And this need for purity spills over into my world view, because the great issues facing us might be simply resolved and yet the solutions are more illusive than they appear. To compromise is the norm, and yet it does not appear that compromise has brought anything but misery and unhappiness for large numbers of us. Indeed, the lack of desire for purity and perfection has seemingly increased with the passage of time. As more of us are willing to let the large things slide, the more they do, and as a result the issues seem bigger and less solvable, leading in turn to a greater willingness to compromise yet again.
When I speak of this a vision that I have, I am told that I am idealistic, unrealistic, that these things can never come to pass. I find it difficult to understand how we have arrived at this condition where what passes for realism is the acquiescence of each of us to the degradation of the quality of our lives. Since when did the concession to the pollution of our air and water become realistic? Is it realistic to allow unemployment, homelessness, ignorance, war and hunger? If realism means that what is must always be, then these tortured definitions are, I suspect, examples of realism.
When I suggest, however, that the status quo need not remain so forever, that there are concrete and yes, realistic, things we can each of us do to effectuate change in the process, I am met with resistance.
When I say that what is realistic is not fateful and absolute adherence to the current state of affairs, but rather a recognition of the problems we face and a willingness to accept the challenge of change, I am scoffed at in some circles. What passes for realism in the majority of cases seems to be fatalistic coping, and the implication that our futures are merely a slavish copy of our past.
If we cannot envision the ideal, then how can we do anything except accept what is?
I know that I am a purist. I know that my vision is not shared by others. I know, however, that I am either blessed or cursed with the need to pursue my vision despite all of its frustrations.
And yet, because I am a pragmatic purist, I am also aware that the pearl in the oyster is only created by the intrusion of sand.
That's what I believe.
Copyright © 2008 Ivan Hoffman. All Rights Reserved.