an idealist - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
"Holy cow, Ingred, you can argue with me all day and night, I'm still going. All you are in this situation is a voice of fear when I'm telling you my dreams, the ideas that keep this crazy heart beating. So love me, back me, or shut up. I was born for this and I wish you could see that and be proud that I have the courage to do what's right."
We are all telephones ringing in a dark room. Some folks have incoming messages saying "Walk the dog" or "Ask for promotion." Mine say "Help save Earth." I'm someone who can't accept the given nihilistic wisdoms of our time, I'd rather chew my own fingers off than walk blindly into the any one of the dystopian nightmares on offer. There is a way to alter our course and I won't rest until it's found. My pragmatic streak knows not to shoot too high, but my idealistic nature won't let me accept second best.
Tom turned with sudden ferocity, the words flying from his mouth with an intensity that drove Chloe back. "I'm not scared of hell, Chloe, not scared at all." Chloe blanched, she'd been raised a good church girl and the words scared her half to death.
"Tom, don't say that. It's not right, not right at all." But Tom wouldn't listen, his face was contorted with a rage she hadn't seen before.
"I'm not scared of hell because we're already there! Look around you, What are your choices? Wear clothes made by slaves, some of them children? Eat food grown with toxins that harm the earth? Be complicit in animal cruelty daily? Drive a car that pollutes the earth more? And what if we don't do these things, Chloe, what happens? We are "weird" and "hippies." If we don't work all our lives at some job we hate our children will starve, who cares if we don't have enough time left over to raise them? We have no time to think about how to make the world better, more fair for everyone. It's hell. Welcome to hell, Chloe."
"Tom, I think you need help, seriously. Look around you, the grass is green, our country is peaceful. Everyone you know is friendly, the wars are overseas." Chloe reached out a hand but Tom slunk backwards.
"If I'm living in a paradise while kids are starving and dying a short plane ride away, that's hell. I want heaven on earth Chloe, nothing less." Chloe took a step backwards.
"Tom, you're scaring me. This isn't you. You're a regular guy. I think you've been working too hard. Put your feet up, take a break. Go to the mountains, don't you love it up there?" Tom looked to the floor.
"Yeah, Chloe, I guess you're right. I need to unwind. It's just work you know, um, it wears me down." Chloe smiled, and breathed out slowly.
"That's it Tom. Why don't you go for a coffee, we can go together. You can't solve the world's problems you know, it's too much for one person."
We had nothing in common, other than a will for the right result in the end. I was the one lead by emotion and him by cool logic. I wanted to run out and and heal the wounded, he knew it would take resources beyond what we had. He buried himself in work that would bring in the things we needed but I could never pull my head out of the small details. Every step I took had to tangibly take me closer to the over-all goal, to be helping, reducing pain, spreading understanding. He wasn't like that. He could walk in the opposite direction for as long as it took if it was more likely to succeed. We never played chess, we were always on the same side, but if we had been he would have won every time. That's just how we were all through our marriage, the idealist and the pragmatist. I'm not saying that we always agreed, but we never lost respect for the other. I'd never have achieved what I did alone, and neither would he. Neither would the journey have been so pleasant.
The last picked in sports and always the only one without a friend at lunch, Tianna had been crumbling inside. Every time a snub had come, no matter how expected it was, it had felt like an invisible blade being run around her skull. The cuts weren't deep, not really, but like anything scored over and over, a weakness had developed. Her issues had gone on since first grade; there was something in the way that she walked and talked that marked her out as different, a liability, not an asset. But inside she was the most beautiful person and I wish they could have seen that, I wish they could have cared. She wanted so powerfully to end the suffering in the world, to people and to animals, that it put her head in a clamp. All that pressure on a mind already weakened - we should have seen her problems coming. But she was always so quiet. I should have told her what Mother Theresa said "We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love..."
I was born into an upper middle classed home and the teaching began right after birth. I had the most stimulating toys money could buy and a moderately priced nanny to keep me amused. I loved her, I remember her still, but when the job ended she left and I never saw her again. School began, a little pressed uniform and a kindly teacher. We learned through songs and recited our alphabet. There were after-school clubs, then home to eat dinner while Mom and Dad made their evening phone calls. Each day blended into the next and the only thing my parents ever asked me was about my grades, not my feelings, not who I was. Then when the pressure intensified and I found I couldn't get the grades they demanded, the punishments began. A mark less than an A in any subject meant “privileges” revoked. Then I met Gregor.
