“Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.”
These are the words of Abraham Lincoln. I got these words off the iGoogle page, where I have an app that changes to a new quote by Lincoln every time I refresh the page. It seemed like a good idea at the time, being that I love Lincoln and besides that, I don’t have any clever words of my own to quote.
But what exactly do these words mean? “Towering genius”? Anyone who doesn’t follow the beaten path is a towering genius? Hitler went down a path no one had quite followed before. Reverend Jim of Kool-Aid fame went down a funky path of his own devising too. I’m certain the regions where those two infamous persons traveled are regions that should not be explored further.
And yet what can come of being a sheep and following the fuzzy butt in front of you? Can you see new worlds and invent new mechanisms? No, you see only your familiar field and that field has a single brown track over which your feet will tramp again and again. Not only does your view never change (although you may like that fuzzy butt, I won’t judge you), but the track becomes a trench that soon traps you on the path. The only things that escape this trough are your will, your sense of hope, and your dreams for the future. Despair never seems to try hard enough to get away.
I’m no “towering genius” – ask anybody – but I don’t want to be. It’s an awesome responsibility. One thing I will never be – ask anybody – is a sheep. If I see a fuzzy butt in front of me, I’m more inclined to kick it or shave it than to admire the view.