"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 beating their heads against the
bricks, and only suffer by marginalizing themselves. Of course, most people
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
BUT, why are we cursed with this
syndrome of idealism and all but compelled to seek it or make it happen?
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 question is that idealism is the crux or the
foundation for all that is good: for honesty, honor, courage, compassion,
etc. Without the undergirding of idealism all of these virtues would be