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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.

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Question: What’s the biggest challenge you face in your work?

Nancy Sherman:  I’m a parent of two amazing kids and—adult kids now, and a spouse, a wife, and an academic and a writer, and it may sound trivial, but being able to do well in all of those things all the time, or most of the time, some of the time, is always before me.  And it’s not just about juggling, but it’s about being there.  When my children were little, my son Jonathan would sort of catch on when I was playing Legos and I really wasn’t there, there with him.  You know, I wasn’t in the game and empathically involved because my head was thinking about some paragraph on the fabric of character I was about to write, or a lecture I had to give in the morning.  So, I think for me, the challenge is—and I feel this with my students too, to always remain empathically connected to the people that I’m with and  not be so busy...  But I think right now, I feel is the challenge and I share this, I’m sure with many others, I think we are about to implode because of being plugged in.  Everyone on the street has got their head in some little device, electronic device.  And my students feel guilty that they’ve been in a lecture for 15 minutes and someone might have been texting them and they haven’t been able to answer in the 15 minutes.  So, this sense of—you might say there’s a flip side of what I was saying, of being over-connected.  But it’s over-connected in an insidious way.  So, I’d say, go off to the mountains and smell and breathe and workout hard and attach to people in the real, physical, concrete, emotional way, and not just through cyberspace.  That would be the—that’s the instruction we have and the challenge to realize as well.


We’re So Plugged In, “We’re...

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