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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: What is the measure of a good life?

Billy Collins:    I think decency to people.  Courtesy is very much a part of it, I think.  I keep going back to Wordsworth, but he  he suggested our . . . the better part of our lives is – the thread that connects our lives – is composed of what he calls little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.  And it’s very important that these acts are unremembered.  You know, if you do something consciously for someone and remember it . . .  Well I mean, an endowment is a nice thing to do and get your name on the gymnasium or the library.  That’s one kind of contribution.  But equally as important, I think, to stitch your days together is just a kind of moving through the world with a kind of courtesy.  I think that leads to . . .  It seems almost trivial in terms of . . . like a point of etiquette . . . but I think courtesy leads to much biggest things. But you have to start with the tiny gestures.

 

What is the measure of a go...

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