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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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Question: Do you have a personal philosophy?

Dovey: Yeah. I was actually born and raised agnostic, which I am quite proud of because we lived in a very conservative Christian community in South Africa. And so you know everyone thought that it was totally weird that we were agnostic. But I’ve always found that kind of interesting. I think it’s a tradition that’s as rich as any religious tradition. And certainly for my family we have rituals and events that are about being agnostic that, you know . . . they’re not about worshiping a text, or a god, or a prophet; but they’re actually just about being together and sort of in the moment. And so I think at the core of this sort of . . . You could call it a faith or a belief, is a sense of humility that, you know, we can’t deny this human condition that we find ourselves in, where none of us really knows why we’re here. And as a species that’s our . . . it’s our curse and it’s our blessing. And I think instead of allowing that uncertainty to freak us out, I think agnostics embrace it and see in it incredibly creative possibilities for how to live a fulfilling life that is never about doing things for some sort of future pleasure or future reward, but a kind of immediacy in living. And in my family’s incarnation of that, that means sort of a kind of taking a sort of joy in being together that’s the best kind of religion.

Recorded on: 12/6/07


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