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A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

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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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Question: Who inspires your thinking?

Philip Weiss: I think Steve Walt’s a great man. I think that he’s a very brave person and he’s paid a big price for sticking his neck out and he is-- What interests me about Steve Walt is that here is a guy who is exactly my age who is far more successful than I am in conventional-- He’s-- He was a former dean at Harvard and he has- and he lives in Brookline and he operates as I do in a very Jewish world and is very comfortable in that Jewish world, and here he has taken on the sort of- this principal institution of Jewish life, which is the Israel lobby. He’s taken it on directly and has I’m sure suffered a lot in his world for having done so. So I admire that. I’m a little bit of an intellectual radical at times myself. I don’t think he is by temperament. His coauthor, John Mearsheimer, I believe is an intellectual radical but I sort of admire Walt for being- for sticking by his guns and—I think that-- I’m a Jew and so I have- and I’m on the left and I’ve always had a certain-- I never really studied this question. I avoided the question because I just knew I would be on the Palestinian side and that there is just no- I’d be swimming upstream in my social circles, and then after 9/11 I had no choice I felt but to start looking at this stuff. And so I think that I have always looked to other Jews as models of how to talk about these things, and of course Noam Chomsky on the left is just a great man. He’s just a heroic figure and he has- he’s just a genius in his field and he’s now just been- he’s a world figure. It’s just amazing. This guy has educated the world and I- and he’s helped- he’s given a lot of younger Jews like myself permission to look at this issue in new ways and he’s never emotional. He doesn’t get angry. He’s a very logical, cerebral person. It’s just a great thing to have around so—


Philip Weiss' Influences

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