Realistic, Not Fatalistic

Written by on January 9, 2020 in Conversations on the Journey with 0 Comments

As a Dreamer, I’m sometimes accused of being unrealistic. But I am realistic. I’m just not fatalistic. There’s a difference.

Being realistic is seeing reality for what it is — both it’s limitations and it’s possibilities. Being fatalistic is seeing only the shadow and not the light.

Somehow, being realistic has come to mean being fatalistic, cynical, stopping before you even begin.

Got a dream? Be realistic. The odds are against it.

Believe in humanity? You got to be kidding. People are greedy and selfish.

Have hope for the future? Have you seen the news?

Be realistic. Get your head out of the clouds. Face reality.

You know, I used to hear this all the time when I was little. In fact, I remember my father telling me, “You’re too emotional, you care too much. The world’s gonna chew you up and spit you out. It’s hard out there… Life’s a bitch, you know, rar rar rar.”

So, is this accurate? Well, it’s not entirely wrong, but it’s also not entirely right. So it comes down to choosing what we’re going to focus on or what the relationship between the two will mean to us.

I know challenges exist on our paths as we strive to survive, never mind for our dreams. For some their paths are blocked by war, oppression and poverty. And too often, our collective fears have turned us against one another, engaging in brutality, willingly becoming tools and enforcers of oppression.

Denying that does no good, except to perpetuate the oppression and to make those who are privileged — to whatever degree —  a little less uncomfortable. But there’s another reality — that is just as real — and that is many do strive and reach for their dreams, many do desire to live in peace, and I would say that would be most of us.

Most people don’t jump out of bed wondering how they can make other people miserable today. Most of us just want to be able to take care of our families, our communities and to live in peace or climb a mountain or write a song or any of the many things our spirit longs for to express our lives — not to oppress the lives of others.

There will always be conflict, but it doesn’t have to equate war or violence. And denying the reality of our tenacity and desire to live in peace, or giving it no real weight to what we conclude about life and humankind is just another injustice. And it’s inaccurate.


So who benefits?

Who gave the naysayers the right to hijack the word, “realistic” and to define the nature of “what is”?

Who benefits to see the world as filled only with greed and selfishness, to give up any hope for the future? Who profits from the despair you try to cover with stuff you buy and don’t need or even want?

Who wants people to not engage in their communities, their society, because “Why vote, why bother, it doesn’t matter anyway”?

When you perceive the very humanity you’re a part of is beyond redemption who can blame you for not wanting to throw yourself against a wall that isn’t going to move and you can’t climb over or dig under? Why even try?

~ ~ ~

Because it’s a lie.

Because evil is not stronger than good or more prevalent. Because tyrants get into power, because good people follow rules that guide human decency, and those with ill-intent don’t. They manipulate and break laws until they’re in a position to rewrite or discard them altogether. They stack the courts with judges who will will return the favor, and strip regulatory agencies of their power. They enter into unholy alliances to broker God’s endorsement.

But this lying and gluttonous avarice doesn’t exist, because that’s the way people are. It’s the way those, who are cut off from their humanity and blinded by profit or power or self-interest, are.

We must not let the relatively few define what it is to be human, even if they are capable and do inflict great harm on other human beings and threaten not only peace but the very survival of our planet and the human race.

Humanity is just not that bad.

~ ~ ~

Let’s be realistic. Let’s get real.

It’s unrealistic to think that we can live without acknowledging the very thing that helps to define us as human beings — our ability to dream and the hope it engenders, the capacity to imagine a better future and the desire to create it, the drive to grow and change, to know that reality is not a set fixture but a springboard to something more.

I like this word, “realistic”, because I am a dreamer and I think having hope and believing in the best in one another is realistic. I’m taking this word back, because if you see, truly see the larger picture and the beauty that lies within our world, within each other and in your own self, then you can’t help but have hope.

That’s being realistic.

It’s the cynics who have their heads hiding in the sand and use the word “realistic” as if it were a closed door that are the ones being unrealistic. Not the dreamers or the believers.

The only thing that’s closed is your mind. Open it. We need people with the vision to see what we’re all capable of and stop using the excuse of “we’re all inherently assholes” to be one, because “what’s the use”?

There’s a lot of “use”. First, we’re actually being honest here. Second, this inspires us to do something.  Third, we become empowered to make a difference, and fourth — just because.

Just because it’s a lot better to go through the short time we have here, feeling hopeful and putting our energies into making the world a better place, than to shut ourselves down and watch everyone, including ourselves, go down with the ship.

It’s not about measuring our progress as a humanity. It’s about doing the right thing — for it’s own sake. Even if we don’t save the world, we can save one another, the people whose paths we cross, that one person whose pain we ease or the comfort we bring to a broken heart. That matters.

If you can believe that’s a waste of time, maybe you want to consider what you’re passing up. Because when we help another being, we help ourselves in ways that can only occur when we are giving, not taking.

Selfish people don’t experience that. We should feel sorry for them — but not until we stop the destruction they’re inflicting in this world… and get them out of office.

It takes hope to do that. You can only do so much in anger. Then you burn out.

So be realistic — dream! And start making it happen. Stop kidding yourself into thinking it’s not worth the effort, that people can’t change or make a difference. We do.

All the time.

~ Keeping the Dream

About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, using spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. Demian is a traveler on the healing journey with a lifelong love affair with the creative process. .


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