Wednesday, February 8, 2012

On overcoming inhibition

It's a commonly-known fact that we only use a fraction of the capacity of our brains. But every so often, someone comes along who seems to get something that the rest of the world can't. These are the people that start civil rights movements and make milestone scientific discoveries, who change the face of art, whose names echo around the world. Often, these people are seen as eccentric, radical, and occasionally even crazy. Crazy, but brilliant. So, are they really created with superior knowledge, or did they simply decide to toe the line and see what would happen?

In my not-so-humble opinion, progress cannot be made unless someone branches off into the unknown. We're curious creatures, but social and moral taboos restrict us to certain perimeters of knowledge. Our functioning brain capacity is restricted enough; why on Earth shouldn't we use everything we've got?! The answer is that people are scared. Scared to break the social "rules" and have assumptions made about them. But the organizations or governments who establish these often unspoken rules are scared, too. The only reason to restrict education on a certain topic is because people might disagree with the accepted social standings. They might even be able to prove them wrong.

Ever think about that? Because I do. I spend an enormous amount of my time thinking about that, and researching all the things that people whisper about but can't openly say. People are usually rather shocked. You were reading an article on what? Are you some kind of (fill in the blank with a controversial trait i.e. lesbian, stoner, emo, sex addict, etc.)? No. Just because I want to be educated about things that no one seems to properly educate themselves about doesn't mean that I practice those things. Reading a book in which the main character self-harms isn't going to make me slash up my arms. Watching an educational video about a drug isn't going to make me want to get twisted all day every day. What is there to fear from education? And yet, our society condemns it. Often we only know negative results of things without understanding why or how or anything other than the fact that it's "wrong" or "bad."

Well, who says? Who says we shouldn't explore? Do you think you'd be reading this today if Benjamin Franklin hadn't thrown his kite out in a storm and discovered electricity? Do you think people would live in all parts of the world if Copernicus hadn't hypothesized that the Earth is round? Do you think civil rights would exist to the extent that they do if Martin Luther King Jr. had decided that he'd better just play it safe and accept inequality? The world is where it is today because people defied the norm. We cannot learn anything if we refuse to explore that which is untouched. Even if a particular tabooed substance or practice doesn't contribute to society, some tweaking and deeper research can lead to all new, exciting, life-changing discoveries. There is no harm in education unless someone's got something to hide.

If you're human, you probably have some thoughts locked up in that brain of yours that you'd never dare speak aloud. Even if you're not going to let them leave the confines on your mind, my opinion is that those untouchable questions are the ones most worth answering. No one can arrest you for thinking something because, as of now, we can't read minds. So what is the harm in exploring what's nagging your subconscious? Maybe you know something isn't quite right in your life but you don't want to turn over rocks. I encourage you to do just that. You never know. You could be the next "crazy" person who changes the world.

1 comment:

  1. This is great, and I agree. Although I feel the need to point out that the thing about how humans only use a portion of our brains is a myth. We use all of our brains. :)

    - Samantha