At 84 I'm still an idealist? A Sometimes Angry Idealist?

While in college circa 1960 studying for a high school teaching certificate, I read that youthful idealism peaks at age 12 and gradually declines during the teen years;

During several years in hardball state and federal politics in the 1970s, I saw the corrupting influence of money;

During a brief flirtation with cynicism, I was convinced that people are worse than they are;

Seeing three decades of religion-inspired insanity in the Republican Party;

All of that and I still sometimes angrily demand that Homo Sapiens behave in ways that my ancestral pond scum did not.

What gives idealism so long a life?

Is it due to genes?

Is it due to growing up in a sometimes violent home?

Is it due to 12 years of a bullying Catholic education?

All of the above?

Cheer up; I'm healing. I'm vastly happier but I still have those moments.

What gives idealism so long a life?

Tags: anger, control, cynicism, idealism

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What gives idealism so long a life?

The honest, heartfelt, and admirable desire to make life and those who live it BETTER.  And just between you, me, and the lamppost, you ain't alone, Tom!

I second those thoughts Loren.

I'm still an idealist without the energy to do much about it, plus I still get too angry for my own good at times.

Agreed!
However, there comes a time when the head hurts from banging it against the wall of gullibility. Humans must be the most gullible animal on this planet!

Hi Tom, I just wanted to say it's awesome that you're 84!

I just read today of the deaths of Shirley Temple, Harold Ramis, Russell Johnson, and Sid Caesar, and I am deeply saddened.

So your post brought a bit more happy feeling back to me today. And also Florence Henderson just turned 80.

Keep on going strong and idealistic, my friend.

Thanks, Sean.

An MD once told me I have designer genes.

I guess my parents did too.

The people who 55 years ago helped me quit Catholicism deserve some of the credit. It would have been a heavy burden to carry.

If you watch George Carlin's act in his final years, he was angry and bitter. Mainly b/c society never did really improve (I suspect) during his lifetime. So he could be considered idealist until the very end.......frustrated of course!

Don't forget about Bob Casale, Sean- the founder of Devo. He maintained that mankind was in the process of DE-evolution, and seemed farily serious about that in interviews. Hence the edgy punk style that infused the comical aspect of the music.

One of my co-workers, still in his 20s, is an idealist, and for a long time, talked about how politics needs to change. He even wanted to go into politics in order to make changes happen. During our discussions, though, he came to the conclusion that he'd just be assassinated before ever having a chance to bring about REAL change!

He's also been very frustrated by work politics, and I would say to him, "I'm watching your innocence disappear as we speak!" Lately, he's been very quiet, and I'm not sure why. Might be a bit burned out on all the mental effort, and working hard at a job that isn't very rewarding.

I love Carlin.

"I'm watching your innocence disappear as we speak!"

Those words sure stirred a memory, Christine.

My idealism didn't begin a slow decline when I was twelve. It crashed during my mid-forties, and for several years I described that event as the end of my innocence.

I then started telling people that on my travels between idealism and cynicism, I'm able to spend some time in realism.

Tell your idealistic co-worker that earning assassination requires a lot of effort.

I put a lot of effort into reforming land/water politics in Arizona and heard this: To silence reformers take their bread; if that fails take their blood.

A woman who knew politics better than I did told me to see it as a compliment, because I'd made some people afraid. It was the highest compliment anyone has ever given me.

I later heard that Mahatma Gandhi had said reformers are first ignored, then ridiculed, and in danger of assassination when they are close to winning.

 

Aren't we all idealists?

There just seems to be vast differences of what should be idealized.

I think idealism co-exists with reality because the idealist generally makes his\her local environment a more upbeat place, and regardless of headlines and the world at large, we live most of our lives on the "local" level.  There are the gamut of. human emotional responses to often horrible and insane, as well as basement stupidity that is evident in the world, yet the idealist looks to how humanity has improved over the last millennium, and realizes there is value in idealism.  Idealism  is  more of.a driving factor to human progress than fatalism, cynicism, and/or religion. Also, idealism, grounded in reality, rubs off--- it becomes a non-verbal language to those around you.... remember the 6 degrees of separation concept?  I applaud you for being an idealist for as long as you have been. Not only can we be good without god(s), we can be upbeat without delusions!

Idealism grows out of a heartfelt need for justice.

Good post, Tom, and you write well and your mind is sound. My step-father is your age and he is afraid that Obama is going to make him switch to the ACA at any time. I'm 67 and he told my daughter that I had chosen Obamacare for my medical coverage.
I think it's pretty funny.

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