Idealism according to the Oxford Online Dictionary is “the practice of forming or pursuing ideals, especially unrealistically” as in “the idealism of youth” who we all know are ALL unrealistic. Youthful Don Quixotes, chasing their unrealistic, idealistic, and impractical windmills…oh, how I love and miss thee.
The online dictionary supplied synonyms, one which caught my eye. Romanticism, “a movement in the arts and literature that originated in the late eighteenth century, emphasizing inspiration, subjectivity, and the primacy of the individual.”
I began thinking about idealism and from Romanticism, subjectivity, “the quality of being based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions”. I thought as I waited to hear the outcome of our election. I have been thinking about idealism and subjectivity for the past four days as I write this…and will be thinking about it for a while longer.
My musings began as I watched Venus rise the morning after the election…Venus the Morning Star…“morning not mourning” I thought. Venus was the brightest light in the morning sky and was showing quite large to my eye…the Morning Star heralding a new day.
Like Venus, I am an early riser who, on mild weather days, goes out and sits in his chair, lights a cigar, and meditates for a few minutes while enjoying a cup of Folgers. “The best part of waking up is…” at my age, the best part of waking up is waking up.
I do not know which I noticed first, Venus or the cynicism oozing through my thoughts…I was depressed to boot, my thoughts scrambled like the broken kaleidoscope I have written about previously.
Instead of brooding, I focused on Venus. The appearance of that heavenly body along with my meditations gave me a bit of hopefulness, based on nothing more than my “personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.”
It is another day and Venus is just where it was yesterday, give or take a few minutes, a few degrees above or below its former position on the horizon. The gas shrouded planet is where it was a thousand years ago, cosmological changes notwithstanding. I imagined The Morning Star might be nearby in another thousand years. My hopefulness grew.
It dawned upon me I might not be as jaded as I thought. Mentally at least, I’m still the young idealist that left my teenage years for the adult world in the late Sixties and early Seventies. I may be one of the nation’s older teenagers…an old hippie still waiting for the “dawning of the Age of Aquarius.”
I pondered over my idealism and subjectivity. I am dominated by my feelings. Not very objective. Do not confuse me with the facts. I either “feel” someone is right or “feel” something is wrong or if uncertain, according to my grandmother’s advice, assume it is wrong until proven otherwise.
I have an open mind, I can be convinced of the error of my ways, but again, all things being equal, with no solid facts available, I go with my gut, my feelings. If it feels wrong, it is wrong. I even took a personality test that proved that very fact.
So…I have nothing solid to base my hopefulness upon other than my idealism and my subjectivity but, “It’s going to be alright.” There are more good people than bad, and I am hopeful. There are more forward thinkers than backward non-thinkers regardless of political affiliation, regardless of what state you reside in, regardless of religious affiliation.
I was hopeful as my best friend, and I began our weekly morning walk at 6:45 on Friday. Venus had disappeared into the sunrise as we talked of peace, elections, religion, and a plethora of other problems we could not solve. We walk too fast…or talk too slowly. We are Southerners.
We are opposites in our outlook on life. He the lifelong Republican, I the left leaning Independent who voted Democrat this cycle. He’s the lifelong Southern Baptist, I the…I’m no longer sure but have adopted a Dudeist outlook. I am hopeful because we have found common ground for over forty years and friendship upstages political or religious affiliation.
I am hopeful because of the smiling young lady who serves us coffee at our after-walk haunt, The Tree House Cafe. The haunt is an eclectic and welcoming little hole in the wall and Lindi’s eight a. m. smile and laugh are brighter than the colorful tattoos peeking from below the sleeves of her sweatshirt. A bright and hopeful youth with oodles of energy early on a Friday morning…not mourning.
There is a group of high school students sitting around a large table, their laptops open and ready. I am told by Kristen, one of the owners, they are a study group from the local high school. Kristen is bright, smiling, and welcoming as always. An art teacher and artist, my guess is we share a bit of the same idealism.
The retired teacher in me wanted to admonish the students for not wearing facemasks but instead kept my mouth shut. The same old teacher watched their work from afar, their flurries of activity surrounding burst of laughter bringing a smile to my face. I’m hopeful despite the lack of masks and amazed at their early morning energy. I miss my days of warping the minds of our youth.
Our hope…our salvation is our youth, young people like Lindi, the study group, and young folk like them.
Despite my idealism it is time for an aging “dudeist” like myself to step aside and turn the world over to the young. We baby boomers had our time and royally screwed things up in my mind…my “personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.” We need to see if the young can do a better job. We know longer live in the world of our youth…the new world doesn’t run the same way.
I’m hopeful the “rising” generation will be our “Venus Rising.” I am hopeful they will continue to pursue their unrealistic ideals and put wings to their dreams. I am hopeful they will ignore all of us who continue to try and put them in a box not of their choice. I hope cynicism continues in retrograde even if it is just my own.
As I finished these musings I walked outside again. Venus was obscured by the predawn cloud cover and my hopefulness was tempered but only for a moment. The cloud passed and Venus reappeared heralding a bright new morning, allowing me to be hopeful again.
(For a definition of Dudeism, see below)
Don Miller’s author’s page may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR23wUPDyCrxyhUiWI0EHKFTmJjLwrAAXOC4Z5Y9Foz95T-JdxM4CkFZFB0
Because I couldn’t find a picture of the planet that I liked I chose SANDRO BOTTICELLI’S THE BIRTH OF VENUS, C. 1486…a picture of a painting I do like.
“Dudeism” is a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle inspired by “The Dude”, the protagonist of the Coen Brothers’ 1998 film The Big Lebowski. Dudeism advocates and encourages the practice of “going with the flow”, “being cool headed”, and “taking it easy” in the face of life’s difficulties, believing that this is the only way to live in harmony with our inner nature and the challenges of interacting with other people. I am a fully ordained Dudeist Priest.