How Imagination Can Save Us From Information Overload

The problem of having too much information at your fingertips was a problem the poet and novelist Percy Shelley was already aware of by the 19th century. He proposed a solution...

What’s the Latest Development?

It's impossible not to feel overwhelmed by all the information the Internet can supply on any given topic, let alone all its information combined. And while it might be small consolation, your sense of frustration has been shared by some of the most brilliant and creative minds in history. "As early as 1550, the Italian writer Anton Francesco Doni was complaining that there were ‘so many books that we do not even have time to read the titles.’ The 17th century's Comenius referred to granditas librorum -- the 'vast quantity of books' -- and Basnage to the 'flood.'"

What's the Big Idea?

For Percy Shelley, the 19th century poet, dramatist, novelist and critic, the presence of too much information was a brute fact. In 1821, while penning his A Defense of Poetry, Shelley found an antidote to the numbing drive for information. "We want the creative faculty to imagine that which we know; we want the generous impulse to act that which we imagine; we want the poetry of life; our calculations have outrun conception; we have eaten more than we can digest." For Shelly, the poetic faculty acted as a filter, ultimately saving us from our coarser selves. Today, we must find knowledge in data, and then wisdom in knowledge. 

Photo credit:

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

A.I. turns 57 million crop fields into stunning abstract art

Detailed (and beautiful) information on 57 million crop fields across the U.S. and Europe are now available online.

Image: OneSoil
Strange Maps
  • Using satellite images and artificial intelligence, OneSoil wants to make 'precision farming' available to the world.
  • The start-up from Belarus has already processed the U.S. and Europe, and aims for global coverage by 2020.
  • The map is practical, and more — browse 'Random Beautiful Fields' at the touch of a button.
Keep reading Show less

How 'dark horses' flip the script of success and happiness

What defines a dark horse? The all-important decision to pursue fulfillment and excellence.

Big Think Books

When we first set the Dark Horse Project in motion, fulfillment was the last thing on our minds. We were hoping to uncover specific and possibly idiosyncratic study methods, learning techniques, and rehearsal regimes that dark horses used to attain excellence. Our training made us resistant to ambiguous variables that were difficult to quantify, and personal fulfillment seemed downright foggy. But our training also taught us never to ignore the evidence, no matter how much it violated our expectations.

Keep reading Show less