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

I think human nature is very adaptable. There are certain instinctual identities with one’s family, with one’s tribe, with one’s co-religionists. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into decency toward the other, however that’s defined, even if the other is your next door neighbor. And I think the challenge for the human rights movement is to overcome what are countervailing tendencies toward treating that other as the enemy; as a lesser human being; as somebody who can be used purely instrumentally; who doesn’t have to be treated with respect; who can be killed if necessary. That is also an element of human nature. And I think our task is to expand the concept of community sufficiently so that people are willing to treat large numbers of people with the basic respect that rights require, ideally at a global level – which is not easy because it’s hard to speak of the global community in any meaningful sense. But that obviously is the goal, so that all of us act as if everyone on earth has the entitlement to these same basic rights. But I don’t think that that in any sense is a natural inclination. It’s a possibility, one that needs to be nurtured by building up public morality; building up public expectations about behavior; building up institutions that reinforce those instincts or behavior, and gradually getting to the point where we can, with greater degrees of dependability and expectations, see people live and treat each other with respect for these basic rights. But it by no means is an inevitability.

Recorded on: 8/14/07

 

Re: What is human nature?

Newsletter: Share: