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

Big Think & Salon present a conversation with Joan Blades

Well, working to engage citizens actively in public dialogue is really the big thing I do. My background is in fact as an attorney mediator. It’s been a path that’s taken me many places I didn’t expect. And Move On was, in fact, something that was never anticipated to turn into a movement; but I’ve learned along the way many things about how valuable it is to have all those voices participating. And it’s very coherent with what is a natural inclination to bring people together to participate in making decisions about their lives. And I’ve come to believe that one of the greatest hopes for our country’s health – and in fact the world’s well-being – is real citizen participation, and informed citizen participation. Move On has created this fabulous community. Moms Rising is now putting together this different community of people that have the disconnect and are finding, you know, in person and online ways to really connect with each other, and also really make a difference in their communities. Move On is now 3.3 million members. And having a strong, progressive voice speaking on behalf of average citizens I think is hugely important. I believe it’s been a model where I hope that more and more groups will come together as with Moms Rising, Color Change . . . these groups that say, “These are issues that I want to do something.” And it’s a way to allow us to build a voice, and amplify each others’ voice, and really have a meaningful participation in the political process. And political process is not getting enough of that good common sense. There’s a book called “The Wisdom of Crowds”, and it basically says that a crowd is going to give you a better answer than an expert, absent certain negative dynamics. And it really is something I’ve come to see in action working with Move On, and now Moms Rising. People are brilliant. With Move On, it was like “caught a tiger by the tail”. All of a sudden we had hundreds of thousands of people saying, “Okay. What are we gonna do?” And we were fairly creative and thoughtful people, and was started saying, “Alright. Well let’s deliver the petitions in person to our . . .” And so we had Move On members in person delivering constituent petitions all around the country. And we spend, you know . . . It took a week to organize that. The sort of thing that would have taken months to organize prior to the connectivity of the Internet, we could let people know in an hour that tomorrow, there’s going to be a vote in the house on impeachment. Here’s your representative’s phone number. You might want to call and tell them how you feel. And so we made it really easy to participate. And people appreciated it. You know, there was this vacuum of leadership. I think that’s how Move On started. And people finally saying something sensible. And we come to it with an understanding that our job is to serve our members, and listen to them, and help them participate in the most meaningful way they can, and the most effective way they can. Most mothers need to work now. Now in most families you have two parents working, and it’s . . . it’s a need. The mommy war story is largely media created, because most of us that have kids are gonna be working . . . If we’re lucky enough to be able to take time out, we’re gonna be working again soon. And you know, if we’re fortunate enough to be able to be off on a long-term basis, how can you fault other women that need to support their children? It’s just not a . . . It’s not a common thing. What I’ve seen among most people is a pretty good understanding that as a country, that’s where we are now. Do you make the choice not to work and live in a neighborhood that’s very dangerous? Or do you decide to work because you feel like your kid’s gonna be safer or go to better schools? I can’t make judgments about other people about “this is right” and “that is wrong,” but these are parents’ decisions and we have to respect them. And I think that most people know that respecting other parents’ decisions is the best thing we can do.

A brief conversation with Joan Blades, Co-Founder of MoveOn.org and Founder of MomsRising.org.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the 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

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

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

Videos
  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast