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6 World-Changing Ideas That Were Originally Rejected

6 World-Changing Ideas That Were Originally Rejected

Millions of years ago, humans’ ancestors developed a fully conscious thinking brain. While its emergence is surely nature’s greatest achievement, tragically it came without a program, and so the long journey to find understanding of our universe and our place in it began and science was born. It was not so long ago that we didn’t have fire, or the wheel, or an understanding that thunder and lightning weren’t caused by angry gods. Our history has been one of ever increasing understanding.

science

    Image courtesy of the film ‘The Man They Could Not Hang’

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    The Greeks in their golden period had the wisdom to formalise the search for knowledge into the discipline of science, and since then it has been adopted by humanity as its designated vehicle for gaining understanding.

    However, the road for science of scientific progress has not been a smooth one. Religious intolerance has been common, with George Bernard Shaw famously saying, “All great truths begin as blasphemies” (from his play Annajanska, 1919). Less well known is that intolerance has often come from within the ranks of the scientific community itself. The dictum that “science progresses funeral by funeral” (see his Scientific Autobiography, 1948) proves that scientists are just as much victims of the human condition as the rest of us, with all the prejudice and frailties that entails. As Arthur Schopenhauer recognised, an important idea or truth must ‘endure a hostile reception before it is accepted’ when he said “…First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” (www.brainyquote.com)

    What follows is a list of six important scientific discoveries that were fiercely resisted in their time, five of them to be vindicated years later. They represent incredible breakthroughs in understanding without which the human race would have been completely stalled, life as we know it would not exist. The sixth discovery, relating to understanding of the human condition itself, awaits its vindication and is surely the most important of all.

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    1. The Earth is Round – 330 BC

    In the 6th Century BC, Pythagoras declared the world was round although other Greek philosophers remained unconvinced until 330BC when Aristotle championed the idea of a round Earth. However, it took many more centuries before the fear of falling off the edge of the Earth was quelled by explorers such as Christopher Columbus when he set sail around the globe in 1492. Today the term ‘flat-earther’ is used to describe someone who stubbornly adheres to an outmoded idea.

    2. The Earth Revolves Around the Sun – 1600s

    It probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that we originally thought we were at the centre of the universe. The church believed in the idea so much that in the early 1600s they burnt Giordano Bruno at the stake and later sentenced Galileo to house arrest for supporting the Copernican theory that the Earth revolved around the sun. However, the real opposition was from other scientists who held to the view established by Aristotle almost 2000 years before, that the Earth was at the centre of the universe. Today, Galileo is often referred to as the father of modern science.

    3. Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection – 1838

    Before Darwin put forward his scientific theory of natural selection in 1838 (he withheld its publication for eight years for fear of opposition), it was generally believed that life on Earth had been unchanging through the millennia. While some scientists were prepared to accept that species evolved, few thought natural selection was important, preferring to believe in the notion that supernatural forces were responsible. Despite the opposition, when biologist Thomas Henry Huxley’s first heard the idea he famously exclaimed: “How extremely stupid of me not to have thought of that!” (The Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley, Leonard Huxley, Vol.1, 1900, p.170) Over time the evidence has become overwhelming and Darwin’s idea of natural selection has become the cornerstone of modern biology and science, with aspects of natural selection even being incorporated into the teachings of the Church.

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    Darwin's theory of evolution
      4. Pasteurization: Diseases are spread by germs – 1850s

      Louis Pasteur thought that disease was spread by germs. He made the discovery after three of his five children died from infectious diseases. When he first put forward his theory in the 1850’s he was met with violent resistance from the medical community. Today, in large part due to his work, we know that certain bacteria are responsible for sickness, and minimizing germs is a key to promoting healthy immune function.

      Bacteria-

        5. Bacteria Causes Stomach Ulcers – 2005

        In 2005 Barry J. Marshall and J. Robin Warren were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery that bacteria is responsible for stomach ulcers. However wind the clock back 20 years and Marshall and Warren’s idea was being ridiculed by the scientific establishment who maintained that bacteria couldn’t live in the acidic environment of the stomach, and that it was just stress or bad diet that was to blame. In the end Marshall changed the face of medical science when he swallowed a petri-dish of dangerous bacteria to prove his theory. Said Marshall, “everyone was against me, but I knew I was right.” (H. Pylori and the Making of a Myth. 23 May 1998, Academy of Achievement website)

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        6. Breakthrough Biological Theories on the Human Condition – 1983

        Finding understanding of the human condition, or ‘why we are the way we are’, was the all-important task facing humanity. Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson recognised this when he said, “The human condition is the most important frontier of the natural sciences” (Consilience, 1998, p.298 of 374). In 1983 the biologist Jeremy Griffith presented his theory of the human condition that explained humans’ capacity for so called ‘good’ and ‘evil’. After coming across Griffith’s ideas Professor Harry Prosen, a former president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association said, “I have no doubt this biological explanation of Jeremy Griffith’s of the human condition is the holy grail of insight we have sought for the psychological rehabilitation of the human race!” (worldtransformation.com) Yet there has been a great deal of resistance—indeed no idea will be more fiercely resisted than the explanation of the human condition because the arrival of understanding of the human condition is an extremely exposing and confronting development.

        WTM_Sunrise_Of_A_New_World_Poster

          But, just as humans today take the truth of discoveries such as a round Earth for granted, future generations will shake their heads at the idea that we lived without this understanding of the human condition.

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          Last Updated on January 21, 2020

          The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

          The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

          Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

          your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

            Why You Need a Vision

            Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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            How to Create Your Life Vision

            Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

            What Do You Want?

            The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

            It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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            Some tips to guide you:

            • Remember to ask why you want certain things
            • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
            • Give yourself permission to dream.
            • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
            • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

            Some questions to start your exploration:

            • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
            • What would you like to have more of in your life?
            • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
            • What are your secret passions and dreams?
            • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
            • What do you want your relationships to be like?
            • What qualities would you like to develop?
            • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
            • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
            • What would you most like to accomplish?
            • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

            It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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            What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

            Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

            A few prompts to get you started:

            • What will you have accomplished already?
            • How will you feel about yourself?
            • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
            • What does your ideal day look like?
            • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
            • What would you be doing?
            • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
            • How are you dressed?
            • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
            • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
            • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

            It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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            Plan Backwards

            It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

            • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
            • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
            • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
            • What important actions would you have had to take?
            • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
            • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
            • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
            • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
            • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

            Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

            It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

            Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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