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View Diary: Taking Issue With Idealism (68 comments)

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  •  When did "idealism" become a bad word? (nt) (9+ / 0-)

    Stop the NRA and the NSA
    Repeal the Patriot Act and the 2nd Amendment

    by dream weaver on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 07:21:25 PM PDT

    •  The word seems to have become an insult (8+ / 0-)

      to those affected with the notion that Incrementalism is Superior, and the rest of us are just wasting our time.  (IMO, incrementalism got us into this mess but that's for another day)

      I'm not outright saying this diarist, here, in this diary, is insulting anyone in particular, but there's an unmistakeable air of distaste being conveyed with the word's usage here. I don't have a social degree--my degree is in language. And frankly, I'm pretty much over the efforts to demonize certain words in the current American canon, to benefit a select few.

      "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

      by lunachickie on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 10:04:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One of the primary dictionary definitions (5+ / 0-)

        of an idealist is: "One whose conduct is influenced by ideals that often conflict with practical considerations."

        There are certainly time when idealism is warranted, but, if given the choice, I'd say we'd be better off with more people who approached situations with a mind to help in the present rather than hope for the future.

        •  Oh, but of course! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos, spacejam

          Because a mind to help in the present would be irresponsible if they considered "the future" for one nano-second....

          "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

          by lunachickie on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:48:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, quite true. On the other hand, (3+ / 0-)

          often we define 'practical' to mean 'as it's done now', or 'what we think is possible'.  Practical is a word that speaks to beliefs, and beliefs can be changed, and are different from person to person.

          No advance in human existence was considered 'practical' until it occurred.  They were the realm of 'fantasy'.  Spaceships, submarines, 'printed' human organs.

          Idealism is about the art of turning fantasy into reality.  Sometimes you can do it, sometimes you'll try in vain until some other technology develops that you needed as a stepping stone.  But very few 'idealists' live in the oft-decried 'ivory towers' of academia.  Most are still people of the world who do help in the now, but also look to the future.

          •  Perhaps (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

            "realistic" is better than practical.

            For me as a teacher, my ideal is to change the world by educating people. But I realized long ago that goal was realistically unattainable in its ideal sense. Nevertheless, realistically, I can (and, I hope, do) make that happen to a small extent every year--on a county level.

            I agree that one must have underlying ideals and principles but one must also deal with reality. I agree that we must harmonize them. I see my ideals as the bass and rhythm of my life and my daily activities as the melody. When those two are in harmony, I am satisfied. It's the manifestation of the ideal.

            I think that is what the diarist is feeling when daily social work is satisfying.

            "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others." --Groucho Marx

            by Dragon5616 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:43:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It's a word with many meanings. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, wishingwell, erratic

      I thought maybe the diary would be about Plato or about Obama pie fights, but it was neither.

      I understood what she meant as soon as she brought up Camus's The Plague.  Dealing with the intractable problems of the here and now at a very local level.  Not confusing that things more esoteric and theoretical and removed from actual real world contact.

      •  Exactly. (8+ / 0-)

        Existentialism is a good overall philosophy when dealing with social work. Compared with some social workers I've met who were so burnt out as to be adversarial with their clients, the diarist holds out hope in the form of enduring adversity for the sake of helping in whatever limited way one can.
        As an ex-teacher I had some contempt for the EdD who was sparklingly enthusiastic about teaching pedagogy, when she herself had been able to stand one year of high schoolers before escaping to the much easier job of teaching at a private university. However, I came to realise that her enthusiasm was infectious and many students from her classes went on to be excellent secondary school teachers. In fact the department collapsed when she moved on simply because all of the other profs were too jaded by experience to show teaching as anything but soul destroying.
        As Meteor Blades commented, you need both idealists and the people who understand how to be effective practitioners, at least until we have enough saints that are both.

        You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

        by northsylvania on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:29:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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