Get Real

Broadly speaking, people can be put into two camps:

1. Realists/pragmatists
2. Idealists

Between these two extremes everyone falls. Some of us tend toward one side more than the other.

Our society is one that suits pragmatists. It is imbalanced in favour of this mode of thinking.


It is like a lens placed atop a colour-wheel, that shows some colours as they are whilst distorting or obscuring others.

It mainly consists of lots of short journeys from A to B. Take this to there. And don't ask too many questions. It has a strong current and it likes to flow. It is extremely hostile to things that threaten to disrupt this flow.

Thus, it likes those with the short-view. Those that can get on with things, do the tasks that need doing. Those that can get their head down (and so avoid seeing the bigger picture).

It prefers idealism to be kept to the realms of fiction, where it can do no real harm.

There is no place for idealists within day-to-day life. They are made to feel useless, their value ignored or ridiculed. They are called 'dreamers', a label that in a bygone era may have been taken as high-praise. They are a spare part; awkward, troublesome.

Yet pragmatists and idealist alike are a vital part of the whole organism, each with their role to play in the larger balance.

Inasmuch as they are opposites the two must always battle each other, and through this conflict a balance is struck. This is how it has been throughout the ages. But these days the battle is rigged, and the contest vastly one-sided.

Idealists are ridiculed for their lack of 'realism', a bizarre criticism akin to criticizing white for its lack of black, light for its lack of dark. Light may be annoying when we are trying to sleep - but it is vital when we trying to grow crops. Both have their place: it is context that defines their value.

We have lost the context - the right environment - for everyday idealism.

We shoehorn everyone into a small space - one unwisely biased toward pragmatists - and vilify those that struggle to fit.

The ongoing refrain of our society is "get real": in other words, abandon your idealism and run the other way.

For the sake of our collective health - health, of course, being a matter of balance - this voice must be matched with another: one that soars high and dares to dream.

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The elders do not see the details, they see the overall picture. If the overall pattern is good, the hardship of the details does not matter.

[Maildoma Patrice Somé]
Of Water and the Spirit, p. 311

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We are all deprived; we are all disappointed; and therefore we are all, in some sense, idealists.

The need to link the real and ideal is a perpetual tension, never resolved so long as life persists, but always productive of new, attempted solutions.

[Anthony Storr]
The Dynamics of Creation, p.237

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'Orange MEME' (Spiral Dynamics)

ORANGE embraces values and beliefs that stress materialism over spiritualism, pragmatism over principle, and short-range victories over longer term guarantees. There is a desire to get on with life and not bog down in quandaries of absolutism or picky, picky, picky theology.

[Don Edward Beck & Christopher C. Cowan]
Spiral Dynamics, p.251


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Related posts:-
The Colour Wheel
You ought to be more like me 
The Right Match 
The Devil is in the Details (and God is in the Generalities)
Life Support 
Small Mind/Large Mind
Part of a System
Know Your Place 
Beggars and Choosers 

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