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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.

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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Michael Walzer:  Well, it’s a… In this book, the theme that David Miller, who collect these or his favorites of my essays, the theme that he identified and used as the title is a commitment to politics. Because it has often seem to me that there is a certain kind of political theory and perhaps a certain kind of a [luddites] politics, sometimes on the right and sometimes on the left of people who don’t like politics. They don’t like the messiness. They think that there must be a true path and somebody must know it. And once we know it, we should just somehow find a way to walk along that path and not be distracted by personal ambition and political interests and all of the arguments. It happened with John [Rowe] that certain people read his book, which was a wonderful book, and decided that he was right. And if of different principle was the crucial principle of decent or egalitarian or just politics and that therefore the Supreme Court should start enforcing it. And you didn’t have to win elections because we now knew, we now knew what was right. And that kind of a [luddism], that kind of… on the left is [vanguardism] I have always disliked.

 

Michael Walzer on His Essays

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