Are ideas really dangerous?
December 26, 2013 Leave a comment
In a post I made last week I stated that “ideas are dangerous”. Even as I wrote it I had doubts about whether I actually believed it. It has been the number one question on my mind for the past week as I have been spending a lot of time reading, watching and listening to other people’s ideas. I love learning what other people think. I’m a huge fan of the Aspen Ideas Festival and TED Talks – Ideas worth spreading. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking them out.
What I have learned is that not all ideas are equal. Some are really good; some not so much. Some ideas are just downright stupid. Still, are any of them dangerous unto themselves? Robbing a bank is dangerous but so is shooting a manned rocket into space. Both of these dangerous acts began with an idea so perhaps it is fair to say that ideas are dangerous. However, when I made that statement these were not the examples I was thinking about.
I wasn’t thinking about how an idea can lead to an action that is dangerous. I was actually thinking about how thinking can cause harm. I was thinking about how my ideas may conflict with other peoples ideas, or even my own ideas, and cause discomfort. Well, as unpleasant as discomfort may feel, it is not dangerous. Experiencing discomfort can actually be very enlightening. In fact I’m hard pressed to find an example of how one can find enlightenment without discomfort or the more often used term; suffering.
Still, I did not start this blog to cause suffering, nor did I start it to find enlightenment. These are merely byproducts of documenting my journey. As for enlightenment, while I have certainly found it, I see no evidence that it is a final destination. It is but merely a flower upon an endless path. The upside is that suffering is but a stone upon that path. Perhaps it’s the stone that you tripped on that caused you to notice the flower.
As for danger, all I can say is that life is dangerous. It’s probably a good idea to wear a helmet.