The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”George Bernard Shaw
Look around you and you will easily identify a number of people who have a mind of their own, have their own pet beliefs and who march to a different drummer. A few of them may even seem to us to be on the fringes of being lunatic while others we treat as harmless nuts while a number of them seem to be rigid dogmatic individuals. A common thread that binds all these people and a few more brazen individuals is their inflexibility and obsessive urge to get the world to adopt and adapt to their dogma, point of view and skewed logic.
There are as many divergent views as there are people, and the beauty is the majority of the people agree to disagree without being disagreeable. However there is a miniscule population who are convinced that however tangential their ideas or beliefs they seek to get the world to follow them. While many of them may not be obnoxious or fanatical, they are unshakeable in their conviction and zeal. Some cult followers and religious bigots are the most visible form of those who attempt to make the world follow their dictum. However not all who are unshakeable in their pursuit of their own agenda are zealots’. There are many who are on an ego trip when they rebel against authority or perceived injustice and not really exhibiting a deep rooted belief. The number of small splinter groups who are constantly on strike for frivolous matters or the large number of so called social activists who file PILs are proof of the existence of people on an ego trip or people with a hidden agenda.
There of course still exists the true pioneers who forced the world to adapt to their thinking and have freed us from some of our age old mistaken beliefs and dogmas. Top of the list are scientists. Galileo for example, despite papal sanctions and pressure, propounded that the sun was at the centre of the universe disproving the centuries old belief that had the earth as the centre of the universe. The pioneering doctors who studied leprosy when little was known about it and removed the social stigma that leprosy was contagious. There are pioneers who discovered the technique of vaccination to protect the population from epidemics. Perhaps the inventors be it that of the computer, the internet, ATM machines or Credit cards deserve special mention too along with the scientist. All progress can easily be attributed to these people who persisted despite hiccups, discouragement and criticism.
At times we too display such dogmatism and obsession but none rooted in scholarly study or rational thought. For example while all of us are convinced that democracy is the best political system, we bitter complain about its pitfalls and weakness and many of us don’t cast our vote under the garb that any which way a scoundrel will be elected so how does my one vote count? Other times we are confused and unsure if we are being true to our beliefs or compromising on it. Are we adapting to the worlds ways when we find fault with corruption but prefer to pay a bribe when it comes to us getting our work done? One thing is clear the street smart man is the one who adapts to the ways of the world and he changes the rules of the world too.
Remember: “If you want a wise answer, ask a reasonable question.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Write down the one serious social concern that you have? It could be anything from child marriages, to garbage being strewn around or the problem of stray dogs or corruption. Make an attempt to find out an NGO that is involved in that activity of your concern. Get involved in their activity and then you can learn and educate people around and make a difference.
- List out a couple of problems that you face at home that really irritate you. It could be simple things like family members not switching off the lights when going out of a room or it could be indifference by kids to your efforts to keep the house spic and spank. Now work out a method to be unreasonable and get them to fall in line.
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