Release Your Inner Heretic?

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George Bernard Shaw once wrote:

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.

Here’s the way widespread evolution and adoption of ideas happens…

It usually starts with one person. A madman, A heretic. A dream-chasing fool with just enough of a glimmer of truth, proof and charisma that he or she is able to rally a small number of people to the notion that “they” just might be right, and the “old guard” just might be wrong.

From there, increasing waves of people who’ve been poorly served by the old model, the outliers, those in search of a different answer rally to the cause of a new path. Now, instead of one unreasonable being, we have a small, but vocal gaggle of unreasonable beings — The new guard.

And, here’s where it gets tricky…

There will come a time when the unreasonable group with new ideas will become big enough and vocal enough that the old guard will move from poking fun to feeling threatened.

After all, they’ve spent a lot of time and money selling the current paradigm, regardless of how dated or even outright wrong it may be. Plus, reputations, institutions and proclamations have been build and staked upon the old ideas.

Egos, livelihoods and, potentially, future revenues and funding are at risk of being lost.

So, regardless of a long-abandoned quest for truth that may have led the old guard and old ideas into power, their mission now is to quash the “unreasonable” guard…at any cost. Science be damned. Philanthropy be damned. Progress be damned.

It’s all about self-preservation…always in the name of what’s best for “the people.”

And, this moment is often the ultimate test of not only an idea, but of the will of “unreasonable” people to bring that idea to life. Indeed, surviving the sometimes public thrashing by the old guard is often the different between the emergence or evaporation of a new paradigm.

So…why do you care?

Because, the time for new ideas is now.

The time for evolution is now.

The time for progress is now.

On so many fronts.

Now, more than ever.

And, that next great idea just might come from you…

It starts with one woman, one man…one idea.

Unreasonable, irrational, downright heretical.

That’s where the seed is planted.

Question is…are you ready to be unreasonable?

Let’s discuss…

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14 responses

14 responses to “Release Your Inner Heretic?”

  1. Your thoughts influence the way your perceive the world.

    That’s why people who try and believe that they can change it for the better usually succeed. That’s also the reason why people who adapt to the world adapt to other people’s thoughts and believes and they never really create something.

    So if releasing my inner heretic means thinking in a way that brings me happiness (and helps others), thanks for the tip!

  2. Peter Levin says:

    Great point Jonathan,

    My issue is that I have to many ideas and not enough time to act on most of them 🙂

    Tripping point describes the spread of ideas concept pretty well

    The more we thing and learn the more chances we have to receive a good and worthy idea

  3. chehaw says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post, and I love the idea of being a heretic and challenging viewpoints. Sometimes it gets lonely–like Don Quixote aiming for windmills. But the inner belief that you can create something special is the fuel to keep you going. Again, great post.

  4. […] (hat tip) […]

  5. Right on the money Jonathan.

    Too much of the world is governed through fear and greed right now. Fear of changing things and fear of being obsolete makes people cling to old ideas and to gather together peoples, memes and infrastructure to support the old ideas.

    I think the biggest problem that ‘heretics’ have is trusting their ideas. Too often people second guess themselves or once they get a great idea they say, “That’s pretty neat, I’ll just wait until someone else delivers it.”

    People need to trust their intuition and ideas, then we’ll really see things happen.

  6. Avi Marcus says:

    Love the quote. Indeed, progress won’t happen unless you don’t like things the way they are. And too many people are stuck in their comfort zone or don’t even recognize that they are stuck!

  7. I’m proud to say I’ve always been unreasonable, at least in the minds of many around me as I grew up. I’m so out of step with the norm that my dentist once told me that I get cavities in places where no one else does.

    And yet, I’m not an adventurer in the mountain-climbing sense, but I’ve definitely stepped outside my comfort zone many times, thereby widening it.

    “Are you crazy?!That won’t work!” is my call to arms.

    Even though I’m happily approaching 65, I love the energy and can-do attitude of many young entrepreneurs in all fields. I’m also very grateful to have four adult children and three grandchildren who stimulate me and spark ideas, helping me stay in and ahead of the loop.

    Socially, that means I don’t find much camaderie among my age group. So what. My social circle is made up of a variety of ages, and that’s what makes it fun and stimulating for all.

  8. Seonaid says:

    Hi, great post.

    I just can’t stop myself from pointing out the typo towards the end: ‘on so many front’.

    Sorry for being such a pedant,

  9. How true, how true. Not just the paradoxical part, but also the call to action. More than any other time in history, the power of the few to be heard buy the many is literally at our finger tips. Blogs and social media have provided a way for everyone to be heard. We can all (individually)speak our mind and see what happens.

  10. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Flora – “Are you crazy? That won’t work?” – love it, been my call to arms for decades, too. Answer…”Just watch me!”

  11. Charles Sipe says:

    It’s human nature to cling to the status quo and most people will fight you when you try to change things. However change is healthy, and positive growth occurs when people take the risk to be different and challenge those who say “that’s how we always do it”.

  12. I’m all for being unreasonable, unfortunately the cynical part of me looks at the number of times being unreasonable has been co-opted by the reasonable side and then lost its power, or how the reasonable side pretends to be unreasonable just to keep people distracted…

  13. Jonathan, that is one of my favorite quotes! I am and have always been a heretic. Heretics may change the world, but boy it is tough until you get to the tipping point. I haven’t found that small band of followers that are going to help me get there yet! Anyway this is the first time I have read your blog (I found it from your call last night) and I think I am going to like it for sure.

    Before the Internet, I didn’t know there were so many heretics and rebels out there in the world. It’s truly rewarding to find that community of people whom you can relate to – especially when you are a little bit (or a lot) quirky.

  14. Lady J says:

    I agree that now is the time to change. all of this recession talk is depressing, but one has to remember that most of our big corps and money holders were born out of the necessity to survive in the last recession. So for all of you aspiring heretics—keep that in mind.