By Ahmed Naguib
Every now and then, I come up with crazy theories like other human beings. This time, I decided to share one of my theories with you. I believe innovators have something in common. I also believe lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and things of similar effect, have played crucial roles in creating most of the great things around us. The aim of this article is not to encourage you to do LSD. However, it is more of an attempt to try and make you see the world in a different way because that, I believe, is the way to become a disruptor of industries and an innovator.
I bet you already know who Steve Jobs is before I even introduce him. He was the founder of Apple, and among other things, he was fond of LSD. All of this information is available in the recent biography written by Walter Isaccson; clearly, I’m not making anything up. There was one quote by Jobs himself that stopped me: “taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin.” In the same book, Bono, the famous musician, said that “the people who invented the twenty-first century were pot-smoking, sandal-wearing hippies from the West Coast like Steve, because they saw differently.”
Avicenna (Ibn Sina) and Averroes (Ibn Rushd) were two of the most famous Arab scientists, philosophers, theologians and astronomers. Both men had their own unique perspectives on Islam. They did not believe in following the common interpretations regarding their religion, and life in general. Therefore, they decided to take a deeper dive in everything they dealt with.
Bill Hicks was a well-known stand-up comedian and musician. Other comedians voted for him as number 13 on the list of “The Top 20 Greatest Comedy Acts Ever.” Comedians such as Russell Brand find him to be an inspiration. He had a very interesting take on drugs: “see, I think drugs have done some good things for us. If you don’t think drugs have done good things for us, then do me a favor. Go home tonight and take all of your records, tapes and all your CD’s and burn them.”
My point here is clear and simple; I’m no advocate of drugs, alcohol, or joining a weird – or not so weird – religious clan. However, I’m an advocate of looking at things differently. Whether they were high on drugs or choosing to go through different spiritual experiences, most of the innovators we know thought differently of the world around us. Let us not be fans of the status quo; we can be innovators, disruptors of arts, of cultures, and industries. It just means that we might take a different road than the others, or go for extra miles, but it’s worth it.
Always keep in mind, “stay hungry … stay foolish.”