We love to catch people making mistakes, don’t we?
I have been in meetings where a brilliant idea is met with a comment such as – “Did you know you have a typo on slide four?”
I’ve heard people discussing ideas outside our realm of experience, only to have a skeptic pepper them with questions that neither intrigue nor illuminate possibility. Instead, they hammer the horizon with requests for proof.
I imagine Copernicus had some conversations like this:
Copernicus: My hypothesis is that the sun does not travel around the earth, but that the earth travels around the sun.
Some Guy: That’s preposterous – we’ve always understood that the sun travels around us. It moves, we do not.
Copernicus: I believe that’s incorrect.
Some Guy: So, prove it to me.
Copernicus: I will, but I can’t yet.
Some Guy: Then this was a waste of time. And you need to be chained to a rock somewhere.
So, Copernicus decided to change the world with his ideas . . .
But not without the harassment of critics everywhere. Visionaries always have critics who cling to them like barnacles on the hull of a ship, refusing to believe until the proof is presented.
I understand the need for proof and its role in science, but I don’t think critics will ever change the world.
Who are the modern-day visionaries?
Some people are medical intuitives, claiming that they can intuitively diagnose illness before tests are run. Others claim they can heal illnesses by healing beliefs, while the medical community shakes its collective head.
There are even those who are working on ways to communicate with alien life, while their critics put them in the corner with a foil dunce cap.
But I say that the alien theorist of today could be our Copernicus of tomorrow. And, maybe, when the aliens turn on their brights and flash them at us, we’re going to grab the guy in the foil hat and hope that he knows what to do.
Some of the crazies might just be our visionaries.
Perhaps the woman in the boardroom who thinks behavior and intuition is as important as a spreadsheet should be heard, because she could lead the company into the future (yes, I am that woman, and I wear my foil hat proudly).
The person who finds every reason to disprove a new idea is not going to change the world. . .
They will, however, be able to say, “I told you so!” the first thousand times that the idea fails.
But when the Model T starts up, and the light bulb turns on, and the microwave cooks, and the sales numbers go up because of behaviors, and the alien communication device is used . . .
the critic will succumb to the crazy guy or gal.
And their new idea will lead us into the future, dragging the reluctant behind them.
So, let’s hold up our glasses and salute the people in foil hats. May their insane ideas save us from our own skepticism.