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Useful And Fantastic: People They Laughed At - 17

Val Yule says that much human progress has relied on the efficiency of co-operation, even more than the spur of competition.

Two things can be learned from the histories of‘people who were laughed at.

One lesson is that immediate success is rare. ‘Between the idea and the reality falls the shadow’, or something like that, said the poet T S Eliot, with the implication that too often we just don’t get round to do anything about a good idea. For every thousand good ideas, perhaps a hundred reach the drawing board, and one idea may get off its board and become real. Just as often, between the idea and the reality fall frustration, bad luck, and attempt after attempt.

The second lesson is how much human progress has relied on the efficiency of co-operation, even more than the spur of competition. Both are great drivers for achievement, but the greater is co-operation.

Here’s an idea for writing in schools - Creative non-fiction.
Imagination as the ability to consider what may be possible - in the real world, not only in fantasy.

Today there are many centres to encourage innovation, but they can still be limited by the need to think ‘in line with current thinking’. Charles Bliss called for juries to help assess pioneers of ideas. That idea has yet to be taken seriously, except for when there is potential money-making. Then, unfortunately, ideas can face another sort of strangulation - the privacy and the legal tangles imposed by copyrights, trademarks and patents. There need to be ways out of this.

If the amount of time and money and struggle spent trying to get a hearing for innovative ideas had been put into actually giving them a hearing - what a richer world we might be living in now - rich in every way from more quirkiness to more prosperity.

Some people who are laughed at today may turn out to be great. Some of them may just be silly. How can you tell?

Most ideas may not be winners, whether they are laughed at or not. Of all new ideas, one idea in a hundred may be a winner. However, people who have many silly ideas may still come up with a good one that should not be thrown out - perhaps only as a little germ within a grander scheme which is futile. Anyone who has many good ideas is certain to have some silly ideas as well. Perhaps only one in a hundred of the ideas of a genius may actually be genius.

Perhaps everyone should understand why there can be such temptation to laugh at other people’s innovations and the people who come up with ideas - snobbery, they cant get their minds around it, novophobia (fear of the new, but they may still fall for big silly schemes or where everyone else is rushing), and wariness about inventors who may often have to be a bit eccentric, ex-centric - in order to think up ideas that are not at the centre of where everyone else is thinking.

As every country seeks to be a ‘clever country’, we need to understand better the social ways of life and the psychological habits that promote ingenuity and enterprise. What makes individuals and groups of people keen on solving problems. Equally, understand and change the conditions that build barriers and intolerance and make for a trail of squashed ‘if onlys’.

‘If only’, ‘only when’ are dreams about getting out of ruts and bogs. It also helps to think ‘Not only but also’ and ‘It still could be’.

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Please visit Web-page : http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas/socinvent.htm

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