Idealist AttitudeBy PHIL WITTMEYER & Others
Idealists search for meaning in life, and they see it everywhere. Skeptics look for causal connections between things in space, and are therefore mechanistic in their philosophy. On the other hand, Idealists look for connections in time that are meaningful coincidences. When two significant things happen at once in their lives, they believe the universe is trying to tell them something. For instance, if an Idealist is walking down a path and stubs his toe, he may wonder why it happened and what it means. He does not believe the universe is accidental, so there must be a reason. He may believe it means there is some stumbling block or impediment in his life, so he will search his thoughts or current events in his life to see if there is something holding him back or tripping him up.
Many Idealists are full of aphorisms — wise sayings. They quote these to others when they believe the occasion demands it. Such things as "It's all for the best", or "It will all work out", or "People do the best they can" are some examples. They believe the universe is a friendly place, and they are friendly toward it and the people in it. Idealists in the extreme have a utopian view of the world. They see things through the proverbial rose-colored glasses. They see the world as a beautiful place, and they see how the world could be more beautiful, if only more people would get together, work together, and trust.
The Opposite of the Idealist Attitude is the Intellectual Center. Idealists are sometimes anti-intellectual, meaning they regard reason and logic as limited, unable to encompass the totality of existence. Idealists and Intellectually centered people comprehend reality in quite different ways, both limited. When both are present in the same person, it can create internal contradictions and inconsistencies. The Idealism does not analyze the world — it sees the overall pattern of it. The Intellectual Center does analyze data from the world, without seeing the big picture. The two working against each other in people causes them to narrow their interests to something compatible with both, or to switch back and forth between the two.
Idealists are concerned with integrative images and they project their images into the outer world. That is OK if the images are an accurate representation of reality, but if their view of the world is a fantasy-land, and they make it out to be a wonderful place when it isn't, then they are in for trouble. One of the problems that Idealists, particularly in the Negative Pole, constantly face is that of disillusionment. Since they tend to see the world with the proverbial "rose-colored glasses", their bubble of dreams and illusions is often pricked by the needle of reality. This destroys their beautiful imaginings. This is very disconcerting to them, because they have a need for a coherent world-view, despite a penchant to live in a dream world or fantasy-land in their own heads.
The complement of the Idealist Attitude is the Skeptic Attitude. "For believers, no explanation is necessary. For nonbelievers, no explanation is possible." That statement sums up the difference between the two extremes of Skeptic and Idealist. Trust is a big issue with both Attitudes. Idealists rarely check things out or question them. Idealists think they already have all the answers inside themselves, so there is no use investigating the world to discover them. Idealists are rarely suspicious. Rather, Idealists give others their trust and if it is ever lost it is because the others proved themselves untrustworthy. Even then, Idealists are liable to invoke extenuating circumstances so that they can still believe in the goodness of others and the beauty of the world. Skeptics are more penetrating in their thoughts, but Idealists get the overview, the big picture. Skeptics and Idealists are both concerned with issues of "what is reality" and "what is illusion". Skeptics see the physical universe as reality and anything else as illusion. They say mind is a product of matter. Idealists see principles and ideas as the ultimate reality, and everything else as illusion. They say the physical universe is a product of an infinite mind.
Positive Pole (Coalescence)
The Positive Pole of the Idealist Attitude is +Coalescence. If this word is unfamiliar to you, it means merge, combine, amalgamate into a single body or group. Idealists see the world and everything in it as becoming more unified. In the most extreme expression of this Pole, Idealists see themselves as one with everything. They take a philosophical perspective on all issues, and try to see the wisdom in every situation. Such people subscribe to the "holistic philosophy" — the idea that the whole world functions like a single organism. All the parts are connected in space and coordinated in time, operated by a single mind.
Negative Pole (Naiveté)
The Negative Pole is -Naiveté. People in this Pole have taken their trust and innocence to an unrealistic extreme. They see beauty where it isn't, and simply deny that ugliness and evil exist. An Idealist will tell you that evil is justified at a higher level of reality, that things that seem meaningless have meaning that we cannot fathom, that something that appears foolish has a wisdom that is beyond us, and that ugliness is transformed at other levels of reality into beauty. A Skeptic will ask that these things be proven scientifically, but of course they can't be. People in this Pole have many illusions, and they suffer much when they are disillusioned. They live by platitudes rather than reality. The fear here is the fear of questioning anything — questioning in the sense of both investigation and suspicion. One must question things or one will not be able to distinguish between reality and illusion.
Another name for the Negative Pole is -Abstraction. This shows up when Idealists are unable to get their thoughts to run in sequence. Their minds are in such a "fog" that they cannot keep their thoughts on the subject at hand. They wander around in generalities and ambiguities, unable to get specific. Consequently, people in - Abstraction are likely to believe in or trust anything that seems plausible or looks pretty. So here we are, back to -Naiveté.
