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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.

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Transcript

Question: What should we be doing as individuals?

Transcript:I don’t think that can be prescribed, you know, by any single individual because each of us are passionate about different things; but I can only say that, you know, for us . . . you know for each of us to live a life that is full of integrity is an enormous commitment. And in fact it’s a second by second commitment. It’s not just making sure that, you know, you’re recycling your Coca-Cola can, or that you’re . . . you’re responding when you hear that there’s genocide in Darfur; but that you’re alive to the complexity of every single interaction around you. I mean in this city for example, there is so much complexity to the interactions whether it’s race, or class, or sexual orientation. And so often we ignore the complexity of those interactions, and we don’t do what we can to bridge those . . . to bridge those gaps and to deepen our own understanding of who we are and how we are in the world. If you’re walking along the street and you’re a white woman, and you happen to notice that there’s two young black men coming towards you, and you find yourself thinking, “I feel in endangered. I feel threatened,” it’s up to you to take responsibility to analyze why you feel that way in that circumstance; and to do what you can to challenge yourself to reconfigure, you know, how it is that we’ve been wired, you know, by a media and by a culture that what’s us to think differently. Recorded on: 8/13/07

 

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