Idealism, was Sexism -

McMullin, Elise emcmullin at kl.com
Mon Oct 9 14:02:35 EDT 2000


Sallyo wrote:

"I don't think you ever could or should lose your idealism. What can happen
(and has happened to me) is that you learn that you can't always have a
castle and must make do with a cottage."

Hear hear.  Castles are drafty, a pain to clean and no doubt money pits
unless converted to B&Bs or something and did one ever intend to own and
operate a B&B?  Things can get downright out of hand.  Sometimes I think
either wanting the castle above what you want to contribute in the world, or
wanting to hold on to the castle you have, the demands of which keep you
sidetracked from what you want to contribute to the world is just not cost
effective.

And now my wordy musings on ideal/real stuff:

Conceptually things can exist in a static state of perfection, but
implementing anything means dealing with present conditions and working out
ways to realize your ideals in practice and as a process, like Sallyo
describes in her writing.  It's like learning an instrument - you hear the
tune you want to realize and you hear where your efforts depart from that
tune or wander astray.  But you don't put down the instrument forever
because you played a wrong note once. And you don't come back to learn more
and more with the end goal of just playing the tune perfectly one time, or
of playing only that one tune forever.  You come back and keep learning more
and more you never suspected and gradually get insights into the tune, the
instrument and yourself  as you naturally develop the way you play that
makes it *your* way. A way which may ultimately depart from the tune you had
in mind at first - and why not since it is you being you and not you
attempting to be someone else?  The tune turns out to have been a road you
traveled and not an end state that had to be realized once and for all.  

It seems so hard on the self to judge that there is a tune that you will
never realize, and judge against yourself accordingly, like the writers
Sallyo mentioned.  Perhaps the particular ideal is wrong for the person,
while meanwhile the person has all these untapped wonderful, perfect and
right possibilities lying neglected and ignored inside while this one goal
exacts a terrible cost to hold on to - and one isn't even enjoying anything
about the experience of having such and such goal. What if it is a "static
state of perfection" type of ideal which, in its current state, doesn't
translate to action and implementation?  Then is it an ideal or an albatross
about the neck getting progressively smellier?  

 And on the flip side, sometimes I've found myself in places I didn't want
to be, doing things I didn't want to do, with people I didn't care to be
with - feeling quite out of tune. Early on I spent a lot of effort trying to
get away. Later I just went with the flow to see what it was all about and
try to shake down my assumptions.  And later still I am learning to engage
in examining the whole thing on the semi-serious assumption that perhaps
there are learning reasons.  Though I notice I get out of Dodge much more
adroitly when nothing is holding me engaged in exploring there, I also
notice that there's a lot to notice and appreciate when there is some there
*there*. What I mean to say is, it can be a trap to yearn for somewhere else
and something else at the expense of attending to right here and this thing.


And finally,

"Settling for what you *can* have
instead of crying for the moon can be very sad. On the other hand, it can
have its compensations. I'd hate to go through life overlooking what I *can*
do and have just because my first choice proved impossible."

What she said!

E
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