Professional Success or Personal Happiness?
Good Looking Girl or An Intelligent Girl ?
Idealism or Happiness?
I threw these question choices to many of my friends. Each of my friends chose one or the other choice. Not even one, posed the counter question – Why does the choice have to be an either or, and not both? It is simply because, subconsciously, most of us believe that Idealism and Happiness cannot coexist and that they are mutually exclusive. Let us look at this way: Most of the things which a human being considers to be a provider of happiness is a taboo, whereas that which gives him satisfaction of being ideal, arguably calls for stricter controls and therefore a tougher life – hence unhappy. Simply put, being happy is being NOT ideal and being Ideal is tantamount to being NOT happy. I wonder, why the things that are considered ideal, does not give happiness and as a corollary, why things that give happiness are not essentially ideal? Let me illustrate with an example; Mr Happy, who drinks and smokes - habits that are considered bad and therefore not ideal, is happy enjoying the “high state“ of pleasures of drinking and the nicotine peaks of his cigarette. Nevertheless, the values of this society have been so internalised that such pleasures are termed as unholy and sinful, that which causes disease and that, in some religion, is against god’s mandate. So, forever, Mr Happy is living in guilt, the price he pays for his pursuit of happiness. Let us take this man to the next level of our Idealism vs Happiness battle. Say, Mr Happy got married to Ms Practical, who despises habits such as drinking and smoking. Mr Happy is madly in love with her and he knows for sure that Ms Practical cannot accept the fact that he is a drunkard and a smoker and that she is so prejudiced that she will turn a blind eye to every other good quality of his, when she comes to know about his so called bad habits. So, even when idealism demands that he say the truth to her, yet he chooses to lie, to be happy and to keep Ms Practical happy. So, being NOT ideal, that is to say that Mr Happy conceals the material facts about his habits from his wife, is in turn keeping both of them happy.
Is this only how we can make idealism and happiness meet? Can the two, Idealism and Happiness, ever meet? Ideally speaking, Idealism and Happiness must meet happily, but they do not. Where is the concept of mutual coexistence of the so called good and bad, lost? Why can’t we be relieved of the guilt of choosing one over the other? If tolerance is one of the virtues of an Ideal human being, then why is an idealist not tolerant about non ideals? If an idealist, in fact, is tolerant and does not react to mundane manifestations of everyday life non-idealisms – aka Howard Roark of The Fountainhead, where should the not so bestowed like me, draw a line separating Mr Ideal’s tolerance and indifference? Last but not the least, can an ideal man afford to be indifferent to his surroundings, abdicating his responsibility to make this world “ideal” if he considers the world as he sees it “not so ideal” ?
Practically speaking, in this globalised world, where the very institutions of ethics and morality that defined the established precepts of morality and virtues in the first place, are becoming decrepit and losing significance, what we term as idealism is losing its relevance or atleast there is a wide perception that its losing one. Being ideal is not so “cool”. Being Ideal is not about anywhere close to being practical. Such is the divide. Has practicality won over idealism? Or is idealism indifferent to the conflict? Can a world ideally survive this either or battle? Lots of interesting questions but my introspections are only leading to disquieting answers. This does validate my idealism vs happiness battle theory.