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"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to
  one who is striking at the root."
- Henry David Thoreau
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"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
Updated: 07/13/2019

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 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? 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 vitiated. 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?

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