ramblings of an aimless mind

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Archive for March 2008

The rebels.

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Dilbert author Scott Adams says in one of his books (I forget which) that most humans are dumb. All the achievements by the human race are by a handfull of extremely brilliant people while the rest of us are just duhhhh!!

Not that I agree with the view, but it is an interesting question to think about. Even more interesting is thinking about where one fits in this scheme of things. If I were born 5 centuries ago, would I have been one of the millions of people who probably just farmed away because “thats what everyone else does” or would I have been the guy who invented the printing press or discovered the use of a lever (as you can see, this is not a very well researched article and my time frames may be horribly wrong). Would I have proclaimed that the world is round and stuck to my opinion in the face of opposition or would I have given way when the first critic said “how dare you!!”?

History is filled with people who challenged the norms of society during their times, stuck to their beliefs and ultimately triumphed. Each time a scientist questioned superstition successfully or a civil rights advocate advocated gender and race equality, they took the world one step forward towards being a better place. While rules generally help to make things work smoothly, I think humans need a healthy dose of these rebels, otherwise we will just keep walking down the beaten path, because I think the average human being is quite apathetic. I think the world as we know it is eternally indebted to those who have already lived and really need those who are yet to be born.

The reason behind this post is a series of science programs that talked about things like comets and what people thought about them till Newton came along. A second inspiration is this one person who comes to mind whenever I think of this question. He was one of my juniors in university and had managed to beat everyone else and get the top rank in the hyper-competetive IIT-JEE. When we met him during one of the introductions(read “ragging”) sessions, we learnt that his whole family was a family of farmers(more like farm labourers and thus not a prosperous bunch at that too). He had appeared for JEE four times before he finally achieved this accolade. No one from my group of friends really ragged him because we were simply too flabbergasted. Here was someone from a family who probably did not understand what engineering meant and in a community where people were constantly telling him to pick up the plough and go to work, found out about the IITs and decided to go for it. He stumbled, which is not surprising, but he picked himself up and doggedly pursued it for 4 years, finally achieving his goal in no small measure but in real style. Wherever he is and whatever he is doing now, I wish him luck and hope that more such people are born.

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Written by clueso

March 12, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized