Wednesday, March 01, 2006

One lone idea

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it's the only one you have.
- Emile Chartier, philosopher (1868-1951)

This sounds more like a joke than a piece of good advice.

In order for an idea to bear fruit, it must have some background of its thinker to compare it with. To Karl Marx, communism seemed like the ideal form of government because he had nothing like it to compare his idea to.

Communism failed not because it was defective in its pure form, but because of human weaknesses and frailties.

In the case of this quote, Chartier means that a person with an idea (such as an idea learned from someone else) needs to compare that idea with others so that he doesn't take off with it and wreak havoc.

Racial purity is another idea that seems wise on the surface until you think that multitudes were killed in Europe during the Second World War and multitudes more have been killed in Bosnia, Rwanda and other places since in order to achieve racial purity. Genetically, we are all of one race.

We cannot afford to let one idea stand alone without taking other factors into consideration. History has proven how dangerous it can be if people just go along with one idea and don't question or challenge it.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to bring second and third thoughts to everyone.
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