The fear that drives -Naively is the fear of ugliness and evil, which do not fit into an Idealistic world view. The world just should not be this way, right? It is indeed possible to imagine a better world. But the world is the way it is, and there is no use denying it or dreaming it away. The technique for overcoming -Naively is to consider and apply the Positive Pole of the Complementary Attitude, +Investigation. Get down in the world and get dirty. Open your eyes to the things you would rather turn away from. Stop dreaming of a better world, find out about the real world, and then maybe you can make it a better world in the Positive Pole of +Coalescence. It does not solve anything when one justifies ugliness and evil by saying it is reconciled at a higher level of integration. Best reconcile it at this level.
Channeling About Idealist Attitude
"Idealists" look at the world in a cardinal, expansively intellectual way, applying great ideas to what they see, measuring reality against them.
Idealist has a positive pole of "coalescence" and a negative pole of "abstraction." Like spiritualists, idealists are visionaries; idealists see the world in terms of what it "should" be, whereas spiritualists see the world in terms of what it "could" be. The spiritualist attitude is more open-ended about how things will all wind up looking, but simply wants to move forward feeling that anything is possible. With the idealist, it's not so much anything, but a specific thing or set of things. The idealist easily sees new ways of doing things.
Many people are allergic to the word "should," associating it with control freaks who are telling them what to do. In this context, however, seeing the world as it "should" be is not necessarily an imposition of limitation; in its positive side, it provides an insightful alternative.
Let's say you run for political office. If you are a spiritualist and you inspire people with just the idea that anything is possible, that's great, but eventually, people are going to want to know what you have in mind. The expression axis is more about the mind (intellect), so the idealist puts forth an idea: "We could do this, and look how much better things would be if we did." Idealists see how the world could be made better, and therefore, idealists change the world.
Both spiritualists and idealists, in their positive poles, have a warm cheeriness about them; you can see the correlation between them and the roles that share a position on the same axis. Spiritualist attitude is like the priest role applied to attitude, warm and inspirational. Idealists are cheerful and optimistic, full of ideas, like the role of sage. The classic idealist in literature is Don Quixote. He was considered to be a madman, but he kept following his ideals, and maybe they weren't so crazy after all; they just weren't what people were accustomed to. No matter how often he was knocked down, he got back up because his ideal gave him optimism.
"Abstraction," the negative pole of idealist, is impractical, pie in the sky, a little like the faith of the spiritualist. The idealist in abstraction has an abstract concept of how things could be changed, but is not enough in touch with the real world to know what would actually happen. In the positive pole, "coalescence," the idealist pulls everything together; things coalesce around this new idea and change actually occurs.
Idealists are often at the forefront of new thought movements. In the positive pole, idealists may propose something that looks impractical but, in fact, is actually doable; it's just that others have not had the vision to step out of the box and see it. Idealists may aim too high, but still manage to incite some progress because of their insistence that things could change. There was a movement in the nineteenth century and also in the 1960s toward utopian communities; these were often spearheaded by idealists who didn't see any reason why society couldn't be ordered in a better way. On the ground, they often did not work as planned, yet many of the people who participated in the experiments advanced as a result. Society was changed, at least incrementally, if not radically. Sometimes you have to actually build the thing and try it out before you move from abstraction to coalescence, and see what people will actually do. However, if you don't try at all, you never move forward. The willingness to experiment and take chances is the hallmark of the positive-pole idealist.
Q: In order to put their ideas into action, is an action-axis trait required in the idealist?
A. It is required on the part of someone involved, but not necessarily the person who is the visionary. You often find idealists paired up with someone who likes the ideal but who also has a strength in practical matters.
Idealists are often attracted in relationships to realists or pragmatists, because they complement. Let's say an idealist is married to a realist; the idealist says, "This is what we should do," and the realist reminds him of what the real facts are, what they're actually dealing with, perhaps helping the idealist forge a vision that is more workable. Or, married to a pragmatist, the idealist might be the one who pushes them forward, and the pragmatist might be the one who makes it work, solving problems. Idealist and skeptic can also be a good pairing if the skeptic is not overly closed-minded. Since the idealist probably sometimes slides to skeptic and vice versa, there can be sympathy toward one another. They are both intellectual, and the idealist can appreciate the concerns of the skeptic, using them to make the ideal more workable.
Any combination of attitudes works fine when people are mostly in their positive poles. In the negative poles, there can be particular friction in certain combinations, such as spiritualist and cynic. We mentioned the quarrelsome nature of skeptics and cynics, but they generally do pretty well with those who share their axis--for example, cynic and realist is a good combination (cynic and pragmatist is also fine). However a skeptic who is heavily in of suspicion or a cynic strongly in denigration can be hard for just about anyone to deal with.
Shepherd Hoodwin -- From Michael On Attitudes
Next page | Cynic Attitude
About Phil Wittmeyer
Phil is a long-time Michael student who has written several book-length manuscripts about the Michael teachings, many of them featured on this site. He has been an active member in the community for many years and can be found at most Michael gatherings.
Phil currently lives in Colorado.
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