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

1

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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: Can we end indifference?

Cornel West: Yeah, but the thing about indifference is that it's always a choice that we make, you see. So that if you choose to have an iciness of soul and a hardening of heart and a coarsening of conscience, that leads towards indifference. That's why at the end of Dante's Inferno it's the iciness of Satan. You remember? The coldness. That's a choice. No matter what structures or dominations are in place, we can still choose to care, choose to care -- Sorge, that fundamental category that the Germans talked about, the care. And the bluesman and the blueswoman don't believe in optimism or pessimism, you see. I been down so long that down don't worry me no more; that's why I keep keeping on. The bluesman and the blueswoman are never indifferent. They're full of passion, they're full of caring about something. It could be last night, tomorrow night. It could be the society. Whatever.

You've got to sustain some kind of passion, and therefore the great bluesmen and women from Tony Morrison to white ones like Tennessee Williams to Bruce Springsteen on the vanilla side of town, along with Bob Dylan, or on the chocolate side of town, you know, it could be Leroy Carr or Curtis Mayfield or Aretha Franklin -- they are prisoners of hope. They're neither optimists nor pessimists; they are prisoners of hope because they care. As long as you care, and there's one little precious child out there with sparkling eyes, you've got to do something. And if you don't, the rocks are going to cry out. That's why Coltrane kept blowing his horn, my brother, because if he didn't blow his horn the rocks were going to cry out. That genius cared.

Recorded on: November 3, 2009

 

What Kept Coltrane’s Horn B...

Newsletter: Share: