Today in my Creative Thinking class at MSOE my fellow classmates and I were tasked with expressing our thoughts through writing about a quote from George Bernard Shaw's playwright,
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." (p. 117, David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell)
Here are my informal thoughts about the quote above (with answers to questions posed in the writing assignment):
The provided quote in the assignment write up states how the reasonable and unreasonable men uniquely view the world in their own eyes. It is seen that the reasonable man does not fight the world rather, he finds a way to fit in and coexist with it. Whereas the unreasonable man sort of tries to fight the world and would rather maintain control over it so that it is able to revolve around him.
It is hard to take a complete stance in the question posed in the write up regarding “unreasonableness” as a necessary component of most major scientific/medical/technological breakthroughs. Rather we must analyze the different sides for each view of this posed question.
By being unreasonable, I feel that a person tends to extend his/her limits and try their best to think out of the box. They try to “defy gravity” and have the attitude of not giving up or taking "no" for an answer. Hence, it makes sense that breakthroughs of all types may come about with this type of mentality.
However, by being “reasonable” I feel that a person is able to efficiently understand the subject matter at hand and better explain the applications for the subject matter that actually make sense. With this mentality, I find that it is possible to reach breakthroughs by fully developing an understanding of the inner workings for the subject matter.
Unfortunately, I have to admit that I haven’t read the assigned chapters (4 and 5) of David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. If I had, then this paragraph would be dedicated in referencing an example found in the reading.
Tying the playwright quote back to the Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher (I am a fan of his!), it seems that the “unreasonable” man is at play here. Never once, in my perspective, have I seen Steve Jobs lower himself to the “normal” standards of technology innovation. He always strives to do better and innovate better. I feel that Steve Jobs’ goal as depicted in the movie was to create products that was so unique that you knew it had to be made by Apple. But being “unreasonable” also has its downfalls.
Having too many “unreasonable” men saturating society may bring about a whole slew of conflicts between minds. You can only challenge the status quo so much until it final breaks. Once it breaks, then chaos will likely come shortly after. For example, innovating may result in shortcuts during development for a product. These shortcuts will most certainly have safety hazards and may endanger the general public. “Unreasonableness” has to be controlled and moderated. Sometimes it is good to be “unreasonable”, but realistically, I feel that this mentality must not be possessed all the time.
In closing, I feel that there is no right or wrong between being a “reasonable” or “unreasonable” man. Instead, these types of people must coexist with each other and form a reciprocity type of relationship to evolve and improve the society around them.