In the last week, two related dates caught my attention (thanks to the Wired RSS feed) that made me think a bit. The first was that on February 13, 1633, Galileo arrived in Rome to face his trial for heresy, for his statements that the Earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around.

The second happened today, via the same feed: It’s Copernicus’ birthday today. The very man whom Galileo was defending in that trial, and his birthday falls in the same week. I found that to be fairly interesting, for some reason.

That, coupled with a link that a friend posted today about a book on Harry Potter for Christians, started getting me thinking about self-reliant thinking.

As in, there seems to be absolutely none of it going on nowadays.

We’re a race of beings with the capacity for the most incredible feats of intelligence, yet we still cling to the age-old instincts that informed our decisions back before we could even be called humans. We routinely fall back to herd mentality, especially when the comfortable things in our lives become threatened. Independence is a virtue best left to the animals that fall behind during the chase. It’s definitely a defense mechanism, but it runs completely counter to the ideals of being human.

Thinking about that Harry Potter book, I can’t help but want to scream at the top of my lungs: If you aren’t sure about whether your children should read the Harry Potter novels, don’t buy a book that tells you whether you should or not. READ THE HARRY POTTER NOVELS YOURSELF AND MAKE YOUR DECISION THAT WAY.

Why do we constantly have to rely on others’ opinions when we can form our own perfectly well?