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One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. -Nietzsche

  March 6, 2012

Idealism

Our ideals are inherited, indicating an accumulated high water mark from an old era when ability and discipline were necessary. To not seek attainment of ideals burdened one with a difficult life. The wisdom inherent in them was an instructional roadmap, with local examples of failed people illustrating the costs of ignorance, inattention, and deviation.

Times changed, and today life is easy and effortless. Accordingly, the substance and essence of old risks and warnings were forgotten, yet idealistic phrases and ideas were repeated without context or consideration.

Eventually cause and effect became blurred. In this opportunistic haze, progressive new ideals were introduced, demanding loyalty without permitting questions or discussion of consequences. A mass of clever sharks gathered around this movement and demanded freedom from the oppression of reality. They cast blame on invisible external factors, insisting their own actions and self-caused conditions were innocent, benevolent, and enlightened, and thus attributed their failures to shadowed others who were surely keeping them down, especially the successful and well-adjusted who needed to be destroyed at any cost.

This worked, so long as attention spans were crippled and everyone was conditioned too afraid to confront lies, excuses, and filibusters. No one dared oppose decisions with obviously bad outcomes looming, and instead pretended to disavow knowledge of their effects. Even probable results were denied, and people politely rejected that likely outcomes could ever be binding or absolute for any individual case, even if true of the aggregate. Tolerance for everything reigned supreme, with costs borne most by one's neighbors.

Similarly, all choices were promised available with consequences discreetly hidden. If you believed the marketing, this rationalized selfish hedonism as a higher pursuit than cultivated ability or purposeful action, the latter now relegated to losers who were missing out on a profound amusement park experience.

Rather than obligating people to profess belief in ideals no longer in reach, we could free them from hypocrisy by rebalancing idealism to match contemporary reality. We would start by admitting we need guidance because most people are irresponsible, self-destructive, lazy, passive, irrational, unaware, unrealistic, and desirous of deception.

From this vantage we can more accurately look at human behavior to better consider what we should do, how to improve ourselves, make a healthy society, and critically assess how situations we create are likely to unfold.


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