By Roberto Assagioli
Then there is the glamour of idealism. This is a more or less subtle obfuscation, but one that can have very ugly consequences. It is the illusion that the higher level, the ideal, must be pursued at all costs; that is, narrowly, fanatically or prematurely. Instead of this, there needs to be a wise gradualness in the appreciation and progressive materialization of ideals. And also an awareness that it is not possible to pursue all ideals at once.
If we have an ideal model of ourselves that is too high and unrealistic, it is only natural that we fail to achieve it; and this leads to a reaction of depression, or self-accusation and guilt. We must always remember that we are in an imperfect universe, that perfection is achieved only very, very gradually, and that the ideal must be seen as a point of arrival, and cannot be realized on the spur of the moment.
In a certain sense we should have a dual perspective, both long-term and immediate, as well as intermediate. We should see the ideal as placed at the top of a mountain to be climbed; then we have the intermediate vision of the path to get there, with the various steps to be taken to get to the top; and finally the close-up view of the next step to be taken, which makes us be very careful where we put our footing so as not to tumble.
The Glamour of Idealism. Roberto Assagioli, (Assagioli Archives – Florence). Original Title: Annebbiamento dell’idealismo. Translated by Jan Kuniholm« Back to Glossary Index