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: What is old age and why are we so afraid of it?

Robert Butler: Well, elderly I think is really a word that should be applied to people more or like 80-85 and above. Otherwise, I prefer older persons because most older people actually remain vigorous and healthy until they begin to reach their 80s.

Robert Butler: People are afraid of death very much, but also the accompaniments of aging, that [Inaudible] it be independent, being physically ill, being compromised, not be able to walk properly, not having your balance, all of those are fearful things including of course cancer and heart disease.

Robert Butler: Well, the brain is very critical. If we have our mind, if we have our ability to think, if we recognize our loved ones, that makes a huge difference in our lives.

Question: How can we slow the process?

Robert Butler: Well, we can't the stop clock yet. We may be able to slow it, but we can't stop it. This is something I developed in my book The Longevity Revolution that it is possible now to actually slow aging. So, what we can do now is largely, within our own making about 25% of what happens to us and the length of our life is related to genes. 70-75% is us. Don’t smoke. Moderate alcohol. You should probably eat off the salad plate instead of the dinner plate. Modest intake of food and certainly, exercise, not just aerobic exercise, but also working those muscles and that is about it. Having a purpose in life, having passion, something to get up for in the mornings, something that makes a difference. People actually live longer. Also, if you have a body relationship, sometimes moral support system or social network that also leaves to a longer, healthier life. Women in particular do better in that regard. We men may have the old boy network and help each other get jobs, but we are not as capable of intimacy and closeness, dealing with grief, and we don't do as well as in having a healthy community or body of people to help us.

Recorded on: Mar 17 2008


Old Age

Newsletter: Share: