Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

TMI: We've Always Had Too Much Information (And We've Survived Just Fine)

Leibniz complained in the seventeenth century about the horrible mass of books that was overwhelming Europe and he said threatened a return to barbarism. 

The telegraph was the first technology, of course, that enabled virtually instantaneous messaging over long distances.  Before that, it’s almost impossible for us to, even though it’s less than 200 years, it’s, I think, for us to put our minds back in the place where the world was when you could not communicate more than a few feet or faster than a few days.  


The fastest a message could travel across the face of the earth was by Pony Express, and Pony Express, that was an express, that was super fast.  There was one exception to that in the opening chapter of my book, which was the talking drums of Africa, which astonished the first Europeans to arrive in that continent. 

Because Africans had a technology before there was an electrical telegraph in Europe that enabled them to send externally detailed and complex messages tens of miles in a matter of minutes, and that surpassed any technology that existed in Europe or Asia.

So there are a lot of lessons from history.  But another category of lesson is we’ve been here before, and, when we worry about too much information, when we look for new services to help us search and filter and find our way through the flood, it’s helpful to recognize that we aren't the first to have these problems.  

As soon as the printing press started flooding Europe with books, people were complaining that there were too many books and that it was going to change philosophy and the course of human thought in ways that wouldn't necessarily be good.  Leibniz complained in the seventeenth century about the horrible mass of books that was overwhelming Europe and he said threatened a return to barbarism.  So we aren't the first people to worry.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

3 "symptoms" of atheism, as described by a Christian minister

Do you get worried or angry? Ever forget to tithe? One minister has bad news for you.

Painting by John Bridges via Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • A recently published article claims to identify the symptoms of "low-level atheism."
  • Among these symptoms are worrying, cursing, and not tithing.
  • There is a solution to all of this though, not being an atheist. Sending in money is also involved.
Keep reading Show less

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less
Videos

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast