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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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Well first do no harm. There is a diet plan that somebody told me about that was being marketed a while ago which was called “Stop the Insanity.” Just stop the insanity. Stop invading other countries. Stop pouring bushel fulls of money on corrupt governments. Stop twisting countries’ arms to adopt the kind of reform that experts in Washington and New York think they ought to adopt, which is really the wrong way to go about implementing any free markets or democracy. It can’t be imposed and coerced on other societies. Other societies have to freely choose their own freedom. It’s a ridiculous thing to think that we, the west, can impose freedom on other people. That contradicts the very idea of freedom. Freedom arises when people freely choose to protect their own freedoms, to seize their own freedoms, to assert their own freedoms. And so a lot of what the west can do is just stop doing the stupid thing we’re doing now. And once we get to that point, then I think there’s some positive things the west can do as far as exchanging intellectual ideas, exchanging technologies, making available technologies, making available our institutions of higher learning to students from all over the world, allowing free trading goods so that African cotton farmers can sell their cotton in our markets, which we’re not letting them into at the moment. That kind of thing, I think, is what mainly the west can do. Recorded On: 7/6/07


What is America's place in ...

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