Ideal vs. Actual, True vs. Real

I am an idealist. I generally believe in the ideal, for better or for worse, as an actual thing, somewhere out there, existing, even attainable, given enough time. Faith and endurance, if anything, are what will bring the ideal into actuality. But, if absolute perfection is the ideal, then we can approach it forever and never actually get there. To what degree, then, must a thing be perfect, if it is to be ideal?  (And if we can't get there, is it still worth trying? I'd say, regardless of whether you're a realist or an idealist, the answer ought to be yes.)

I suppose the problem with idealism stems from the fact that each of us has a different idea(l) in mind when we speak of ideals. Ergo, conflict arises between those with contradictory ideals. But this is only a problem if we take the relativist view, the subjective view of individual humans. Two problems: the realist either denies the existence of the ideal (due to lack of evidence for it in perceived reality), or, allowing its existence in hypothesis, claims that we cannot conceive of it ourselves, because it is beyond our (believed, and thus perceived) nature.

We are the imagination of ourselves.

Yes, I've noticed....

The one who perceives only the appearances of the conditions of this world will insist that the ideal is not a realistic goal, given how far it is from reality. But for one who believes in it, it can be the only goal. Where the two may reach balance is if the idealist takes each realistic goal as a temporary, short-term goal, as a step, on the way to the final goal.

(Which, remember, can't ever be reached!)

(And doesn't exist!!!)

Human fallibility – of course! is what gums it all up in practice. As you can imagine. Look at the world. See? But wait, now, if you look closer, if you give it time, if you listen, if you're open – you will see signs that the better nature in the human spirit lives on. The desire for harmony, peace, mutual prosperity (our ideals?). For learning and growth as well. (The process!) The realist and the idealist can come together and help make progress, if they choose. And the more so according to the degree to which their realism or their idealism is pure – that is to say, true.

Undistorted. Holistic. Integral. Free of dogma.

Knowledge-based or faith-based.

Good so far. But what about life in the moment? What about life as an evolving, individual soul? What is the ideal for ourselves? And how can we deal with the pitfalls of idealism in the personal arena, in how we relate to self and others?

Idealism and realism, both like pits full of shit until the light of awakening consciousness does its work on them. Each has its “pitfalls.”

Somnambulant (spiritually asleep) realists may believe that what they see and sense, and that alone, is real. They often overestimate their own objectivity. They disdain imagination (the greatest tool we have) and the sense of wonder (our bringer of miracles), and so bring upon themselves a restricted field of possibilities, and much drudgery. The solutions to these are implicit in their presentation.

The undeveloped idealist is the worst sort of daydreamer. Never achieves anything, never satisfied with anything – and if they're satisfied, it's only because they're so indifferent, because they're either living in their own world of ideals and daydreams, or they've given up hope of ever achieving it. The lack of hope, of the desire to improve, of the will to serve, are equally stifling as they would be in the realist. These are signs of a faithless idealist, one who has not the courage of their convictions or the spine enough to act on them.

Here's an imagined dialogue between two somewhat more evolved individuals.

Realist: What are you doing?
Idealist: I'm meditating on my vision of perfection.
R: While doing... what... for real?
I: Well, uh... I could tell you about this vision, for real.
R: Oh. OK. And, when you're done, I can tell you about some suggestions I have, based on my own observations, about how to improve things around here in the present moment.

So the true, positive, conscious realist does have an ideal toward which they strive – it's just... a direction, more than any particular idea. An increment of perfection. Reaching in time for whatever betterness is within reach. There is no thought of a final perfection, or an absolute. The existence of either is debatable, and hardly relevant anyway. It's a very practical way to see and live. And, at its best, open-ended. Trust in the process leads to good destinations.

The mature idealist is realistic enough to know just how far they are from being able to imagine a perfect ideal. Realistic enough to set their practical ideals within practical reach. But yet faithful enough to believe, still, that perfection exists in the Heart of All, and, subjectively at least, in the Realm of Pure Ideas. The Heart of All, of course, is no-where and no-when. It is beyond manifestation, it is the source of the manifest. All manifest beings and manifest realities reflect degrees and variations of the Heart, n-dimensional bytes and slices of an infinite-dimensional matrix of possibility, all rooted in the zero point of perfection where all is equally possible, if not equally distant.

It is that discouraging distance from perfection, the wide gap and heavy contrast between the observed and the imagined, that trouble this young idealist so often. I speak of myself. I am troubled when I look upon the content of my character as observed by the consciously observing, neutral part of me, outside the box of ego.

The I!

The Eye?

And I compare it to what I imagine I could be and should be. What I want to be. The differences would fill volumes.

But... my instrument of observation is not neutral; it produces distortions. It contains judgments and is subject to strict limitations. So what I think I observe is not even necessarily close to objective reality..!

 Accuracy, precision, frequency bandwidth, field of view, focus, lens: the variables in forming a picture of what is, or what appears to be.

Accuracy suffers from judgment; judgment is relative to perspective; only the whole perspective gives whole accuracy. So when I judge myself, and I do so harshly, I see myself in a distorted light.

Precision comes with a more refined degree of complexity (higher resolution) of the consciousness doing the observing. Frequency bandwidth, I won't discuss, because the dynamics are too involved beyond the scope of this article... but “scope” is indeed the next variable, aka. field of view. Which is what gives us a context to understand and comprehend the relative nature, the function, the necessity, the genius, the beauty, and the purpose of a part within the greater whole.

Focus: the area into which consciousness concentrates its energies. How well you can focus determines the intensity of your picture. What you focus on, grows. First inside you, then around you appear the results.

Lens: your state of being. Dirty and dark, or clear and bright? Fearful... or loving? Chaotic, conflicted, confined... or harmonious, unified, expansive? Divided by judgment, or reconciled by understanding and acceptance? Connected or cut off? Strong or weak? You can choose your state of being, if you remember the part of you that chooses it – become the part of you that is it.

The totality of you – IS perfection. It is what is: the ideal and the actual, the true and the real.

Let your most beautiful ideal inspire you to act within the real. Let your innermost knowing of who you are guide you. Create your experience of yourself by choosing what to be. Imagine yourself as God, and know that the form you take here is just a little piece of that. It doesn't matter how imperfect we seem to be; we are part of a grander perfection in a grander scheme than we can dream of. You, the far-from-ideal, pathetic little human with all your faults and weaknesses, can no more sully the perfection that is God than you can erase your own eternal existence as God.

We lament when our dreams fall by the wayside, or shatter painfully, or torture us, or turn out to be hollow, or morph into nightmares. But where would we be without the Dream? We are the Dream: these characters we play and the stories we make. We each express our own Ideal,

our own vibration of God,

on its long journey to self-discovery and self-realization. That is what this is about. We're works in progress. Maybe there is no destination, no beginning and no ending. Maybe this is just an ever-changing Dream of Who We Are, Who We Think We Are, Who We Are Becoming, and Who We Wish To Be.