Idealism or pragmatism?

Is it better to fight to change the world into what you think is ideal, or to accept that the ideal way may not always be the best? What about if the majority agrees on ideals, but it still doesn't practically work? (I realize there are many shades of gray in between; feel free to elaborate as you wish.)

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    One can keep an ideal in one's head, but recognize it is not necessarily workable. One can work within the reality of the world, but recognize that in small ways you can make it better. The two are not mutually exclusive.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well, there's been a couple forms of this but basically I like the say Ghandi stated it: Be the change you want to see in the world. The world never is has been or will be 'perfect', all you can do is push the ball in the direction you think perfection lies and not spend too much time worrying that once you're gone somebody with even more strength and determination will work their entire life to push it back the other way.

    Also, if your ideal is to build some huge tower to the moon (let's say) you have to realize that you won't lay every brick and that the best you might ever be able to do is to motivate enough people to do the work for you. If your dreams entail anybody else acting, you must figure out how to motivate those people. If you don't want to do that you'll have to settle for the goals that one unaided person can achieve.

  • 1 decade ago

    In practice a person desperately needs to rank his ideals in order of importance and think very hard about which one's he should sacrifice for.

    We tend to think that if we live by our ideals and stand strong, things will work out in the end. This unfortunately isn't necessarily true, and if our ideals cause us disadvantage it can last for an entire lifetime.

    There is nothing wrong with living up to one's ideals, but espescially in young people, it needs to be made clear that the choices they make will not be made to work for the best necessarily and sacrifice meens just that - something will be sacrificed for real. If knowing that the ideal is still worth the loss - then soldier on soldier - and hopefully G-d will make it right, most likely only in the next world.

    Source(s): personal experience.
  • 1 decade ago

    The best thing to do is to understand that everything in this reality is devoid of inherent existence (i.e. comes into being due to causes and conditions) and that much of what you see is based on YOUR perceptions of things. What you consider "ideal" others may not and so forth. So the best thing to do is to understand that you must look at the "bigger picture" and take the middle ground, not getting too extreme in your view and understanding that things which anyone can perceive as causing "harm" (via the bigger picture, mutually agreed upon and so forth) you likely have a duty to "fix" in such a way that deters that thing/person from causing suffering... IF and ONLY IF you can do so with compassion! The "Serenity Prayer" helps you look at things with greater perspective too... so don't hesitate to yank that out for perspective checks.


  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    I rather follow a pragmatic attitude of government. Communism was suppose to be an idealistic form of government, but transformed into an ugly monster. America's democratic society also started idealistic but Americans being Americans, we are able to change and modify our laws to fit the ideal (pragmatism).

  • 1 decade ago

    This question makes my head hurt! Maybe it's being a Libra or perhaps it's just me, but I have a hard time choosing between things like this.

    Luckily I only have to worry about myself and my own choices.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.