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: What forces have shaped humanity most?

 

David Patrick Columbia: God. Geez. Oh sun and the moon for one. What’s going on now in our civilization because of what we call technology is definitely shaping the way we think and the way we approach things. And because of technology – which is visibly miraculous versus those things that are not visible which are miraculous – these are definitely shaping the way we approach things. As I told you I was just over in Abu Dhabi which only 25 years ago was completely an arid desert with nothing growing. And now there is a whole civilization there that almost looks like Manhattan and operates like Manhattan. And this is all the result of technological innovation. And this is actually allowing people to think that anything is possible. And while I do think anything is possible when we are dependent on, say, energy sources like fossil fuels which are not infinite, then anything under those circumstances is not possible; yet we tend to think of it that way. So that’s part of how our humanity has been shaped under these circumstances. And where that’s gonna go I don’t know.

Well I always think of Americans as having a “can-do” attitude about things. Part of that is that we live in a large continent that for a very, very long time – since the Europeans came here and basically moved in on the natives and took it away from them – we have taken this attitude . . . There’s been so much abundance of everything – of water, of all kinds of natural resources – that we’ve come to believe that we can absolutely do anything we want or anything we think of because of that. And part of that probably is the same as if a person is born into tremendous wealth. They tend to think they can do and have anything they want without limitations. The wiser ones know that’s not true and the dumber ones don’t. And so we’re at a place right now in this country where we’re having to deal with something like that. And where that will take us I don’t know. But we’re still are a country of tremendous abundance.

 

Conducted on: October 29, 2007

 

 

Who are we?

Newsletter: Share: