WATCH: Ideas Rule the World, not Kings or Corporations

What will historians say about our time 250 years from now? Lawrence Summers asks this question in a thought-provoking lecture about the evolution of ideas.

What will historians say about our time 250 years from now? In this final video of our Floating University playlist, Lawrence Summers, economist, professor, former president of Harvard University, and economic adviser to President Barack Obama, asks this question in a thought-provoking lecture about the evolution of ideas and the critical importance of education in an increasingly multifaceted world.


What is it that we do that seems natural to us today that will seem barbaric 100 years from now? This question is all the more important given the rapid rise of globalization, the explosion of human interconnectedness, and an accelerating technology curve. This will be a moment in history when the world evolved from a world governed by the idea of authority to a world governed by the authority of ideas and Summers tells you how to become a part of the next great revolution.

Countries with more butter have happier citizens

Butter supply and life satisfaction are linked – but by causation or correlation?

Image: Carey Tilden/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0
Strange Maps
  • Haiti and other countries with low butter supply report low life satisfaction.
  • The reverse is true for countries like Germany, which score high in both categories.
  • As the graph below shows, a curious pattern emerges across the globe. But is it causation or correlation?
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Jordan Peterson on why you need to clean your room

Sometimes the basics really matter.

Dr. Jordan Peterson. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Personal Growth
  • Jordan Peterson believes that only by taking care of your immediate environment can you then move onto bigger challenges.
  • The idea stems from millennials who want to change capitalist economic structures though can be applied broadly.
  • In a distracted age, our inability to pay attention to our environment is leading to increased rates of anxiety and depression.
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Will Hunt (explorer) – into the Earth: the mysteries and meanings of underground spaces

The catacombs of Paris. Secret graffiti beneath NYC. The hidden cities of Cappadocia. Writer and explorer Will Hunt is your philosophical tour guide to what lies beneath.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "The surface of the earth is where we're rational . . . Part of us dreads the chaos, and part of us is always attracted to it."
  • "There were these things hanging from the ceiling…long strands of bacteria called "snotsicles"… But at our feet was a natural stream that had been running through Brooklyn forever."
  • "It's…about death. Undergoing a death. We're going into the other world and then retreating to the surface… changed in some way."
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