Grown-up Idealism

Question: Is it always good to be an idealist?

Neiman:  I think it’s always good to be a grown-up idealist, which is--  The whole subtitle of the  book is Grown-Up Idealist. A grown-up idealist is someone who recognizes the equal importance of things as they are and things as they should be. This is a distinction that goes back in particular in all its clarity to Immanuel Kant who said, “This is the distinction.” I think the big metaphysical problem--  I’m not sure that--  And I’m loath to talk about one big problem but the central problem connecting both metaphysics and morality is the difference between things as they are and things as they should be, and most people tend to err on one side or the other. Most people tend either to look at things as they should be and talk themselves in to the idea that things really perhaps are as they should be without looking at the facts on the ground. You can also err in the other direction and use the word “realistic” to mean just taking things as they happen to be right now. Think about what you mean when you tell somebody to be realistic. What you’re really saying is, “Decrease your expectations. Things aren’t going to get much better. They’ll probably get worse and you’ve got all your psychological bases covered if you assume actually the worst.”  So that’s a form of realism that says, “Well, the way that things are now is the only thing that’s real and it’s the only thing we should pay attention to.”  A grown-up idealist pays attention to both. He says, “I absolutely can look at things as they are in the face while still guiding my actions by ideals of things as they should be.”

Susan Neiman describes idealism for adults.

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

Intimacy and sexual desire in couples can be heightened by this practice

Researchers discover a link between nonverbal synchronization and relationship success.

Pixabay
Sex & Relationships
  • Scientists say coordinating movements leads to increased intimacy and sexual desire in a couple.
  • The improved rapport and empathy was also observed in people who didn't know each other.
  • Non-verbal clues are very important in the development stages of a relationship.
Keep reading Show less

How 'dark horses' flip the script of success and happiness

What defines a dark horse? The all-important decision to pursue fulfillment and excellence.

Big Think Books

When we first set the Dark Horse Project in motion, fulfillment was the last thing on our minds. We were hoping to uncover specific and possibly idiosyncratic study methods, learning techniques, and rehearsal regimes that dark horses used to attain excellence. Our training made us resistant to ambiguous variables that were difficult to quantify, and personal fulfillment seemed downright foggy. But our training also taught us never to ignore the evidence, no matter how much it violated our expectations.

Keep reading Show less