Does society drive revolutionaries underground into isolation, or openly celebrate their uniqueness? The answer appears to be both. The word celebrity comes from our celebration of those who conquer fear and dare to be different. Originality is coveted by society, yet it is also subject to society's judgment, fear and impulse to identify and pick-at things that are different. From an early age children quickly and naturally identify and pay attention to what is different. This tendency can also be observed in nature, when an animal with odd markings, features or behaviors is killed or rejected by the other members of its species, pack or clan. This is why leading-edge people and sometimes so-called celebrities are the subject of both criticism and adoration. We all know it takes courage to put yourself out there, and we respect people who take that bold and sometimes dangerous risk for us, when perhaps our social fears keep us frozen in our place. Those fears and concerns are legitimate, because being different sometimes comes with real risks. But difference is worth the risk, and may even be a coveted characteristic because those genetic, mental or social aberrations could actually lead to entirely new species, knowledge disciplines or social structures that make the subject of that variation stronger. But at the same time the unknown is feared and what is new is certainly unknown. Yet, real education must be about discovering the unknown, and whenever education becomes a system of conformity it is no longer useful. Rebellious and adventurous souls have a way of leading us off the edge of the map, where the dragons are, to confront those dark beasts of our fear and ignorance. The spirit of discovery cannot be cultivated on an assembly line of desks in classrooms. We must question the seats of authority, especially in education, and seek to understand what "valid" is and where authority originates. By breaking down the monocultures in education and building individualized community learning networks for all ages, we can go beyond the bureaucratic limitations of graded classrooms, standardized curricula, reductionist testing and mandatory attendance in isolated buildings called "schools."

— Bryant McGill

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