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Do Something Crazy…

November 16, 2010
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In today’s world too many people are too focused on conforming to the norm instead of focusing on asserting their own individuality. People are so focused on appealing to other people that they either forget or completely disregard their own wants and likes for the fad of the time. Lupe Fiasco, in “The instrumental”, states this idea conformity. ( “The Instrumental” ) Although the stereotypical example of conformity is in middle-school or high-school girls, the truth is that this problem of sticking within the confined box of general norms happens at all stages of life across all genders, races, and religions. In “On Liberty”, John Stuart Mill brilliantly poses the obvious – that not only is individuality an element of a persons well-being, but also people acting in new ways benefits all of society. I believe that many tradition are important, but even tradition must leave room for new experiences and growth. Mill continues in saying that the only restrain on the liberty of a person to go against tradition and establish their individuality is that “he must not make himself a nuisance to other people.” Furthermore, each person should be allowed to go and do as they wish at their own cost. Mill states that one must work towards innovation and individuality because a lack of  novelty to personal and social life is

“such the baneful consequences to the intellectual, and through that to the moral nature of man, unless this liberty is either conceded, or asserted in spite of prohibition.”

Even ideas and opinions that are wrong are helpful to the greater society because people will learn from those wrong doings. I think it is imperative in our society that we not only encourage innovation, but also that we help cultivate creativity and innovation at a young age. I believe there have been so many great minds that have been stifled because of deterrence from the greater population not listening to a new idea or machine or design… It is important to maintain tradition and to remember and learn from the past – but we should never forget what greatness to which a random idea can lead.

6 Comments
  1. November 17, 2010 10:41 AM

    I definitely agree with the idea you are trying to express in this blog. Sometimes the most random ideas are the best one. How would we ever have invented anything or reformed anything for the better, if we had not allowed random ideas to come out in some manner. Still, what we learn from tradition many times is to fear change and be stuck in the old ways. There is a tight balance between these two concepts, change and tradition. I for one have always been one to fear change and like things the way they are. However, through college I have realized the importance of steping outside my comfort zone and trying new things. It is truly the only time I feel that I am learning and truly using the gifts that I have.

  2. Taylor Fields permalink
    November 17, 2010 12:42 PM

    Your reflection of Mill’s argument is correct; you state, “I believe that many tradition are important, but even tradition must leave room for new experiences and growth.. Furthermore, each person should be allowed to go and do as they wish at their own cost. ” Tradition’s are not harmful as many people seem to interpret, many traditions enhance our lives and give us meaning. But people must learn to differentiate between good and bad traditions, people must continue to embrace their past while pursuing individual growth. This exploration, as you and Mill argue, has potential to ruin us, and it is ‘at our own cost’ we pursue individuality, but the ability to amalgamate our past traditions, while exploring our personal future is what makes life worth living.

  3. Jorge Rodriguez-Larrain permalink
    November 17, 2010 3:12 PM

    I agree with the view presented in this blog, innovation is essential for improvement of humanity. When there is diversity of opinion, and all of the opinions are allowed to be expressed freely, people will be able to analyze all of the opinions and be able to determine what they seem as the “truth”. Furthermore, there are times in which the truth is not easy to determine. So all opinions should be allowed to be expressed freely for the benefit of humanity.

  4. Lorig Stepanian permalink
    November 17, 2010 3:43 PM

    I really appreciate this post. Although there are so many innovators emerging today, I still think it is a huge part of human nature to conform in order to be accepted by people around them. Many people whose opinions differ from the media or peers around them, often fall into a spiral of silence, restricting them from expressing their minds in fear that they will be wrong or rejected. In this case, I completely agree with your statement about Mill. He would agree that innovation, perhaps even faulty innovation, can still help us learn and progress as a people. Variety in opinion allows us to think, reflect, and correct our own views and ideas thus developing us into further enlightened beings.

  5. matteric9 permalink
    November 17, 2010 7:42 PM

    I really think you bring up an important topic—I too think that conformity is becoming a growing concern in society today. Although conformity is necessary in some sense, people had to start somewhere. Without innovation conformity would never have come to existence. Also, when thinking about wrong decisions, it is important to remember that many great inventions were invented due to the failure of an other attempted class. Think of Penicillin, this drug was created when Alexander Fleming didn’t clean up his workstation before a vacation one day in 1928, when he came back he noticed a new, strange fungus, that later became known as Penicillin. This has become one of the most revolutionary medicines of our time and it was invited by someone’s mistake. If society hopes to move on, we need to take chances, be willing to make mistakes, and we need to be willing to take chances!

  6. changmc permalink
    November 22, 2010 5:43 PM

    I appreciate the expression of opinion, but in order to play devil’s advocate, I actually feel safer than ever now to express my opinion. In the context of modern society as we see today, I never feel grounded by any sort of overbearing tradition that makes me feel as if it is unsafe or detrimental for me to express my opinion. In news, blogs, networks, and media, opinions and ideas are being strewn around with minimal filtering. I feel that society today actually facilitates the creation of new ideas and the use of the mind. Is there any tradition in particular that you feel weighs down upon people or yourself that prevents them from achieving greatness?

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