The Biggest Limitation on Human Thought: Certainty

I think that human beings are most limited in their tendency to pursue certainty and to think that answers are somehow absolute or even beneficial. 

I think that human beings are most limited in their tendency to pursue certainty and to think that answers are somehow absolute or even beneficial.  The degree to which we can go about the process of living as humans in increasingly interesting ways, in increasingly productive ways, is one in which we need to make our society operate, but once we get things working this can enslave us at a certain level.  This can entrap us.  


This can make us work according to other peoples' terms and they can put us on the track of trying to improve them in terms of finding better and better answers at the level of making things work more and more efficiently.  

What we need is to step outside of that.  We need to instead think about what those mechanisms are, what those technologies are, in which we can pursue questions that are bigger than those technologies, bigger than those routines, and therefore, lead to a more fulfilling life in which other opportunities for thinking and other opportunities for engaging our world come about every day.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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Harvard: Men who can do 40 pushups have a 'significantly' lower risk of heart disease

Turns out pushups are more telling than treadmill tests when it comes to cardiovascular health.

Airman 1st Class Justin Baker completes another push-up during the First Sergeants' push-up a-thon June 28, 2011, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Participants were allowed 10 minutes to do as many push-ups as they could during the fundraiser. Airman Baker, a contract specialist assigned to the 354th Contracting Squadron, completed 278 push-ups. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Janine Thibault)
Surprising Science
  • Men who can perform 40 pushups in one minute are 96 percent less likely to have cardiovascular disease than those who do less than 10.
  • The Harvard study focused on over 1,100 firefighters with a median age of 39.
  • The exact results might not be applicable to men of other age groups or to women, researchers warn.
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U.S. reacts to New Zealand's gun ban

On Thursday, New Zealand moved to ban an array of semi-automatic guns and firearms components following a mass shooting that killed 50 people.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Gun control supporters are pointing to the ban as an example of swift, decisive action that the U.S. desperately needs.
  • Others note the inherent differences between the two nations, arguing that it is a good thing that it is relatively hard to pass such legislation in such a short timeframe.
  • The ban will surely shape future conversations about gun control in the U.S.
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