The dangers of unorthodox thinking
| Creativity is very important in all societies. Parents provide their children with an abundance of coloring books and toys in order to improve their creativity. Entrepreneurship is also encouraged; as parents help their children set up lemonade stands and aid them to succeed in their cupcake sales. New innovations and ideas are constantly emboldened and regarded as necessary for our society’s progress. One might say that the development and future of our society rests in the minds of radical and innovative thinkers.
Unfortunately, normalcy is also forced upon our children through sanctions or the use of rewards and punishments in order to encourage conformity. From a young age we are taught to accept others differences, but we are often ridiculed for being different. Our view of success is also molded by others through these social sanctions. Our school systems are not necessarily shaped for every mind, yet everyone is required to attend; because after all you're a failure if you don't graduate from school, right?
This contradictory thinking, which our society has instilled upon us, can cause not only confusion but disaster too. Is it possible to be so creative and innovative that one is rejected by society because of their new way of thinking? In history, there have been numerous situations where this problem had occurred. Geniuses, that are literally too genius to be understood by society.
In 1865 Ignaz Semmelweis, who originally proposed that hand washing would drastically reduce hospital fatalities, was diagnosed with dementia, prescribed a beat down at an insane asylum, and then rewarded with death, by virtually the same disease he had wanted to eradicate. Doctors at the time were appalled and offended when he accused them of being dirty enough to actually kill their patients. Or how about George Zweig, who in 1964 was blackballed from his university for his “insane” notions of invisible particles, which we know today as quarks. Gregor Mendel, who pioneered the science of genetics, flunked out of school, and Ludwig Boltzmann, who founded the study of statistical thermodynamics and defended the idea of atoms, was even pushed to take his own life.
How can our society be so hypocritical when it comes to the idea of creativity and innovative thinking? Of course these scientists' theories were not instantly accepted or proven, or they would have been praised instead of killed, pushed to suicide, or driven insane. However, there is a lot we can learn from these fellows' unfortunate circumstances. We must learn to accept radical and new ways of thinking and look into them, rather than ridiculing the pioneers of new ideas. How can we try to teach our children to respect everyone's differences, when we cannot even value another person's theories? As a society we must lead by example, in order to encourage the creativity and innovation of future generations.