Driving in the car the other day, I heard a random quote on NPR’s “The Treatment.” Russell Brand, who I’ve never heard of before, and who sounds quite gratingly cockney, quoted George Bernard Shaw, and the idea enthralled me the rest of my commute. To paraphrase …
Unreasonable people look at the world and ask it to conform to them. Reasonable people look at the world and seek to conform to it. Therefore, the world will only ever be changed by unreasonable people.
As a second generation, east asian, member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, middleclass woman, I find that most of my life has been a bastion on reasonableness. And really, I like being reasonable.
However, over the past 10 years, I’ve been finding me positive ways to deal with that within me which will not conform. Instead of ignoring it, or using it to lambast others, I’ve tried to find ways to constructively interact with others. Sometimes I find I’m in the wrong. I then eat my slice of humble pie and change myself. Other times, I find I’m in the right. Then begins the much harder task of trying the change the world. Inertia is against me. And yet, there is something exhilarating in the challenge.
I know many unreasonable people. Nurses and doctors who battle against disease and injury. A federal prosecutor who prosecutes child pornographers. Teachers and professors who fight ignorance. Social workers and counselors who help others fight their own battles. FBI agents and firemen who work to keep us safe. Parents who teach and nurture the next generation. So many unreasonable people who fight to make a difference.
How about you? Where do you find yourself on the scale of reasonableness? Has this changed with time? Towards which end of the spectrum? What do you see in the world that you would like to change? How do you wage your own battle against inertia? Who are the unreasonable people who make a difference in your own life?