“Thoughts of a stubborn idealist”. That’s the tagline to the title of this blog, Keeping the Dream. So just yesterday I wrote a page about what an idealist is to me, to replace the older welcome page I used to have.
In case you haven’t noticed it, I wanted to draw your attention to it, because a shift in our perception and attitude is really needed in a world that gives you so many reasons to become cynical, or worse, apathetic. And what’s perhaps even weirder, apologetic or embarrassed for being hopeful or idealistic instead!
I choose to hold on to my ideals and to interpret my reality through them, because to do otherwise is a total waste of time. What’s more foolish than to offer nothing but the helplessness of cynicism? How productive is that to you or to the world?
So if you are an idealist, hold your head up, and don’t let anyone or anything take that from you. Hold to your ideas tenaciously and stubbornly. The world depends on it. Truly.
I used to have a friend who took pride in being “logical” and “rational”, and he used to argue with me about my insistence of believing in a better world or hoping for the best or looking for positive changes in our reality. He was one of those, “We’re going to blow ourselves up”, people. He even had an idea about when it was going to happen or when it was bound to happen…critical negative mass or something..
And I made a bet with him.
Okay, if you’re wrong, and we don’t blow ourselves up by then, you owe me a dinner. And if I’m wrong, and we do destroy ourselves…I’ll take you out.
He just looked at me, and I laughed.
Look, if I really am stupid for believing in what I do, who’s going to be around to say ‘I told you so’?
If I suddenly go to my grave after living a life of hope and making at least some part of the world a little better place or a few people happy, and make myself happier because of what I believe and you go to your grave after living a life of cynicism, who’s the fool? To what benefit will it have brought you or anyone else that you were right, all along?
So congratulations to all the naysayers, and “why even try” people. You might live a life of apathy and cynicism and be right about it…but never justified, because we’re all going to die anyway. What excuse is that to not offer hope to another or live as if what we do can make a difference?
But the thing is, idealism isn’t just an attitude and it isn’t based on blind faith or proof. It’s based and sustained on the principles on which you live, and that’s independent of what goes on around you. It’s your inner guide, your rudder, so to speak.
This makes a difference in how you act and that makes a difference on the very thing we call reality. It’s a creative and powerful catalyst for the change cynics say can’t or won’t happen.
So the next time someone looks are you incredulously like you’re stupid or something for being an idealist, and tells you to be realistic, tell them you are realistic. Realism isn’t synonymous with despair, even though that is the reality for many. Realism encompasses all of reality, and that includes hope and all the things we’ve done right and can do right and will do right.
Idealism isn’t a pipe dream. It’s a demand, an insistence that we, as a humanity live up to our potential, the belief that we can and the support that we will. It’s the refusal to let us off the hook, the insistence that we be accountable for our actions, that we clean up our mess and make the better choices.
The idealist isn’t a Pollyanna. An idealist isn’t perfect. An idealist is a highly principled person guided by those beautiful universal ideals of truth, love, justice, equity, compassion, etc., rather than the changing tides of circumstance.
Thats where the stubbornness comes in. And I’m proud to be one.