Oh Gosh, I am still an Idealist

Young and Idealistic

When we are young we are enthusiastic, fully of energy and want to change the world for the better. We think it can be easily changed in dramatic and beneficial ways. You could say we are somewhat naive and idealistic.

Slightly more pragmatic

We haven’t experienced enough of life to develop pragmatism, or even cynicism. Wisdom comes much later in our lives, if we are fortunate and keep an open mind.

A quick Google search reveals:

Idealists are enthusiastic, they trust their intuition, yearn for romance, seek their true self, prize meaningful relationships, and dream of attaining wisdom.

Idealists pride themselves on being loving, kindhearted, and authentic.

An idealist is someone who envisions an ideal world rather than the real one. Some people consider idealists to be naive, impractical, and out of touch with reality. Idealists think that striving for perfection might make the world a better place. The main root of idealist is “ideal,” which comes from the Latin word idea. But a practical one, I think.

Is that a waste or unrealistic to let idealism and logic pervade one’s thinking?

pensive thoughful looking upward

Idealistic describes someone whose plans or goals of helping others are lofty, grand, and possibly unrealistic.

To dream of an end to child trafficking, poverty and environmental vandalism.

Idealistic? – Guilty

I don’t understand how people can litter – there is rubbish bins to be found or take your rubbish home with you.

Idealistic? – Guilty

I can’t easily comprehend disposing of something that can potentially be recycled.

Idealistic? – Guilty

Yes it seems I could seemingly be classified as a pragmatic idealist mixed up with a healthy dose of suburban cynicism. Wisdom – I am still working on that.

Agree or disagree?

When did you lose your idealism? Or gain a degree of cynicism and/or wisdom?


88 thoughts on “Oh Gosh, I am still an Idealist

  1. Pingback: Sunday Sayings – Idealism – Something to Ponder About

  2. Our society would really not function without a lot of idealism. In Germany (and also elsewhere) we have for instance a lot of fire-brigades or mountain rescuers doing this without getting any money for it on a complete voluntary and special basis. A great part of culture and art works on the same basis, so only very few people do earn real money in this sector, and running such a blog here on WordPress without some kind of idealistic enthusiasm impossible! Cheers @ Ulli

    Liked by 4 people

    • Indeed, Ulli. Idealistic enthusiasm is found a plenty at wordpress. I also do believe in volunteering. I made a small career of it when my children were young. The passing on of knowledge is also perpetuated through these voluntary and selfless modes. I am glad to hear that idealists are alive and well in Germany! Those that see value in the arts and benevolent pursuits paid or unpaid, are pragmatic idealists, aren’t they?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Several of the ideals you mention: keeping our surroundings rubbish-free, thinking carefully before disposing of anything that could have further use are the sort of thing it would be nice to feel that everyone would just assume into their everyday lives. You clearly do, I hope I do, and if we all (including firms and corporations) took control of this kind of thing, then the immense problems the world is now facing with regard to say plastic simply wouldn’t be happening. Ideals round issues such as trafficking, refugees and so on are much harder to work with as our options as ‘mere’ citizens are so much more limited. Beyond working with like minded people and campaigning, one feels so impotent. But what other options are there? I think sometimes the hardest part of hanging on to your ideals is hanging on to the feeling that it’s worthwhile – that it’s possible to make a difference. There, I’ve just depressed myself…….

    Liked by 3 people

    • Don’t feel depressed, Margaret. Your comment gives me hope that many others feel as I do, and that means there is hope. I can relate to the feelings of impotence – particularly in regard to climate change and the environment. I even left that profession because of a feeling of impotence. However, to quote another saying: from little things, big things grow. I think we are just the ripple, and we shall keep on spreading awareness. We can’t rush this journey for others…
      Many, many thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I know that feeling very well, Margaret. And yet – isn’t it quite the same as when we go to the voting booth at election time? My vote is just one out of millions. What I vote, or even whether I vote, matters not at all… And yet, paradoxically, it does. For *your* vote, *your* choices, express the world which *you* want to live in. And by expressing your will, you aid in the shaping of it.
      If all of us abstain from following our ideals, stay away when voting, stay home during demonstrations, litter and consume without consideration for environment… then nothing will change.
      Each time you make a choice, follow the small, burning flame of idealism within you, you shape the world.
      Change is possible. We know this – for we see it every day, bit by incremental bit, all around us…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I struggle to feel positive at the moment, Forestwood. Over the last few years I’ve been campaigning on various issues I really care about more actively than I ever used to. Our efforts, set against the monied and well-supported forces of the Alt Right seem puny and disorganised. On the plus side, through such campaigning, I’ve met far more sympathetic and energetic people than I ever have before who share the same beliefs and hopes. These communities are something to celebrate and draw strength from.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I am sorry that things are getting more desperate, in your area, Margaret. You just keep on campaigning and don’t give up, otherwise your voice may never be heard. It might seem, some days, like you are not getting very far, but our journey is long, and there will be ups and downs along the way. It is always better with a voice, than with silence. Information is power, even if it is denied.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pragmatism affords you the ways and means of crossing the uncharted waters, which idealism propels you into while cynicism warns you of the lurking sharks.
    And Wisdom? Wisdom is leaning back on the beach nearby, watching the Sun set…

