Idealism is not the same as love.  Idealism flows from our minds while love flows from our hearts.  I can ramble on about my perception of the difference between the two and many would disagree or simply fall asleep from boredom.  Such a discourse would do nothing but put good people on the defensive in protecting the role of Idealism in our lives which is not my goal.  My goal is to help those who have seen or are in the process of seeing the energy of youthful idealism seemingly soaked up by the overwhelming blotter of survival.

Not all Idealism springs from the mind but that which does leads to discouragement when its goals are not attained.  Such discouragement can lead to anger, depression, resentment, cynicism (my personal favorite), and in the worse case, animosity towards people seen as obstacles to such goals.  Compare this to the spiritual fruit described in the scriptures:  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.  Which do you think has a more positive effect on those you come in contact with on a daily basis?

If you want to build a better world as a house for your loved ones to live in,  build it on the rock of love and not the sand of reasoned idealism.  Learn to love selflessly by actually laying down your life for others in secret, accepting rejection with joy; understanding that no man is greater than his Master.  We gladly reap the rewards of what our predecessors sowed who laid down their lives never seeing the fruit that would come forth from their sacrifices, it is our turn to gladly sow seeds of love and not judgment so that those who follow us will find fruit to harvest that has been sweetened by the Spirit.  Love allows for detours in life when doors close before us, too often Idealism insists on battering down such doors and thus focusing life on removing obstacles - people and/or things - rather than preserving old and establishing new relationships in once unforeseen circumstances as God opens new doors for us as He deems in our best interest.  It is relationships that are the dung and manure that allow us to become the fruitful trees that will feed future generations.  As triune beings we are mind, heart and spirit.  We are called to bring them into the unity of Christ so that we can truly be a light to the world and the salt of the earth.

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Comment by Kirby Urner on 12th mo. 20, 2017 at 2:59pm

Not all Idealism springs from the mind but that which does leads to discouragement when its goals are not attained. Such discouragement can lead to anger, depression, resentment, cynicism (my personal favorite), and in the worse case, animosity towards people seen as obstacles to such goals.

I would add that we each have our diverse vocabularies for discussing spiritual and/or psychological matters.  Some traditions champion "mind" as a continued source of divine grace (intuitions), over and against our conditioned reflexes (programmed responses), which are cognitive and emotional, not just physical.  Our thoughts and feelings may be just as knee-jerk as our knees jerking. I associate such a vocabulary with New England Transcendentalism in its latter day forms, and also with Russian mysticism such as we find in the teachings of the Scotsman Maurice Nicoll. These lineages tend to draw attention to the robotic / mechanical / automatic aspects of human nature (no consciousness required).  I acknowledge being influenced by these traditions, as evidenced by this journal entry of earlier today:

Comment by James C Schultz on 12th mo. 21, 2017 at 12:28pm

I consider the mind as part of the soul, the reasoning part, though that doesn't mean it doesn't react to having certain buttons pushed. One of our big problems is reacting before thinking things through.  What is it they say, "Think before you speak"?

Comment by Kirby Urner on 12th mo. 21, 2017 at 1:22pm

Yes, I think that's a very accessible and widely shared understanding of what "mind" means.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 12th mo. 21, 2017 at 2:33pm

Less a matter of 'before thinking things through' than of 'relying on incorrect or irrelevant information' -- the old 'Garbage in; garbage out' problem.

Thus you sometime find people who very thoroughly and obsessedly think everything through, but come out utterly misled and misleading more often than not.

People tend to interpret whatever they learn, receive, or encounter  along the lines of their existing beliefs and paradigms. One can pray for help towards modifying these... but the already-installed software has to process the corrections (which it may not be equipped to easily do, not all at once.)

Hence the value of inconsistency and of not 'thinking everything through.'

Comment by Kirby Urner on 12th mo. 21, 2017 at 10:21pm

Since I'm something of a recruiter of geeks to Quakerism, I'm fine with "expectant waiting" as a time of software upgrades (vs. staying with what's already installed).

A mantra we hear in my zip code area (97214), part of a larger "Buddhist Ghetto" in Portland: "brain in body, body in mind" hearkening to "Idealism" in another sense (vs. Realism).

I can still picture the est Trainer shouting "thoughts are hard!" (banging on a chair).

These are alternative vocabs, jargons, shoptalks (or call them "investments"?). I don't think it's usually necessary to jar people out of whatever wisdom tradition, if it's really a wisdom tradition. Software upgrades are usually backward compatible, although sometimes a rebirth and reboot may be necessary.

Comment by James C Schultz on 12th mo. 22, 2017 at 3:34pm

I tend to think that "alternative jargon" started back when God decided he didn't like the Tower of Babel.  Not only is it a poor choice to dispute another's jargon, it's absolutely imperative to be respectful of it if you wish to engage in meaningful dialogue.  Unfortunately with all the connotations and denotations of languages I think the only way to peacefully co-exist is through actions that clearly show your respect for each other.  However this is very hard because part of us is hardwired for survival which means we instinctively believe we know better than others.  Another reason why it's important for our spirit to get the heart and mind to work together.

Comment by Kirby Urner on 12th mo. 23, 2017 at 3:38pm

Yes, signalling respect is a core aspect of diplomacy, but as you say, hardwired reflexes may induce others to resent diplomats precisely for their willingness to engage in meaningful dialog.

I remember how the Parliament of World Religions our family attended in Cape Town (1999) was picketed by those opposed to inter-religious ecumenical communications. They didn't want to see Muslims and Buddhists (for example) engaged in constructive conversation, let alone common enterprises.

That pattern is everywhere, presenting those engaged in diplomacy a double challenge: getting along with others; defending against those at home determined to not get along with those same others, and to frustrate any efforts to do so.

Another example:  if some Friends signal their respect for the Gulen movement, say through some sympathetic article in Friends Journal or FCNL position paper, other Friends may take them to task and strongly protest.

I always think of "diplomat" and "diploma" as closely connected, as it's within the context of academia that people with diplomas study other shop talks and come to know and appreciate different traditions. A lot of animosity towards academia stems from the perceived willingness of scholars to "consort with the enemy".


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