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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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          6 World-Changing Ideas That Were Originally Rejected

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          Last Updated on September 20, 2018

          How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

          How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

          Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

          If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

          1. Breathe

          The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

          • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
          • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
          • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

          Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

          2. Loosen up

          After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

          Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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          3. Chew slowly

          Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

          Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

          Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

          4. Let go

          Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

          The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

          It’s not. Promise.

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          Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

          Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

          21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

          5. Enjoy the journey

          Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

          Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

          6. Look at the big picture

          The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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          Will this matter to me…

          • Next week?
          • Next month?
          • Next year?
          • In 10 years?

          Hint: No, it won’t.

          I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

          Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

          7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

          You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

          Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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          8. Practice patience every day

          Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

          • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
          • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
          • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

          Final thoughts

          Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

          Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

          Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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