I love to hear dreams. I was not born a realist, but I was born to realists. I never saw the problem with tweaking what needed adjustment. It depends where you are. The better your life gets, the more independence you have, the easier it is to stop dreaming. Many people settle into responsibility or become disillusioned, and it’s hard to blame them. No society is exactly looking to be told what could be improved.
On the Myers-Briggs, intuitives make up 25% of the population, and many of them get run over by the realities of life. So I am making this post for those that have an optimistic orientation and for those who care about them.
There are two idealists in this world: the ones who are fueled by compassion and the ones that are not. As a teenager, I had big dreams, but they weren’t grounded in any sort of reality. Reality is important as a tool, useless to an idealist as a guide. Without running your theories and dreams against reality, they morph into far-gone, warped, or impossible theories – up to and including murder or suicide. As a teenager, this idealism only produced high expectations and a prison of my own choosing. Idealism doesn’t have a point without reality.
Overthinking and hypersensitivity are a result of being pulled inward. To break things down to their components to an extreme takes the wonder and magic out of everything.
The TV will not go onto the wall straight once you’ve measured wrong. Direction is far more important than the bulk of the work. We focus on the effort in life because it takes more of our time, but our orientation matters far more.
Reality is essential, like idealism. Who wants to live in an uninspired reality — a reality without beauty, vulnerability, or compassion? Who wants to live in a world where everyone dreams continually and nothing ever gets done? A wasting away. Dreams descend into nightmares. Extremes, either way, require a cost too high for society.
The way I used idealism as a teenager, I fueled it with angst, instead of focus. My idealism became more frustration than inspiration. Too much time spent internally produces great discontent and a suffering all its own, as humans are social. There is a point of diminishing returns. Too much of a good thing brings it down. Because man is social, some semblance of an outward orientation – and by extension, some semblance of morality – are essential to well-being of societies and individuals. Without any order, nothing results, only devolution.
We need measurable, small things to aim at. We need things to agree upon. Nihilism or chaos are not ideals. Broad thinking is broad enough for even the details.
Many idealists as they grow up guard their idealism by hiding, else they get torn apart by human nature and other frailties. This idealism is fueled by fear. Instead of using idealism as a means to get by, we should try to use it to change the world, even if it’s just our world. The guarding of ourselves against reality is more sabotage, as dreams leave us with the guilt of having had them without the follow-through. Without testing against reality, we cannot refine dreams to have utility for ourselves and others. There are downsides to idealism – greater loneliness, discontent, criticism – and it is up to us to make the price worth it.
To take gifts and hide them away is to burn inside, but to give away is to truly be. There is no fear in giving, there is no fear in accepting. The seeker goes inside and cannot find what is missing, but those who let go of fear find what they’ve been missing and effect improvements in the world for realists and idealists alike.