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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: Beyond a simple title, how would you describe what you do?


Ingrid Newkirk: What I do is try to open people’s mind and their hearts to the concept that you are faced with choices in every minute of your life; from the moment you get up, what you put on, what you wear, where you go, what you buy, what you say. And you can make a compassionate choice or a cruel choice. You can be rude to people or you can be decent to them. You can try to understand or you can turn a blind eye. You can be greedy, or you can just see how much you need. And nobody can be the Buddha. Not even the Buddha was the Buddha. I think nobody can live as if they’re really just having the very, very simplest of lives. But you can be actively kind.

My goal in life is to say try and make kind choices. Learn about the other life forms who feel joy, and love, and pain every bit as much as you do; and who feel the cold, and don’t want to suffer, and struggle for their lives. And then once you know what your role is in causing them suffering – and it could be a removed role, just as we didn’t know about child labor for a shoe manufacturer; or we didn’t know about gold or diamond mining and what that does to people; learn where your food comes from. Learn where your clothes come from. And if they come from cruelty, choose something else. And I wish to facilitate that change and to make it really easy for people.


Recorded on: November 12, 2007



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