Gregor got grades like they were gifts from above and said he had no intention of being anything his parents would approve of. He was like me, handed from “professional” to “professional” since birth, never feeling truly loved. But he took my hand and told me I didn't need to do anything to impress him, I didn't need to pass math to be his girl, but I was free to outshine him academically in every subject and he wouldn't mind a bit. “Exams are just hoops for the corporate world, it's how they select us, like sheep from a pen. Then we do their tricks for food and shelter until we're mutton and too old to dance in the sun. Dance with me, Olivia. I don't promise you riches, I don't promise you the suburban house and a picket fence. I plan to spend my life making and designing products for a greener world, I don't know if that will keep us comfortably or not. But I promise to love you faithfully for the rest of our lives, and I mean the kind of love that puts you before anyone else, the kind of love that would face down the devil himself to protect you. Will you come with me?”
I love talking to Jen, she's more like me than anyone I know, but still she thinks inside similar walls to everyone else. I want at least one other person to jump right out of the idea "box" that is our "faux-culture" and imagine it totally different. I can't run my brain in nihilistic thought patterns, I need freedom to move in any direction in search of real solutions. In the eons of history a couple of hundred years of society is a blip, nothing more, and we don't have much culture left anymore anyway. We have the same powerful brains as the ancient Greeks but we let them rot with junk. Every conversation I ever have revolves around the topics of the day - fear, terrorism, money, petty disagreements - no-one ever focuses on the real puzzles of our age. I want to talk to someone who knows our intellectual walls are artificial, I want to converse with someone who can see the cages of the mind like I can. But I guess that's the point of talking, to get what's in your head out there, to start new lines of thought and hope they ripple out into our collective "pond." I want to have a conversation where I feel invigorated afterwards instead of disturbed by the lack of mental flexibility people have. If the brain is like a computer, then the way our minds work is an operating system built by family and environment. My operating system is very different to everyone else. I want to talk philosophy, I want to explore brand new concepts and new blends of old ones. I want to be optimistic about the human mind and soul, optimistic about the future of the earth. How can I have conversations about hair styles, nail jobs and foreign vacations? How can they be anything compared to the simple beauty of a tree?
They say it can't be done, the end is assured as the turning of the earth and the setting of the sun. They say one person can't make a difference and we should accept the course we're on. This world wants useless widgets and pop tarts, it applauds anything that makes money regardless of the pollution caused. I say what we can envisage we can make and I can see a peaceful world. I can see a world where all are fed and the earth is healthy. I can see a world where we honour differences and refrain from judging others so harshly. I can see a world where we can enable each other to succeed, kicking off mutual benefit. I can see a world where we learn from the feedback loops we see in the natural world and in our own bodies and use them to design virtuous cycles in all human endeavours. What can be seen can be made. Being an idealist isn't a bad thing, it just might be the thing that saves us all.
Gopi shook his head in a way that left no doubt - his mind wasn't for changing. He already wore the backpack with the supplies and not once did he turn to look at the road back to safety. There were kids in that village and they needed the medications. With his hands clasped around the shoulder straps he moved onward over the rough stones, under a sun that shone as if it meant to cook him. The eyes that watched him leave were round and moist, just the same as they'd be at his funeral. Their guts felt like the rocks had jumped into their stomachs and their minds built with a pressure that felt like their very skulls would fragment. Then Biva began to walk after him, then Rai and Tefo. It was as if Gopi the idealist had infected them all. It was time to succeed or die trying.
"There is no second place; there is no consolation prize; there is only victory and loss. Though the chances of winning are vanishingly small, it isn't a reason not to try. It is a reason to try and not hold back; it is a reason to bring not brawn but intelligence, guile and a determination that won't quit. Remember that a win in the wrong way is truly the worst loss. The right way to win is using only the power of love, any other is to bring the violence not full circle, but worse, pushing humanity into a negative spiral that leads only downward into chaos and pain."
Don't they say that none of us will leave this world alive? Yet for my part I intend to leave the biggest and most beautiful footprint I can. Maybe yours will be right next to mine, that it is together we walk, together we leave a path to guide future generations.