"The lie of
the ideal," Nietzsche wrote, "has hitherto been the
curse on reality; through it mankind itself has become mendacious
and false down to its deepest instincts–to the point of worshipping the inverse
values to those which alone could guarantee it prosperity, future, the
exalted right to a future." Friederich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo
(Penguin, 1970), page 34
The Value of Idealism
Is what Nietzsche says
above true? Is the best or ideal the enemy of the good?
These are all but timeless questions that bedevil each generation if not
each individual. Some learn very early that the ideal is not available, not
achievable in this world and get down to the business of compromising and
getting along. Others waste their lives being idealists beating their heads against the
bricks of reality, and only suffer by marginalizing themselves. Of course, most people
wallow in the middle between these two extremes.
Obviously, most of us think the best approach is to settle for the
best that is realistic. And so in our world that becomes the new ideal,
Not really ideal but the best that is realistic.
BUT, why are we cursed with this
syndrome of idealism and all but compelled to seek it or make it happen?
Where did it come from? Is it in anyway explicable in terms of our
being stimulus-response, emergent-property meatsticks? Would it be good or efficacious to eliminate the influence of our idealism?
On the other hand, wouldn't that diminish us even more as humans?
The answer to the above questions is that idealism is the crux or the
foundation for all that is good: for honesty, honor, nobility, courage, compassion,
etc, all the sterling virtues that we admire. Without the undergirding of idealism all of these virtues would be
vitiated down to nothing, and leave us as less than some of the higher
life-form animals. And why would any Creator that can be considered as good create in
us this internal reference point if such a state is not readily available?
Answer me these before you try to argue or convince me of your superior
religious convictions, please!