John Brockman, the New York-based literary agent and publisher of The Edge website posed the question: what is your dangerous idea? The essays submitted in response by academics and thinkers make fascinating reading. My favourite is from Daniel Gilbert, a psychologist at Harvard University, who said that it is a dangerous idea that ideas can be dangerous;
"Dangerous does not mean exciting or bold. It means likely to cause great harm. The most dangerous idea is the only dangerous idea: The idea that ideas can be dangerous. We live in a world in which people are beheaded, imprisoned, demoted, and censured simply because they have opened their mouths, flapped their lips, and vibrated some air. Yes, those vibrations can make us feel sad or stupid or alienated. Tough shit. That's the price of admission to the marketplace of ideas. Hateful, blasphemous, prejudiced, vulgar, rude, or ignorant remarks are the music of a free society, and the relentless patter of idiots is how we know we're in one. When all the words in our public conversation are fair, good, and true, it's time to make a run for the fence."
I wish I had said that.