I am an idealist, and proud to be so. We need as many idealists as we can find in this cynical world. So I thought I would make this the topic of this week’s “Philosophy Friday”.
“Idealism” tends to be coupled with “youthful”, as if it is an unfortunate phase to be grown out of, like acne. But where would we be without a dollop of idealism in the world? It’s okay to aim high, knowing that it is just an opening position for the bargaining process and may well be whittled down to something more realistic. But if the opening position is already “realistic”, then once the whittling has happened very little will be left. If you shoot for the stars, and only get as far as the moon, you’ve still done pretty well.
Our great visionaries were idealists. An idealist is a lot more inspiring than a realist. It is much more motivating to hear “I have a dream” than “I had a dream, but then I thought about it some more, and realistically we’ll be lucky to get….”
Idealism and realism are not mutually exclusive. Even the most inspiring of visionaries has to have a plan, and supporters to help execute that plan, if they are to be regarded by history as anything more than a dreamer. And that is the appropriate time for realism to enter the picture. To get from the present situation to the envisioned future situation, there needs to be a list of steps to bridge the gap. Tenacious idealism is what makes dreams come true.
In these uncertain times, it isn’t possible to plan every step of the way with accuracy. There is a useful maxim, “plan roughly, execute superbly”, that allows plans to get going before they succumb to paralysis by analysis.
So there we go. My blueprint for creating the future. Aim for the ideal, make a big To Do list to get you from here to there, then execute the plan superbly. Not always easy, but it can be done.
Today I saw a flying fish get taken down by, err, something bigger. There was a kerfuffle at the surface of the water, I looked over, saw the flying fish take off, and before it got very far the head of something big came up and grabbed it. The whole scene was over in about one second. It’s a jungle out there. Well, no, it isn’t. It’s an ocean. But you know what I mean.
I creep ever closer to halfway. Getting really close now. And then only as much to do again. Sigh!
Tanya – it’s funny, I’ve never had that dream/nightmare of turning up somewhere in totally inappropriate clothing. Only in real life!
Stephen Stewart – nor have I had floating or flying dreams, although I hear they are very common. I do quite a lot of climbing, even scuba-diving, in my dreams, but no flying. Read into that what you will, Dr Freud!
Keith Arnold – seems to be the week for blasts from the past. I had an old Andersen Consulting colleague send me a message a couple of days ago. One of the perks of my job (or should I say “occupational hazard”?) is that my past is catching up with me. How much do I have to pay you to keep quiet about the embarrassing bits?!
Quote for today: “If we like a man’s dream, we call him a reformer; if we don’t like his dream, we call him a crank.” (William Dean Howells)
Photo: random pic of me – am I looking idealistic?!
Sponsored Miles: Grateful thanks to: John Miller, Anne and Peter Thomson, Wayne Batzer, Harriet Shugarman and Chris Ferreira.