The world we live in disappoints many idealists.
I could write a book describing the furies I felt. Instead, I ask "When for most children idealism peaks at age twelve and gradually lessens, why did I keep my idealism thirty years longer?"
For its long-delayed demise, I want to thank the politicians whose ambitions I worked hard to disappoint.
In their world a rule says "To silence a man, take his bread. If that doesn't silence him, take his blood."
I entered their world and they paid me the second-highest compliment: I had other "bread" and survived.
A newspaper reporter entered their world, wrote of land fraud in the state, and did not survive. Those politicians' supporters paid him the highest compliment and he died of injuries after a car bomb explosion. His story is in Wikipedia; to read it, search on "Don Bolles"
My question remains: why did I keep my idealism thirty years longer than most kids keep theirs?
Becoming curious about an idealism's delayed demise is a first step to understanding.
What say you?
I'm not sure from your cryptic post as to if you are saying that you gave up, but it took you longer than most to do so, or, if you are still an idealist after all these years but are wondering why?
For starters, a PERFECT world would preclude the need for idealists in the first place...so an imperfect world is NECESSARY to culture young idealists.
Secondly, I'm not sure the time frame the universe gives TO solve everything doesn't include your lifetime as a sub-set, rather than as the set. You may need to leave some issues unresolved when you pass, etc.
Thirdly, the main reason a child is typicaly idealist, is that they have the innocence of youth, and are just DISCOVERING the imperfections, and don't realize there are typically REASONS things are the way they are...and just assume that if they simply point out that the emperor has no clothes, he will put some on and its fixed.
But just TELLING the big oil companies to stop spreading lies about their impact on climate change for example, doesn't seem to actually work in the real world....and, after many years, a child ages and gains the worldliness that tells them WHY big oil lies, or the church, and how they both can manipulate their sheeple to follow religiously, etc.
If you are still, after seeing the hurdles to overcome, INTERESTED in a passion, an idealogy of change, a cause that drives you to want to improve our lot...that goes from a child-like idealism to an adult committment.
KNOWING that its going to be a FIGHT is where that grit comes into play. Its NOT child's play anymore, the gloves are off, and there IS blood being spilled.
So, the demise of idealism is sometimes as simple as a change in priorities as one ages.
When you live at home and go to school, for example, your free time can be spent on whatever you choose.
Those who have to work, and that includes some very young children, no longer have the time and or remaining mental energy to pursue other issues.
Do you want to go to that rally, or, your kid's soccer game? You have to choose.
Do you go grocery shopping or mow the lawn, or write an essay on a cause?
And so forth. Little by little, unless your path allows you the free time, or IS your career, etc, you whittle away at the idealistic parts to make room for your children, wife, grandchildren, nephews and neices, take care of aging parents, or whatever.
You may also, over the years, find new interests that are satisfying, maybe even more so, and you'd rather go fishing, or hunting, or sailboarding, or cook, or offroad, or whatever trips your trigger..in addition to or even instead of saving the world.
So the demise of realism is not a sudden event, its more like your own demise. You don't go from 100% to 0% health all at once (Maybe in an accident?), you decline over a long time period, which for guys is said to start around 20 or so...
So your health declines with your age, and, so does your idealism.
You are as young as you feel in that regard, and some can be idealists until they die at a ripe old age...and some don't make it to 12.
Its pretty natural.
Hello Tom. During those 30 years were you aware of your idealism or was only upon looking back that you realised you no longer were? Idealism is a positive energy, is it not?
I didn't know what idealism was until high school, and didn't feel it as an option until my 30s when I began to really know myself better. It took me that long emotionally and socially to start feeling like I actually belonged in my strange world. Fortunately I was pretty rational and skeptical since sixth grade or so.
So I don't think I've peeked out, yet, partly due to the fact that I haven't yet involved myself much in public service, other than through the classic institution of military service, and in that case I actually gained a lot more from society than I gave.