How to live an intellectual life

Being an intellectual is not really how it is depicted in popular culture.

  • When you picture an intellectual, who do you see? Professor Zena Hitz says that somewhere along the way, the idea of what an intellectual is and does became distorted.
  • "The real thing is something more extraordinary but also more available to us," Hitz adds, differentiating between an intellectual life constantly in pursuit of something else, and one that enjoys ordinary activities like reading and thinking.
  • An example is young Albert Einstein, who spoke highly of his time working in a patent office and hatching "beautiful ideas" long before becoming a famous physicist.


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Godzilla vs. Kong: A morphologist chooses the real winner

Ultimately, this is a fight between a giant reptile and a giant primate.

The 2021 film “Godzilla vs. Kong" pits the two most iconic movie monsters of all time against each other. And fans are now picking sides.

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13 films everyone should watch and why—as voted by you

A curated watchlist from Big Think readers.

Credit: Columbia Pictures / Walt Disney Studios
  • We asked Big Think's readers and staff for their recommendations on films everyone should watch.
  • A collection of fiction and non-fiction works from around the world, these movies will entertain and expand your horizons.
  • The films cover various topics, explore numerous themes, and shed light on several controversial historical events.
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How “WandaVision” goes beyond peak superhero stories

Even diehard fans are experiencing superhero exhaustion. But it's not impossible to do something original.

Credit: "WandaVision" by Marvel Studios
  • I'm a comic book fan 50 years in the making but, over the last few years, even I have found myself with superhero fatigue.
  • Then came "WandaVision". The writers have found a way to blunt our expectations about what should happen in this kind of genre.
  • Formula fatigue isn't just a problem for the superhero genre. Creators of sci-fi, detective, romance, and buddy-comedies can recapture exhausted audiences by telling a story differently—or telling a different story.
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How sci-fi helps humanity avoid species-level mistakes

Technology of the future is shaped by the questions we ask and the ethical decisions we make today.

  • Robots (from the Czech word for laborer) began appearing in science fiction in the early 1900s as metaphors for real world ideas and issues surrounding class struggles, labor, and intelligence. Author Ken MacLeod says that the idea that robots would one day rebel was baked into the narrative from the start. As technologies have advanced, so too have our fears.
  • "Science fiction can help us to look at the social consequences, to understand the technologies that are beginning to change our lives," says MacLeod. He argues that while robots in science fiction are a reflection of humanity, they have little to do with our actual machines and are "very little help at all in understanding what the real problems and the real opportunities actually are."
  • AI has made the threat of "autonomous killer robots" much more of a possibility today than when Asimov wrote his three laws, but it's the decisions we make now that will determine the future. "None of these developments are inevitable," says MacLeod. "They're all the consequences of human actions, and we can always step back and say, 'Do we really want to do this?'"

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