The (Dangerous) Power of Brilliant Ideas

by elizabethfcoates

Dear Salmons

Ever had an idea that seemed absolutely brilliant at the time, but as time went on, it either dragged along in the dirt behind you, or dragged you through that dirt, enslaving you to an unforeseen path.

Well, one could say that is life, that either you are in charge and made a martyr, or you are a slave and you are abused. That you are either the worker bee, working until you cannot anymore, or you’re the queen, sitting down waiting for something to happen.

That is, until the pioneer comes along. The saviour, the one who pulled us out of caves, writing Latin numerals and putting children in mills. He (for they often were, women were too busy making babies)  brought us religion, lightweight steel, the combustion engine and so much more.

He led us to lead more comfortable, meaningful existences. He led us to be able to live more exciting, rich lives, beyond biological necessity  where we eat, sleep, make love then die.

He convinced us there was more to life than the basics, like making a tomato sauce with only the tomatoes. Where was the onions, the sugar, the spice? 

But his great ideas? Religion? Debatable. It was brilliant, for we all stick together under a tribal banner, working together and co-operating in harsh environments, living in harmony, sure of our purpose.

But what happened with religion? Let’s not point any fingers now. We can all accept that all the major religions were successful ideas because they killed in the name of God, raped in the name of God, ostracised those who were different in the name of God…the Holocaust was done in the name of God, as the Church stood by for goodness sake.

Religion is our finest invention. All right, what is thought to be the Truth is often very misguided. I still haven’t seen a convincing argument for Noah’s Ark actually being able to float, unless Noah only took all the species from an area of one mile squared, and the flood covered the area equivalent to Bangladesh. 

But that’s not the point of the stories like those in Bible. We are meant to learn morality from them. We are meant to read them, understand them and communicate them in the name of God. 

If you can incite people into God, the ‘more souls you save’ (i.e. the more people realise morality is necessary for us all).

But, the thing is, the self-righteous read these things as well as the good people who want to help others. They boss us around, aiming at those who disregard morality, who ignore them, and only annoy the ordinary people, who are in thrall of those who flout morality.

It’s because not all of us believe in God. Why do we want to join a club taken advantage of by psychopaths and sociopaths who do things ‘in the name of God’? That’s the thing with great ideas; some people are trolls and are out to destroy them. 

Those who trash upon these ideas also destroy the truly wonderful work done by good Christians, such as The Samaritans and The Salvation Army. I go church bell ringing and the bell ringers are probably the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

It’s the same with all religions; ignore the evangelists who picket soldier’s funerals, set fire to their wives who have been raped for adultery, castrating a man for sleeping with his male lover…most people are not like that.

They are like most of us, for the ordinary person is not that different to another ordinary person. They just want to get on with their lives, and, like salmons, continue up the current; onwards and upwards, towards the future, their dreams for life achieved.

Protect the power of ideas. Protect the integrity of brilliant ideas. It’s like protecting a child, so full of potential and goodness. For me, the modern example is the internet, and as long as no one takes over this anarchic state, we should be OK.

Keep swimming Salmons.