By Melvyn L. Fein
If the reality be recognized, i'm just a partly reformed idealist. within the mystery depths of my soul, I nonetheless desire to make the realm a greater position and infrequently fantasize approximately heroically removing its faults. while I stumble upon its boundaries, it truly is accordingly with deep remorse and persisted shock. How, I ask myself, is it attainable that that which turns out so struggle could be a chimera? And why, i'm wondering, aren't humans as brave, clever, or great as i want? The soreness of figuring out these items is usually so excessive that i need to shut my eyes and lose myself within the varieties of daydreams that comforted me as a teenager. something is obvious, my have to come to grips with my idealism had its starting place in a life of naivet6. From the start, i wished to be a "good" individual. usually while lifestyles used to be so much treacherous, I retreated right into a comer from whence I escaped into reveries of ethical glory. whilst i used to be very younger, my religion used to be in faith. In Hebrew college, I took my classes heavily and attempted to use them at domestic. by means of my teenager years, this were changed through an allegiance to socialism. within the Brooklyn the place I grew up, my academics and kin made this look the common direction. whilst I reached my twenties, in spite of the fact that, and was once obliged to confront a sequence of non-public deficiencies, psychotherapy shouldered its solution to the fore.
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Additional resources for The Limits of Idealism: When Good Intentions Go Bad
A student of Columbia University's Franz Boas, a3 himself a seminal figure in American anthropology, she produced a series of popular monographs that, to this day, are cited in the textbooks as classical studies of human relationships. " At the turn of the century, Boas confronted a social science beguiled by Darwinism. Biology was riding high and seemed perched to explain virtually everything that human beings did, including their cultural evolution. " Progressive in his politics, and anti-racist in his convictions, Boas could not abide this potentially repressive philosophy.
Intuitively, the Confucian ~8 formulation, that is, "Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you," comes closer to what is intended. Nevertheless, many people have strange ideas about what they ought, or ought not, inflict on others. Thus, when a TV reporter asked a Brooklyn teenager if he thought it was appropriate to force the music blaring from his car stereo upon bystanders as much as two blocks away, he responded that if they did not like what he was playing, that was their problem.
Odysseus, in his wanderings after the victory at Troy, was captured by the Cyclops Polyphemus. Instead of being treated as an honored guest--as a wandering stranger ought--he and his men were imprisoned to provide food for the giant. Rightly incensed by this breach of honor, the "crafty" (itself a virtue) Odysseus plotted a suitable revenge. When he ultimately escaped by blinding his tormentor with a stake thrust into his single eye, we are given to understand that justice was served. Although we too take pleasure in this triumph of virtue, should a contemporary traveler elect a similar revenge, we would be appalled.
The Limits of Idealism: When Good Intentions Go Bad by Melvyn L. Fein