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: How has New York society changed in the last decade?

 

David Patrick Columbia:   Well since I’ve been following, it’s changed only in the sense that when I first started, the people who were then in their 60s, and their 70s, and their 80s who once reigned in society still had a presence and an influence. And that presence and influence is related to an earlier part of the century because they were young, say, in the 1920s, ‘30s, or ‘40s. And the _______ and _______of our society were considerably different than they are today. And so they have gone. They’re not here. And so a lot of the things that were; the phrase “This is just not done,” or “This is just not acceptable”; those phrases no longer are operative because we now live in a society where people in their 50s and 60s like me only have a dim memory of that kind of traditional way of living.

Well in the last decade; So you’re talking about 1996 to 2006 or 2007? I think that New York society really hasn’t changed all that much in the last decade except for one thing. Things have speeded up more. We’re been living in a festival of speculation in many, many ways. And so it’s just gotten faster and it’s become more and more overnight. You have people now, because of the Internet, you have a lot of people who pursue celebrity personally to make themselves celebrity. Paris Hilton is a perfect example of that. She’s kind of the prototype celebrity of the last decade. And actually that celebrity is based on absolutely nothing but exposure.

 

Question: How will this age in New York society be remembered?

 

David Patrick Columbia: I think this age in New York society will probably be remembered in many ways very frivolous, but in many ways very creative; and probably very influential because of the philanthropic aspect that I mentioned earlier, which is; 40 or 50 years ago there was philanthropy of course, and there was a lot of volunteerism; but it wasn’t so much a part of the consciousness of this being a prerequisite to belonging. And it is now. And so that’s going to stay with us for quite some time I think.

 

Question: Are there people in New York society you find inspiring?

 

David Patrick Columbia: That’s a really hard question to answer. Let’s say there are; I can’t say there are individuals in New York society that I’ve found particularly inspiring; but there are people, because of my work, and because of the connections that my work makes for me, there are a number of people that I’ve met or been in the presence of who are inspiring in the sense that they’re very, very smart. And they’re very good thinkers, and I’m very impressed by that.

 

Conducted on: October 29, 2007

 

 

Philanthropy and New York S...

Newsletter: Share: