Idealism blues

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Idealism blues

  1. 1. Date: Mon, 7 Oct 1996 23:50:07 +0400 (GMT+0400) <br />From: ief@glas.apc.org (William Haines) <br />Subject: OWC Re: Ideal nation <br />Brian rather surprisingly asked: <br />>>>If there is anyone out there who is eagerly awaiting the birth of the <br />>>>ideal nation? <br />To which I rather bluntly replied: <br />>>Not me. I'm not an idealist. Never have been. Don't believe in <br />>>ideals, ideal people or ideal nations. Don't really even like <br />>>idealists. I like people though and enjoy visiting and living in <br />>>different nations. I think the whole enterprise to create ideal <br />>>people, an ideal nation and an ideal world is basically <br />>>misconceived. <br />A rather astonished Patrick followed up with: <br />>If you are not an idealist William , how did you ever get <br />>involved with this lot ? What pulled you in ? So you never lost <br />>your ideals because you didn't have any . Or is having ideals <br />>not making someone into an idealist ? What about the ideals <br />>promoted by the principle ? If you hold to the truth of that principle , <br />>are you not an idealist ? <br />To which after I lost control of my fingers I say: How did I get involved? I hope you're not expecting a full blown testimony Patrick, although I suppose it might be fun to tell it one day. In short I thought the Principle gave a good explanation of life as I experienced it. It had a half-decent explanation about solving problems and a sensible vision. I liked the fact that there was no utopia sketched out. It was very open in that sense about the future and how it would evolve. (Afterwards I realised that most of that was just a front and that people really didn't believe in it) I also, in part from listening to his life, came to believe that Father was the Messiah. Being a Christian I naturally felt called to follow him. I can't say that I was very attracted by the members and even less by the organisation. It was and still is too totalitarian for my taste. I found most members to be incredibly naive and I thought the worst possible disaster that could befall humanity was for such people to obtain positions of influence and power. There were others who were a lot more sensible. They have mostly left now. <br />I don't believe there are any ideals promoted by the principle. I can't recall the word ideal appearing in DP, at least not in the sense that most people seem to use it, namely a conception of something in its absolute perfection. One that is regarded as a standard or model of perfection or excellence, or an ultimate object of endeavor or goal. <br />Idealism is too statis for me and contrary to the way the world really is. I don't think there is an ideal human form a la Mr or Miss Universe or any ideal in other areas either. I think there are virtues that one should embody but one thing I notice about what one might call spiritually advanced people is their uniqueness and individuality. It is only really primitive forms of civilization such as totalitarianism that describe ideals that people are expected to conform to. <br />I just think people are different and I try to accept and love them as they are. I think things and people grow and change and evolve. I don't think there is any end state to be aimed for and even worse reached. In politics I don't think there is any single ideal system of government. There are different systems that are appropriate to different groups of people at different times. So I don't think there is an ideal nation. I don't think one could describe such a thing in any detail at all. All one could say is that there was freedom, happy stable families, little or no crime, peace with neighbouring countries and a few other generalities like this all of which can be expressed concretely in a myriad of ways. <br />Furthermore, I think this idealism business is the death of human relationships. For example, people expect a leader to be ideal. An ideal Abel or whatever. They expect him to fit into their conception of what a leader should be like. They expect him to fit into a box or model. Often they think he fits at first and become all inspired. When he doesn't they become disillusioned and disappointed and resentful at being let down. All this is, is a person projecting their own ideals onto someone else and getting upset when the person refuses or merely doesn't conform or live up to them. The same can be said about that elusive species, the ideal member. The content of the ideal is inevitably so external and superficial it again involves trying to get people to put on a straight jacket. The whole enterprise is basically selfcentred. Idealists don't love people. They love themselves and their own ideals and other people only to the extent that they conform to that ideal. I think Cain was an idealist. <br />The same often happens in love. It is called infatuation. Loving not a person warts and all but just an ideal that has little to do with reality. I think this is one of the reasons many blessings don't work out. People expect a certain ideal and get upset when that person isn't like that. I think it is just immature. <br />Idealists have too much faith for my liking. They are prepared to sacrifice the future for the present, although they call it the present for the future. Everything is an emergency which means that nothing is an emergency and things which ought to be done because they really are important are treated on the same level as things which are really trivial. All values get inverted. People become a means to an end. Eg fulfilling a numerical blessing goal instead of true love and having a happy family. <br />Idealists try to make other people and society conform to their idea of what is right. Since there is an ideal it means that anything that doesn't conform to that ideal not just of behaviour but also of belief is deviant, Satanic, evil or whatever and is ultimately to be destroyed. This is way of thinking that gives you fascism and communism of both the atheistic and religious varieties. It is so narrow and enervating. A straight jacket in which people are not allowed to follow their own lights or pursue their own vision or live their own life unless it is centred upon some whole purpose like a country mobilized for war. The result of such mobilization is the imposition of a plan, (the ideal) on society in which everyone is expected to fit into a designated position which has been allotted to them by those who know how the ideal is to be implemented. Ultimately I find idealism banal, vapid and boring. I like people as they are namely unideal. I can't bear people who try to be ideal. They are not real but merely cardboard cutouts saying the right things, believing the right things, doing the right things etc. I prefer the publican to the Pharisee. <br />>So you never lost your ideals because you didn't have any <br />People only get disillusioned when they allow themselves to get illusioned in the first place. <br />Illusion: <br />1.a. An erroneous perception of reality. b. An erroneous concept or belief. <br />2. The condition of being deceived by a false perception or belief. <br />3. Something, such as a fantastic plan or desire, that causes an erroneous belief or perception. <br />>What about the ideals promoted by the principle? <br />Name a few for me and I will tell you what I think of them assuming they are ideals promoted by the Principle as opposed to the normal platitudes one comes across everywhere. <br />>If you hold to the truth of that principle, are you not an idealist? <br />No. I really don't think the Principle is idealistic anymore than the Old and New Testaments or indeed any serious religious texts. Idealists who describe their utopia in great detail are all ultimately atheistic since an ideal is closed and doesn't allow for spontaneity and doesn't allow space for God to work and be present. I think DP it is often understood and taught as if it were idealistic but I think that is the problem that many people in the UC come from a socialist background. The Abel-type trend that gave us liberal democracy is profoundly sceptical and not idealistic apart from Locke who tried to create an ideal based on and to protect scepticism. <br />I think I'd better stop here or we'll be off into the democracy debate again. <br />William <br />-----------------------------<br />Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 17:00:19 +0400 (WSU DST) <br />From: ief@glas.apc.org (William Haines) <br />Subject: Re: OWC Ideal world <br />Brian: <br />>I enjoyed William' long diatribe. <br />Thanks. <br />>It got me thinking about Physics. In the reality of sub-atomic particles <br />>there is something called the Uncertainty Principle. Basically it deals with <br />>the impossibly of predicting both the velocity and position of a particle at <br />>any point in time. The velocity of a particle may be predicted - but not its <br />>position and vice versa. <br />>There is a parallel here perhaps with our more familiar world. We can say <br />>that there must be an ideal state -but we cannot say what it should be <br />>like. Vice versa, we can say what a state should be like but we cannot say <br />>it is ideal. <br />I like your analogy but don't think it proves what you want it to prove. We can say there must be an ideal state. But we can just as easily, and I think more sensibly, say there is not. <br />>Similarly, we cannot describe the ideal person, relationship or anything <br />>else. Although we can conclude that they exist. <br />I haven't concluded that ideal people relationships or anything else exist. I think the whole thing is a chimera the pursuit of which leaves one perpetually frustrated and disappointed. I think idealism is a disease that should carry a health warning. <br />I think myself that most of the most important and interesting things in life lie outside the realm of pure reason. Reason cannot grasp the inherent messiness there is in the real world and although it is necessary and useful for making sense of it can never do so comprehensively. There is always an element of mystery that can never be completely fathomed. For example although I find Graham's analysis of DP and much else both entertaining, enlightening and necessary in the light of a taboo (often just self-imposed) on thinking and intelligent discussion in the past, ultimately I think he is going to fall into the same pit as Deists such as Tindal and Tolland in the 18th Century. There is much that cannot be explained rationally and I think the assertions in DP that it can are rather naive. The DP itself as Graham never tires of demonstrating is itself as incoherent as the Bible. But then real life is not all that coherent and explicable. <br />I just find idealism to be grossly over-rated and in sore need of a dose of scepticism. <br />William <br /> <br />-------------------------<br />Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 11:39:53 +0400 (WSU DST) <br />From: ief@glas.apc.org (William Haines) <br />Subject: Re: Absolute Best? (was: Re: OWC Lucifer, Eve and the Principle <br />Art: <br />>When we believe what about ourselves? I think a big function 'god' serves <br />>is a model for what we believe ourselves capable of becoming. If god <br />>can blow it, what does that leave about what we can believe about <br />>ourselves? Sure we can be 'better', but no relative property makes <br />>ultimate sense unless there is an absolute, a 'best'. <br />Sorry to be getting on your case again Art old chap but you seem to have awoken a flea in my bonnet. <br />One can recognize that one thing is relatively heavier or lighter than another without there being an absolute weight. One can tell that one object is further away than another without an absolute distance. One can tell that a Ford is better than a Lada without knowing about Mercedes or having any conception of what an absolute, a best, car would be like (if such a thing existed either here or as a Platonic Form). One can tell that one person is better than another without a knowledge of or there existing an absolute, a best person. This is how we go about our daily life. <br />So relative properties do make sense without an absolute. Indeed in most areas of life it is hard to even begin to imagine what an absolute would be like let alone how this would make it have ultimate sense. <br />It's just part of human nature to be able to make such distinctions. What used to be called the law of human nature. Some people call it intuition. In DP it is called the original mind which I suppose is more or less what Mencius meant by original heart: one of the four tendencies of the heart is to be able to distinguish between right and wrong. We don't need someone to tell us or show us what the ideal is. It is living inside us because we're created in the image of God. Whoops. I seem to have come full circle and be agreeing with Patrick. So let me rephrase that. We have the inherent ability to know the difference between right and wrong. Oh dear. I seem to be getting onto the Tree of Knowledge discussion. I am getting rather confused. I suppose I just like Moses parting words to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 30:11-14. <br />>I think its possible (if fact common) to live life without ideals, but <br />>doing so overlooks many of the very things that give value and meaning <br />>and (dare i say) dignity and nobility to our existence. You may be <br />>willing to sacrifice that, but not me. <br />I think one can lead a meaningful and rich life without being an idealist. (Don't forget that this whole thread started as a discussion of ideal nation and my diatribe was directed primarily to that sort of hard headed idealism and not to dreamers (of which I am one)). <br />William <br /> <br />

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