Misfit minds: why mental illnesses and learning difficulties can be useful


Image: Don’t stay too close to the pack… 

The classic liberal text, On Liberty by John Stuart Mill made a big impression on me years ago. What stayed with me above all was Mill’s insistence that liberty and tolerance were essential for a healthy society, since they permitted diversity.

Diversity of thought, behaviour, beliefs, ideas keep societies alive because they mean that there is an edge (not that Mills used this term – that’s more John Hagel) where new ideas can be born and taken back into the mainstream. When you start trying to make everyone adhere to a norm, become a single homogenous mainstream, things stagnate – essentially because there are no new ideas.