Being Unreasonable …


Mad Scientist“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.”

George Bernard Shaw

I have heard this saying most of my working life.  I cannot remember where or from whom I first heard it ….

But I’ll bet it was someone trying to justify their unreasonableness …

This thought, which has some logic underlying it, is often used to reframe unreasonable behavior as something more positive than it actually is.  

Sometimes this is an accurate reframing.  Sometimes we are just trying to make our unreasonableness look better or convince ourselves that being unreasonable is a value in and of itself.

So what makes for valuable unreasonableness?

When you attack a problem, and not a person …

When you teach others what you know so they change their perception of the problem …

When you struggle to reach a goal that is inclusive, rather than exclusive …

When you spend minimal time griping about how others do not appreciate your genius …

When the solution you seek does not benefit you personally, but changes someone else’s world for the better …

When you can convince others to give your efforts a chance …

… And since I am trying to gently debunk this pearl of wisdom, let me remind us of another aspect of this:

Adapting to reality is not a negative thing … it is a survival thing.

Our ability to adapt to what we need to is essential for us to continue to live and thrive.  

Adaptability only becomes negative when we adapt without change, when we allow things to happen which we should face and change, when we hunker down and only see to our own comforts and survival without considering our fellow travelers on the planet.

Let me be clear …

We need the dreamers, the inventors, and the mavericks (some of them, anyway) …

Progress does depend much on changing things as they are, while most want to keep up those same things or at least change very slowly …

Sometimes change only comes by openly confronting what is, to move to what could be …

However, my point is that the impetus for change should be the change, not trying to validate one’s eccentricities.

Well, that’s my morning piece said.   Let the brickbats fly from those who believe change always has to come through conflict and divisiveness.

Trying to change things without annoying people too much in the Heartland ….

John