The New Idealism
Be it the struggle for gay rights, women’s liberation, civil rights, or even the occupation of Wall St., any worthwhile movement of the past or meaningful pursuit of the present, is based on idealism. Some person or group of persons sees a better way, or imagines a better future, and sets out to obtain it. It is a guiding force that has shaped much of the good in our lives, and continues to shape the good to come. And yet, why is it that the word ‘idealist’ never fails to bring to mind a starry eyed hippie with a djembe?
According to my dictionary.com app there are quite a few reasons why one would imagine being idealistic to be a counter productive pursuit. With definitions like ‘impractical person,’ ‘unrealistic,’ ‘dreamer,’ and ‘existing as…fancy or imagination only,’ one would certainly think that by no means would this be a quality to seek out or, god forbid, live by!
We, at Booty Jams Podcast, believe that being a good partner means first being a good person. It means dedicating yourself to personal improvement and growing from your experiences. While the work it takes to be a better person and partner is a daunting task, it can also be an experience that captures the imagination. We’ve all been dreamers, and dare I say, idealists at one time in our lives, and for most, those lofty thoughts were slammed head first into the cold wall of reality. The tiring routine of work, paying bills, and scraping together a social life that often leaves you less than satisfied, has forced out of you the desire to think in ideals; while the only dreaming you do is one naked first day of school nightmare after another. This is why we challenge everyone to take a moment to dream and give idealism a fresh perspective.
It is important to distinguish that we do not refer to that dry, uninformed idealism of stoned give-peace-a-chancers or those who believe Uggs will go out of style. There are some problems you just can’t solve. No, indeed, this sort of superficial idealism leads next to nowhere. Instead, we want to focus on something deeper, something more meaningful, something we like to call qualitative idealism.
The idea is simple really, qualitative idealism is a reality based brand of idealistic thinking that embraces the practice of accepting the current state of things, but with an ever-open eye towards improvement. Unlike a superficial idealism that embraces extremes, leaving us victim to the drastic vacillations between thinking idealistically and becoming completely jaded, a qualitative perspective is an ever encouraging path along which each step forward is appreciated, and used to move onward. Okay, okay, it doesn’t sound that simple, we get it. Here’s the point, the typical idea of idealism is someone who imagines a reality that is so far fetched that it is pretty much impossible. Yet, we have begun to attach that anything-great-is-impossible perspective to things we actually CAN achieve if we put a little sweat into it.
Lets take, for instance, our views on relationships. Many of us have convinced ourselves that ‘all the good ones are taken.’ We have reduced our expectations to such a degree that we’ll accept any breathing body that can get it up, and doesn’t have a heroin problem; and the heroin thing isn’t even that big of a deal. Yet, while we might not find our superficial ideals of tall, dark, and handsome, we can certainly demand and achieve the qualitative ideals of communication, kindness, generosity, and openness. These qualities are certainly idealistic. They are what we strive for on our best days, and what we find so noble in others, but even those we admire are doing hard work to keep it together.
Superficial idealism is the Prius that just cut you off with that ‘Coexist’ bumper sticker; while qualitative idealism is the hard working doctor who just married his husband, because he had a dream, and a resilient heart.
All that’s great in the world, at one time seemed impossible, and yet, all the seemingly unattainable beauty you see around you can certainly be yours. However, it takes a level of deeply considered idealism to get there.
Now, this may sound like some rip of ‘The Secret,’ or some bullsh*t self help excerpt, but a perspective that demands you dream of your ideal life and seek to obtain it, can’t be a meaningless venture. There are clichés all around that seem tired and superficially idealistic, but with effort, those lofty goals of a brilliant partner, a job that makes you happy, and a healthy relationship with your family, can actually become a possibility. The trouble is, we must simultaneously battle discouragement with a level of resilience that seems idealistic in and of it self.
It’s a hard road if you really want to embrace qualitative idealism. It’s not as easy as the superficial dreamers who send their thoughts out to the universe and hope the stars will heed their calls. However, a qualitatively idealistic mind can see real results that a less radical perspective would never have imagined possible. Beginning where you are and dreaming of an ideal future is a great first step, but then, make a move.
As they say, ‘every accomplishment starts with a decision to try.’
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