What is Big Think?  

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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
With rendition switcher


Henry Rollins: When someone asks you ‘what’s punk?’ my reply is “If you have to ask, you’re never going to know.”  Apparently someone asked Louie Armstrong or Lightening Hopkins what jazz or the blues were respectively, and apparently that’s the answer they gave them, so I don’t know who said what to whom when, but a lot of times if you have to ask. . . . 

I think it changes from person to person.  So what is punk?  Everything from the Velvet Underground to Occupy Wall Street and anything in between.  The kid who throws his spaghetti from the high chair onto his father’s face, he’s pushing back.  He’s sticking it to the man as he sees it.  I like that.  So that is punk.  

So is there punk rock today?  Is there punk?  Is there a punk ethic?  Absolutely.  Where there is young people and vitality you’re going to find punk rock.  You’ll find it in the youth of Tehran who want a different future.  You’ll find it in young people in Saudi Arabia who look at Sharia law and go “No, and I might have to die to overturn it, but I'm not taking this.”  That to me is punk rock.  The questioning of authority, pushing back against established structures of authority, of government, of the way it is.  Questioning anything and everything to me is punk rock.  It’s also very Jeffersonian, and so that to me is punk rock.  You can ask the next person.  He or she might tell you something different, so it is subjective.  

So is it present in our lives today?  Absolutely.  I find it in music.  I find it in art.  I find it in filmmaking.  I find it in these amazing demonstrations happening all over the world, these Twitter-fed, Facebook-fed flash-mobbing revolutions that are happening all over the world that are indeed changing the course of government, ousting people like Hosni Mubarak and changing people’s minds. 

So yeah, punk rock is alive and well.   

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd


More from the Big Idea for Friday, January 24 2014

Remodeling the Brain

The brain is not a finished product at birth. In fact, the brain develops in stages. One of the most important times of development happens during adolescence, when the brain remodels itself in or... Read More…


What is Punk?

Newsletter: Share: