n. An opinion or a doctrine at variance with established beliefs
The world needs more heretics. The world needs more people to think outside the box, to challenge the status quo. As Einstein famously said:
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
We are blessed with some of the most incredible thinkers who have shaped our thoughts and our beliefs. Einstein, Martin Luther King, Carl Jung, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Immanuel Kant, Confucius, Lao Tzu… a whole procession of wonderful thinkers who have caused us to look at the world differently, who have explored the possible and helped us see the world the way we do. And, yes, we need to learn from those who have gone before us – and, God bless the internet, and books, and libraries, and the media, we have more access to these people than we have ever had before.
And, yet, we need to stand on the shoulders of giants. We need to form our own opinions, and work out what we believe for ourselves.. not simply listening to what others say. We need to challenge belief systems, whether religious, political, scientific, social, economic. And especially we need to challenge those belief systems that say ‘you can’t do that’.
We need more mismatchers. Mismatchers are those people who when presented with an argument will automatically disagree. Their default setting is to challenge it – to take the concept apart and see if it holds together – and if it has merit, come up with an improved version. My eldest son is a mismatcher. I love him dearly. And he makes me think. He forces me to challenge my own assumptions, my own views and come up with something better.
We need more ‘what if’ people. They’re the folk who, when presented with a new idea, say ‘what if I do this?’ ‘What if I try this at work?’ ‘What if we could get everyone doing this?’ They’re the ones who push the envelope – taking something higher, faster, further, longer than ever before. (‘Pushing the envelope’ was a phrase from the early days of aviation and test flights – ‘the envelope’ referred to the performance boundaries of a plane, and ‘pushing the envelope’ was what happened when the (only very slightly insane) test pilot said “I wonder what happens if . . . .”)
One of Terry Pratchett’s characters in his latest book, Raising Steam,observes
“if I am to be of any use I have to be myself – and that means, I’m afraid, that I have to find the edge of the envelope and put my stamp on it, otherwise life wouldn’t be worth dying for”.
I’ve found in my personal spiritual journey that I have had to challenge everything – and that’s allowed me to create an understanding of the universe that works for me. And that would probably get me called a heretic by the Christian church, the New Age world, the Buddhists, humanists and even the atheists. And that, I believe, has allowed me to fly higher and live happier than if I had just accepted what I’d been told. It’s brought me peace, and freedom – and the liberty to be me.
So – what about you? You have everything you need to change the world, you really do. Your thoughts matter – because those thoughts affect those around you – and they affect those around them…and one idea can change…everything.
The world needs more heretics. Be one.