“Ideals are like the stars: we never reach them, but like the mariners of the sea, we chart our course by them.”–Carl Schurz
A great many of us look up to or attempt to govern their lives by keeping high standards or principles foremost in their minds. We might be considered to be idealistic or follow idealism as a moral or political pathway. This might manifest as a naive youthful idealism in a belief that peace, love and harmony can be easily attained throughout the world, if only the oldsters would relinquish their outmoded views and forfeit power. This impractical take on the ideal sometimes remains a mindset of some folks into adulthood.
There is an even more strict form of the ideal. It often takes the form of a wish to return to some sort of idealized past or golden age of a culture or nation. In Italy, this sort of conservatism gained traction in the regime of Benito Mussolini. There have been many variations on this theme before Italian fascism with more than a few contemporary political aspirants here and abroad.
“After the turbulence of death, moral principles and even religious proofs are called into question.”–Salvatore Quasimodo
Still, even taking into account the foibles and tragedies encountered in trying to force humanity into some measure of perfection in behavior or even race, there is a drive in many of us to do better. This ideal might be felt in a drive to perfect oneself and seek a personal ideal.
Under sober, wise tutoring, from a carefully chosen elder, improvement and skillfulness in character can be sought. Frequently we grow through various methods and theories about “higher” living by trial and error. Mostly error. If we recognize that we could very well be wrong in some fundamental ways, we will be able to correct our life’s journey.
“From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor’s rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own.”–Carl Schurz
In a more positive sense, an ideal is based on the best examples of behavior with a compassionate manner of dealing with the minority voices of a nation or community taken into strong consideration. It’s a tightrope walk between idealism and ideology. The set of beliefs, values and opinions can either be based upon idealism or realism.
In my opinion, a path based on practical consideration and acceptance of the actual ways of the world and acceptance of human weaknesses and strengths is an excellent way to a more harmonious life. This view needs to be flexible to account for updated information and mores of society. In a humane view, that would be the ideal.
The Blue Jay of Happiness thinks we all get along a bit better when there’s some wiggle-room for everyone.