    Liked by 2 people

      • Heh! πŸ˜€
        I am not sure I have a really good definition of wisdom. Mainly because the more I think about it, the more multifaceted it seems to be.

        But yes, wisdom is what enables you to lean back on that beach and just enjoy *being*. Idealism would propel you forward, away from there – out to do something, to change the world. While cynicism will tell you, that much of that glorious red sunset is actually the effect of pollution in the air.
        But wisdom… wisdom will let you enjoy the beauty of it, even knowing that the world is imperfect and needs change.
        Does that make it seem lazy?
        I would guess so. And yes, to some extent I think it is – in the sense that wisdom lets you conserve your energy for a better time and place…

        Do I need idealism and cynicism to achieve wisdom?
        I would say it helps… but I am not sure they are required. πŸ˜‰
        I am having difficulties imagining wisdom without experience though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Experience is so valuable for the getting of wisdom and navigating life in general. I actually refer to experience a little, in my Sunday Sayings post!
        Cynicism though, I would say seems more of a sideways move away from wisdom. Cynicism in my view, implies repeatedly sneering in a habitual way- which doesn’t seem very wise or healthy at all. So, I don’t see cynicism as essential for wisdom either, but only a step or diversion, (a lesson), along the long journey towards wisdom. Having a healthy scepticism though, seems more moderate and wise. Knowing the difference between the two is learnt through experience, perhaps?
        Idealism I think is more in the ‘essential’ camp, but then is that my bias speaking?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Language is an art form … everything is subject to personal interpretation πŸ˜‰
        (or would that, maybe, make art into another kind of language?)

        Cynicism – yes, I can quite follow you there, Amanda! The sneering, contemptuous kind is not healthy, and not wise. But that was not what I meant. I was thinking of the sceptical variety where you distrust the apparent “good” motives for actions and look for the reasons (often) hidden by that facade. The “cui bono” question. The “why would he/she/it do that?” Sometimes, yes, it is what it appears to be. But all too often – especially when we deal with politics or larger companies – it is not.
        In my experience, pure unselfishness occurs (almost) exclusively on the individual level. As soon as politics or major amounts of money are involved, multiple reasons and interests will have a say. Some of them good, some of them selfish, some of them promoting agendas which are hidden behind the rest…

