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

Lessons of the Past

Stephen Walt: I had some wonderful professors as an undergraduate who were quite inspirational. But the one moment I remember was in my junior year. I was studying overseas. I was actually at the Stanford program in Berlin. And Gordon Craig, who was a historian at Stanford – a quite distinguished historian of German history – was doing a lecture to our class about Weimar, Germany. And it was about what intellectuals had done in Weimar, Germany, which was basically to behave in a completely irresponsible way. They disengaged from politics. They started worrying more about art and other things as opposed to caring about real affairs. And he basically said, you know, part of the reason we got the Nazis; and part of the reason we got Hitler; and part of the reason we got World War II was that the intellectuals in Weimar, Germany abdicated their social responsibility. And I was, at that point, trying to decide whether or not to go to law school or go do graduate work in political science. And I remember thinking, you know, that there was a role to . . . to play as an intellectual, but remaining engaged in politics. And that . . . I remember that being sort of the moment which I decided I was going to graduate school and not to law school.

Recorded on: 10/8/07

 

 

On Wiemar Intellectuals

Newsletter: Share: