Should we learn ourselves or learn from others? What is the value of creative thinking?
Socrates lived during a time when he was awarded death for being an independent thinker. We have definitely moved on since then.
Independent thinkers are those people who don’t really pay much heed to the generally believed thoughts and actions of the society. They strive to learn things themselves and establish their own rules and customs through experience. Why should we learn from ourselves? Because an independent thinker is one who applies rationale and prudence before thinking or believing something. This creative thought and rationale may not always sound positive to the members of a society, it often ends up being criticized, at least initially, by conformists and conservatives, but yes, it does lead to a change to the way things are looked at by the masses.
Who could think that colonial rule can be fought and done away with, without the use of physical might? Gandhi did and eventually changed people’s perceptions towards fighting the wrong. Peaceful rallies, signature campaigns, candle light vigils, fasts unto death and many other forms of protests used by the citizens of today’s world are based on this revolution of ‘fighting peacefully’ that Gandhi brought to his nation.
Every human is a unique piece of thought, wisdom, belief and understanding. When people start learning from others, their unique thoughts are interfered with, and eventually forgotten. Such people don’t contribute to the society, they only add to it. Worse, they don’t let others contribute to their society because of strict conformism. A society where people don’t realize that they have the ability to ‘think different’ is a sad place because strong conformism hampers evolution and growth, or simply change, but change happens to be the only constant.
During a time when Earth was believed to be a flat disc, there came Pythagoras with his own theory in the 6th century BC that the Earth was spherical. While he had no logical base to what he propounded, it was this independent, out of the way, creative thought that eventually led to Aristotle proving (around 330 BC) that this was true.
To conclude, it is independent thought that preserves logic and sanity in this world. Had there been no independent thinkers, this world would still be flat, the moon would be made of green cheese and many of us would probably have been sacrificed to please the Almighty while Satan laughed out loud upon us.