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mattbrowne's avatar

What is your ultimate big picture?

Asked by mattbrowne (31585points) October 3rd, 2010

We often read or hear comments like “you’ve got to see the bigger picture here”. What does this really mean? And if there’s a bigger picture about something, is this bigger picture just part of an even bigger picture?

Webster defines big picture as an entire perspective on a situation or issue. Do bigger issues have even bigger big pictures? How long could this go on?

Does the notion of an ultimate big picture even make sense to you? I googled the phrase and got more than 100,000 hits. Here’s an example:

The Causal Pathway is divided into five main components: Impact, Effects, Outputs, Activities and Inputs, and we will describe each one in turn… The ultimate “big picture” reason that we undertake many of our programs is to improve the social, economic and health status of the population with which we are working. In the language of the Causal Pathway, this ultimate purpose of the program is the desired Impact.

Is ultimate big picture the same as ultimate purpose?

What is the scope of your big picture, or ultimate big picture if you’ve got one? And what do you think about the term as such?

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32 Answers

nebule's avatar

When I think about the bigger picture it brings me to the thought of… at the bottom of everything does this really matter? The bigger picture for me then is not only stepping outside of my own subjectivity and being objective but also trying to see ultimate truth and humility of any given situation. If I was sat in the sky looking out on the vast array of the earth…my perspective would change and that’s the bigger picture

lillycoyote's avatar

If I had a grasp on or any deep understanding of any ultimate big picture you would already be here, sitting at my feet, waiting for me to tell you what the ultimate big picture was, having made the pilgrimage here solely for that purpose. Since that is not the case, since you are merely asking the question randomly of people on fluther, my answer would be no, I certainly do not have an ultimate “big picture.”

mattbrowne's avatar

@lillycoyote – What do you mean by merely asking the question randomly of people? What would be the online alternative? Use email?

lillycoyote's avatar

@mattbrowne I guess I didn’t mean that you are “merely asking the question randomly of people.” I misspoke. I meant that you are asking the question of a random selection of people. That’s different. Though, flutherites might not be an entirely random group, they may be self selected for certain characteristics.

augustlan's avatar

For me, the big picture is an ever widening circle, beginning with what’s right here in front of me. At the moment, it’s just me and my computer. A little wider, and it’s my family… our lives. As it grows, it encompasses more and more people, until every human being on the planet is in the circle. Even future generations. That would be my ‘ultimate big picture’.

At each step along the way, it’s about “what impact will this have on: me/my family/friends; people in my city/state/country/world; the planet; the future?” I guess, for me, it boils down to “Think globally and long-term.”

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

For me, the ultimate big picture is to know—as Carl Sagan put it—that we are made of star stuff. That the stuff which formed when the universe began 13.7 billion years ago is found in me is amazing, and “amazing” is such an understatement. I am made of the same stuff as our sun and all the other stars and galaxies and galaxy clusters and ultimately the universe. We are all connected.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

The big picture, to me, means that all the daily worries connected to money, lack of it, things we want and things that seem to matter like drama or something on the computer, don’t matter when you consider that all the important things worth living for are free and can be taken away from you in an instant. The bigger picture helps one remember what’s important when they’re involved in meaningless self-criticism or guilt-tripping and moves one forward to care about the environment we live in, actually.

lovestolearn's avatar

In my work place I sometimes hear persons say “the big picture” when someone is perceiving
that the discussion is getting off track, or on a tangent. It’s used as a way of reining in the
thought streams and keeping on task. I can appreciate management’s pledge to keep on track, but I also get mildly irritated as I believe much creative thinking may emerge when meandering off focus. This is my personal bias…

ucme's avatar

Oh that’ll be the photograph of the MIL’s arse. Peppered in darts it is too :¬)

Rarebear's avatar

This question reminds me of The Galaxy Song

Fred931's avatar

There can always be a bigger picture, so there is no so-called “big picture” because there is no end to an infinity.

lloydbird's avatar

Ultimately, there is only One picture.
And any aspects of It (such that we all are) can only know that, aspects.

YARNLADY's avatar

In the long run, none of it really matters at all.

Fred931's avatar

The last 3 posts have consecutively topped each other. W2G.

mattbrowne's avatar

@YARNLADY – It doesn’t matter? Why?

Fred931's avatar

@mattbrowne It actually matters just as much as this post.

lloydbird's avatar

@Fred931 I think that “this post” matters quite “much”.

Fred931's avatar

@lloydbird I meant my own last post, which was very close to pointless.

Fred931's avatar

Oh f*** it, I’ve confused myself again. Carry on, smart people.

Trillian's avatar

When I think of my “Big picture” I begin to blur the lines a bit. Where does my bg picture leave off and that of the world begin? Where is the overlap? And how much am I leaving out through ignorance? What am I not taking into account?
I think that the big picture for me on a micro scale would be myself and kids, our lives, but so many things touch our lives that from a macro sense it would have to encompass more and more, and I would have to step further and further back to see it all.
In another sense, you could equate it with the question “why?” Why does this or that happen? Why do these people act in this or that way? You could make it more and more generic and vague until one comes up with; “Why anything?”

YARNLADY's avatar

@mattbrowne The big picture takes into consideration the beginning of the Universe and the end if there will be one, but between those two things, nothing we do or don’t do will have any lasting effect.

mattbrowne's avatar

@YARNLADY – This sounds rather pointless. Well, I feel differently about it.

YARNLADY's avatar

@mattbrowne yes, that’s what I’m saying

mattbrowne's avatar

@YARNLADY – I don’t think your life is pointless.

YARNLADY's avatar

@YARNLADY in 100 years from now, no one will even remember my name, and there will be very little sign that I even existed.

lloydbird's avatar

@YARNLADY What is your name?

So I can remember it.

YARNLADY's avatar

@lloydbird Am I being too active on this question?

flutherother's avatar

The ultimate big picture can be no bigger than the heart.

lloydbird's avatar

@flutherother ”..the heart.” of a what?

flutherother's avatar

Of a human being, any human being. I just meant that in looking at bigger and bigger pictures you can forget what is important.

lloydbird's avatar

@flutherother I see. And so we should get closer to the heart, sort of thing?

flutherother's avatar

@lloydbird Yes, that’s what I was trying to say.

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