        Let us take your blog as example. πŸ˜‰
        You do not have a blog to make money – there are no adverts on it. You do not promote any specific, political agenda apart from your own personal views and opinions. But you do have a blog for a reason: it gives you a way of expressing yourself, speaking with people you wouldn’t be meeting otherwise, and maybe even sharing a bit of wisdom, light and beauty with the world. And that is exactly why I like your blog.
        But there are other blogs – I meet them sometimes – which seem to be there purely to gain money, to sell dubious products, or promote political or religious agendas which run counter to what I believe is “good” in the world. In some cases they hide behind a facade of kindness, outrage, or good advice for personal or money issues. Organisations promoting MLM (multi-level marketing) are examples of this.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think that language could be seen as an art form, as beautiful poetry or skilful oratory is creative and imaginative. A good speech can move people to tears, such is its power. Is art a language – yes I think so too. Some genres of art are understood by certain parts of society and others don’t understand them at all. They just don’t appeal. They haven’t got an ear for that art (that language).
        So we have solved that mystery, N.Dragon!
        Re my blog! I hope you are not seeing adverts, but sometimes there are one or two- but these are not for my profit, they apparently help wordpress pay for my free blog.I advertise my custom fabrics on the sidebar but this makes profits for the printing company and I get a small commission.
        I often think about whether I should pay for a premium blog, (a blog tht has guaranteed no ads), thus making it more pleasant for readers. This would support wordpress who have given me this superb platform for free, and perhaps this will in turn mean they will hire more staff, but then a blog is likely to disappear as my previous website did, when it was archived into the great cyber grave of the net.
        So thanks ever so much for liking my blog. It is exactly what I was aiming for. Does anyone on wordpress worth their salt, read the other self serving drivel? I don’t see much discussion happening.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think WordPress is a wonderful service, and I much appreciate that it is possible to have free blogs on their site. And really, I don’t think you should have a bad conscience about that, Amanda. WordPress is hardly strapped for cash; they just bought Tumblr! πŸ™‚
        To be honest though, there is another thing I enjoy very much about your blog, and that is connecting with you. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • No hurry, Amanda. πŸ˜‰
        I have been unable to write much for the last couple of weeks, and may have only a little time for the rest of the month. Life…
        However, I have a guest post up on my blog, in case you are interested. And I am planning something else on economy … (which may interest you – when I have it ready, though I make no promises – it happens more often than not that things turn out differently from what they started out as… )
        I liked Margarets comment here – and your reply πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Idealists are forward-looking, see the world as it can be “if only”. Those who are comfortable in the misery and wrong doings of the real world find us irritating because we see the possibilities of reaching that ideal world, yet they are bogged down in their inertia and wrong-headedness. Unfortunately, they are comfortable or uninspired, perhaps, to expend energy or anything of value to move forward. Let’s celebrate and thank goodness the idealism of our youth survived the decades of fighting the inertia of the dull ones, and we still see what can be!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is a very thoughtful post, Amanda. It certainly made me think. Whenever I hear the comment from someone that starts, “why can’t they just”, I know what’s coming. We want everyone to do the right thing and especially our way. I am also an idealist who spent most of my first 60 years shaking my head at people that didn’t do the right, kind, or tidy way. Then I learned that the Universe requires contrast for all things to move forward. What a shock. Because I’m also very pragmatic, I’ve come to a point in life that lets me understand I will never give up my idealism but keep the pragmatism in the other hand. It keeps one a little saner. You can’t fight all those that feel inclined not to care but never give up trying to change one mind at a time. That is my goal, one mind at a time. Then they can change one mind too. until we are ideal, or more so. πŸ˜‰ Have a peaceful week ahead, Amanda.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You never fail to amaze me with your eloquence and articulated response, Marlene. It is always just what I need to hear. The Universe needs contrast! Yes, indeed it does need that in order to strive towards a comprehensive, somewhat balanced and inclusive society, where all types and opinions are naturally going to be present. There is the logical pragmatist! It stands to reason. It poses the question: how would a society work or not work if we all thought cohesive, or at worst, in unison! Conformity would stifly innovation. The aberrant thinkers and doers – that is the contrast that you spoke of, ( as I see it), is necessary. Is that what you meant by contrast, Marlene?

      Liked by 1 person

    • @ Margaret21 – Marlene sums it up beautifully. You can’t fight all those that feel inclined not to care but never give up trying to change one mind at a time. That is my goal, one mind at a time. Then they can change one mind too. until we are ideal, or more so.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Okay so I am a committed idealist but one with a healthy dose of cynicism, not so much that it would ever stop me from following my ideals, not sure I could live with myself if I still didn’t hope for the best and live accordingly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a great way to relax, Lisa. Nature can help us with a calming energy. It can also provide us with a smaller world within, one that is somewhat insulated from the chaotic world of “modernia.”
      The vistas in your part of the world would certainly be a awe inspiring distraction.


      • well I think part of it is ignorance –
        we had a teen travel with us on a. trip and he tossed his used paper plate out of the mini van as we pulled away from the beach – and we were like “what?” I stopped so he could pick it up – we were astounded and he was oblivious –
        and so I think for some folks there is ignorance
        and maybe for others it is even deviant behavior – maybe
        and sometimes the lazy part –

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I could see that some folks would not give littering a second thought but if you were taught to clean up after yourself it is second nature to put things in their rightful place and not thrown junk anywhere. In the situation you mentioned, I would have done exactly what you did, so that the Teenager had some exposure to actions that was considerate of others.

        Liked by 1 person

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