Fairly often, here, I find myself musing over how pursuing something in the world of thought often seems to come at the expense of real-world realities (Notes One). How it’s apparently so easy to attach ourselves to the thought of perfection in any given direction, then berate everyone for not having yet achieved it
Idealism clearly gives us something to work towards: a sense of what’s possible, the value of pursuing it, and how life, eventually, could be. It’s perhaps providing us with the goals, priorities or beliefs that motivate and guide our behaviour – the stars that light our path, the vision of all that could be, the hope of somehow getting everything and everyone aligned so the dream can become a reality.
But how much can get folded into a desire for perfection or steps in its direction? What kind of actions and attitudes can we justify toward others in walking that path? “Can” we be intolerant, judgemental and force others to accept our conclusions simply because we believe we’re “right”? What happens if, in pursuing our ideals, we’re behaving poorly?
It just seems that reality is so flawed, so jumbled up with commercial interests, inherited patterns of behaviour, and the simple reality of human nature (Notes Two). We’re all nestled into these systems that’ve been shaping us since the day we were born; telling us what to think and how to act with heavy doses of moralising, fear and expectation.
Unearthing, from that, the reasons we do the things we do, why things are this way, and what alternatives there might be isn’t easy. It’s bringing all our personal lives plus our collective life to full awareness (Notes Three). It’s also, often, asking that we extend ourselves beyond the national and international to the systemic and planetary perspective – the heights of idealism.
And that’s great. There’s real value in idealism; but it’s not without problems (Notes Four). Sometimes it just seems we’re all getting beaten round the head with how things should be; how we should be; all the ways we’re wrong and need improvement. It’s the conversation of advertising, of news, of social media, and, increasingly, of everyday life. We might argue it’s for the best, but at what cost?
I just wonder whether it’s the best path: all this criticism, blame, insistence. Rather than pushing our thoughts into another’s space, could we not take time to understand them, their perspective and how life brought them to it? We’re seeming so intolerant lately; telling but never asking, assuming we know where people stand, why they’re simply wrong, and what they should think or do instead.
There may not be much time for conversation these days, but without it I’m unsure how well idealism is going to play out. Presumably, all these battle lines are effectively our ideals and how we’re attempting to bring them to life? And, if that’s the case, what’s really the best attitude to take toward anyone on the other side of those lines?
Notes and References:
Note 1: Would we be right to insist?
Note 1: Humans, judgement & shutting down
Note 1: The value & cost of our words
Note 2: Life’s never been simpler…
Note 2: Problems & the thought that created them
Note 2: Dystopia as a powerful ideal
Note 3: All we want to do passes through community
Note 3: The idea of think globally, act locally
Note 3: Can we manage all-inclusive honesty?
Note 3: Economy as a battleground
Note 4: Ideals & the pursuit of them
Note 4: Imperfection as perfection?