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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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A lot inspires me. Great sunsets and sunrises inspire me. But cities with their hustle and bustle . . . When I wake up sometimes and it’s early, it’s 6 o’clock in New York City and the city is just beginning to wake up, and it’s quiet and I sit on . . . I have a roof garden. I sit on the garden and I can look down, and I can see the city about 30, 40 blocks, I can see from the roof. And I can see the city waking up. And I marvel at the intricacy of every single person doing their job. And the milk is gonna get to where the milk is supposed to be. And the bread, and the coffee, and the person at work, and millions of people moving around. And that as marvelous on one level as the intricacy that goes into the sunrise and sunset. And then I marvel at the courageousness and heroism of individual people in their lives. Just . . . I think that if you can get up every morning, really, and make a decision that I’m gonna hope a little bit more . . . even though day in and day out I think for many of us, we know that that hope is a faith statement. It’s not necessarily a truth. My father-in-law is dying of pancreatic cancer right now. And you know here’s a guy who lived a decent life, and a good man, a nice person, and married 55 years, and nice to his daughters, and a great . . . a wonderful grandfather and a very, very good father-in-law. You know God’s funny. You know the God that I don’t even believe in anymore. It’s funny. And now you’re gonna die now in a painful way, and that’s gonna be the end. I think that when push comes to shove, there is as much reason to despair and be cynical as there is to be hopeful and believe in the possibilities of life really triumphing. And because it’s really equal on both sides, the real heroism is to get up in the morning and say, “Okay. It’s equal on both sides. I’m gonna take the risk. I’m gonna risk hope. I’m gonna risk love.” Recorded on: 8/15/07


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