Are Big Ideas Dead?

Aug 22, 2011

Ever since Neil Gabler's essay ran in the New York times two Sundays ago, I've been wondering whether he's right when he says:

"If our ideas seem smaller nowadays, it’s not because we are dumber than our forebears but because we just don’t care as much about ideas as they did. In effect, we are living in an increasingly post-idea world — a world in which big, thought-provoking ideas that can’t instantly be monetized are of so little intrinsic value that fewer people are generating them and fewer outlets are disseminating them, the Internet notwithstanding. Bold ideas are almost passé." If we don't care, why don't we care? Gabler seems to think we're too distracted by little stuff to care about big stuff. I'm not sure I agree. The TED lectures have more than 500 million online views. And even a forum as occasionally unreliable as Wikipedia seems like a crucible for working on and disseminating Big Ideas. We're bringing in our own Big Ideas people today. Leave your comments below, e-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.