could see through the delusions that they are – that are foisted upon them by their culture and by you know, the media and by all sorts of things, and that is a real thrill that someone said wow, understand something new and has like a profound either aesthetic or philosophical experience, and it’s a real joy to see that happen in someone, really is, so that’s what, that’s where my inspiration comes from is trying to be more aware of reality really.  We know foolish people say ignorance is bliss, but it’s the opposite, ignorance is suffering, and, wisdom is bliss, you know, meaning realistic knowledge of the world is bliss.

Recorded on: 6/1/07

 

It's Up to You to Change Yo...

Newsletter: Share: