Daring To Think Can Be Dangerous
Imaginative, thoughtful and
creative individuals have always had a hard time.
Look back in history
and you will find countless examples of citizens who were harassed or persecuted
simply because they dared to think for themselves - and tried to share their
thoughts with others.
Our world has never welcomed the original, the
challenging, the inspirational or the passionate and has always preferred the
characterless to the thought-provoking.
Those who dare to speak out
against the establishment have always been regarded as dangerous heretics. The
iconoclast has never been a welcome figure in any age.
* Confucius, the
Chinese philosopher, was dismissed by his political masters and his books were
burned. Those who didn't burn his books within 30 days were branded and
condemned to forced labour. Two and a half thousand years later Confucius's
influence was still considered so dangerous that Chairman Mao banned his
* Described by the Delphic Oracle as the wisest man in the world,
Greek teacher Socrates was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens, arrested
for being an evildoer and `a person showing curiosity, searching into things
under the earth and above the heaven and teaching all this to others'. Socrates
was condemned to death.
* Dante, the Italian poet, was banished from
Florence and condemned to be burnt at the stake if ever captured.
they had failed to silence him with threats and bribes the Jewish authorities
excommunicated Spinoza in Amsterdam because he refused to toe the party line,
refused to think what other people told him he must think and insisted on
maintaining his intellectual independence. He and his work were denounced as
`forged in Hell by a renegade Jew and the devil'.
* Galileo, the
seventeenth century Italian mathematician, astrologer and scientist got into
terrible trouble with the all powerful Church for daring to support Copernicus,
who had had the temerity to claim that the planets revolved around the
* Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (known to
his chums as Paracelsus) made himself enemies all over Europe because he tried
to revolutionise medicine in the sixteenth century. Paracelsus was the greatest
influence on medical thinking since Hippocrates but the establishment regarded
him as a trouble-maker.
* Ignaz Semmelweiss, the Austrian obstetrician
who recognised that puerperal fever was caused by doctors' dirty habits was
ostracised by the medical profession for daring to criticise practical
* Jesus Christ was crucified by an establishment which
regarded him as a danger.
* Henry David Thoreau, surely the kindest,
wisest philosopher who has ever lived, was imprisoned for sticking to his
I could go on with this list but I suspect that you've begun to
get the idea.
Original thinkers do not go down well.
all these individuals were persecuted for their beliefs - and many of them died
for their ideals - they did at least have a chance to develop, to learn, to
speak out, to teach, to write, to publish and to attempt to change
Today, things are worse than they have ever been for the
Incompetence and mediocrity thrive and are now subsidised,
supported and encouraged by our increasingly bureaucratic and intrusive society.
Schoolteachers and social workers encourage mediocrity because they
themselves are mediocre. Talent frightens them witless.
and administrators incompetence and mediocrity are esteemed virtues; these
besuited morons revere the banal and worship the bland. They support the
establishment in all that it does and everything it stands for and they sneer at
and scorn the unusual or the eccentric.
Politicians are frightened of
anything new or challenging. They reject the innovative, the creative and the
imaginative in favour of the accustomed, the comfortable and the
It will not, I fear, be long before mediocrity and incompetence
are regarded as essential virtues; the necessary building blocks for personal
and professional success. In schools mediocrity will be taught as a social
necessity; compulsory for commercial or personal success. Creativity will be
regarded as politically incorrect and therefore unacceptable. Originality will
The danger now is that the great thinkers of tomorrow will
never even develop - let alone survive or thrive to find themselves struggling
against the eternally powerful barriers erected by the establishment of the
This is a tragedy of monumental proportions for the lone eccentric
voice, speaking out against perceived wisdom, is often right and the experts and
the officials are often wrong.
If the politically correct have their way
and the social workers and bureaucrats take over the world there will be no
place in the 21st century for great thinkers and leaders like Christ,
Paracelsus, Galileo, Confucius or Socrates.
The future will lie firmly in
the hands of the mediocre and the incompetent.
Spiritpower by Vernon Coleman, which is available through the shop on
this Web site.
Copyright Vernon Coleman