The Idealism and Realism Paradox by C.D Johnson.

Ethical idealism, the belief that mental constructs, as a matter of ideology, can produce positive effect in the world, regardless of any physical effort. Mind over matter. Or “believe in it, and it will come true”. This posits that the ideal itself is free of any causality linked to the action (objective idealism), and has its own power to see change in the world, indeterminate of the truth of reality.

<<An ideal is a principle or value that an entity actively pursues as a goal and holds above other concerns perceived as being less meaningful. Terms relating to the general belief in ideals include ethical idealism, moral idealism, and principled idealism. An ethical idealist, moral idealist, principled idealist or simply an idealist insists on holding onto ideals even at a considerable cost as a consequence of holding such a belief.>> - Wiki

Ethical idealism is a highly empathic process, beyond its ideological concerns. Idealism is "of the people, for the people". And, it takes a highly emotive person to attach to an ideal. Because ideals are mostly made up of feelings and passion. However, there is a paradox here. Because the emotive brain is not responsible for creating ideals. Emotions, or the brain's limbic system, does not have the ability to form ideas. But the analytical brain does.

An ideal is a complex notion that requires deep inference, retrospection, highly behavioral belief systems, and great dedication or duty. And all complexity of this nature comes from the frontal lobe. Particularly the left hemisphere of the brain. The seat of our intellectual reasoning. Complexity, as a concept, must always be reasoned if not naturally occurring. DNA is naturally occurring complexity. Mapping DNA is human-developed complexity. (Not intuitive — and this will be important later.)

You would think that such an empathetic process would be made up mostly of emotional cues and attachments, along with a sense of possible gain from it. And while those are indeed motivators, they aren’t primary motivators. Cognitively speaking, ideals, like many beliefs in the brain, are typically predicated on a person’s analytical reactions to that which they form an aversion to (loss aversion). That which they fear or dislike, be it present or a potential outcome. Not what they find pleasant or useful. Negativity weights much more heavily on the thinking process of human beings than gain potential. Psychology calls this a “negativity bias”:

<<Policymakers often have to decide between providing positive and negative incentives to encourage people to choose particular options, and how much emphasis to put on these two aspects. For example, in the recent national referendum in Scotland the U.K. government employed both sanctions and promises to promote the nonseparatist agenda. Yet which of these two aspects carry more weight on people’s decisions?

In psychological science there is a clear answer to this question, instantiated by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s “loss aversion” principle (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). This principle asserts that the subjective weight of penalties is larger than that of potential rewards. Hence, for example, people should avoid lotteries which give a 50-50 chance for equal-sized gains and losses because the negative repercussions weigh heavier than the positive ones.

Kahneman and Tversky suggested that the proposed reason for this bias is rooted in an affective context: “the aggravation that one experiences in losing a sum of money appears to be greater than the pleasure associated with gaining the same amount” (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979; p. 279). Social psychologist Roy Baumeister further claimed that the asymmetric response to positive and negative events encompasses most cognitive and affective aspects, and he refers to it as the “negativity bias” (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Finkenauer, & Vohs, 2001).>>

- Eldad Yechiam, Professor of Psychology, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology

Belief is the analytical brain’s attempt to get away from the negativity, whatever that may be — just so long as it is abstract. The process doesn’t work as well with physical experience. For instance, someone introduces you to Indian food, and you develop an aversion to it; but from that point on, you just don’t eat Indian food anymore. You don’t have to develop a belief system around not eating Indian food.

On the other hand, someone introduces you to an Indian person, you develop an aversion to that person because of some particular prejudice or bias (Example: Hindus are not Christian like you and don't share your faith), and before you know it, you are racist against Indian people. Racism being an ideological belief, contingent on the "ideal notion" (invention) that Hindus are evil pagans. You will begin to form biases and emotional attachments around these ideas, as a secondary reaction to the forming belief. You’ll “feel in your heart” they are true.

What did not happen is that you became a racist because you liked the idea, intellectually speaking (positivity); and all that was left was to pick someone to be racist against, in a proactive manner.

Like, just deciding out of the blue, that you hate logicians, and deduce this is because they are genetically inferior to irrationalists. They also probably eat the babies of spiritualists. If you ever look at the scalp of a logician, you’ll find a birthmark made up of three universal quantifiers on their heads — the symbol of the Great Beast: Axiom.

So, in true terms, the highly emotive entity, idealism, is in fact a product of strong, analytical, intellectual thinking. Realism, on the other hand, is a more realistic process, obviously. The analytically creative brain’s power is in its ability to build models that may defy the real-world in ways that physical reality can’t. To create and make-belief (literally). Realism, however, is more of a natural reaction to what can be experienced directly — or at least induced, or deduced from indirect experience.

Realism doesn’t do a lot of dreaming in the brain. It more times than not is there to cognitively smack you when you start to drift off too far into the dream-state idealism facilitates.

Like rationality is the expanse between reason (applied logic) and belief, logical discernment (sometimes called common sense) is the expanse between realism and idealism. And just like how it is the sign of a healthier mind to lean more in favor of reason rather than belief, it is also the sign of a healthy mind to lean over to the realism side more than you do the idealism side. Because reason and realism will help you to keep things under control. Belief and idealism have a tendency to lose control.

Too much idealistic belief and the next thing you know, you hate logicians because they are so smart and good-looking, and are talking about anti-pug conspiracy theories popularized by the cats on the internet. We call this fall from logical grace "irrationalism".

Therefore, what is likely to happen is that you will analytically develop your beliefs in reaction to your aversions to something you find unpleasant, surround it with emotions, biases, and fallacies, and then further elaborate on all the reasons you have for embracing such beliefs. It takes a lot of frontal lobe work to do that, over much time.

On the other hand, realism rarely takes much effort or time. You just need one idea and one solution for a realistic approach, at the bare minimum. And this is typically how we spend much of our days. Coming up with a very limited array of ideas, and very limited number of options for carrying them out, or solving a problem. We pick one, and we are done. 

<<Observation: Ice tray is empty. Solution: Re-fill ice tray.>>

^ Intuitively, this has been a successful act in the past.

<<Observation: Ice tray is empty. Solution: Find out what is the best kind of water in the world. Acquire the best kind of water. Make sure the container for the water is "green" because you don't want to contribute to the build-up of non-perishable plastics in the environment. Re-fill the ice tray. Take a picture and tweet about how you are environmentally conscious to inspire other idealists.>>

^ Intellectually, this has only been successful in making people feel good about themselves. ALL YOU HAD TO DO IS RE-FILL THE FYCKING ICE TRAY!

And this scenario may seem a bit unrealistic to you, but I am just idealistically relating to you a real-world scenario, because I actually saw this tweet once. And stuff like this explains why my Twitter account gets less action than a Catholic nun in Chula Vista. I don't touch it.

This all makes realism highly intuitive in its process. This is why, unlike the emotional undertones of idealism, realism tends to be rather cold and direct. Unfeeling and just as unappealing to the idealistically inclined.

However, realism is also often more a process of action than the more cerebral idealism. And it is usually more correct in those actions than the many-faceted, variegated truths of idealism. And therein, lies the paradox: Idealism, in its analytical fervor, dances around all the points, often tripping and falling on its face. Realism in its simplistic approach just wants to get straight to the point, no messing about. They will be no foreplay with realism, but you are guaranteed to orgasm. Idealism may be too busy touting its skills to find your special giggle-spot.

So, as emotional and belief-based as ethical idealism is, it is highly analytical and reasonable in its development. And as much as realism has been the primary inspiration for things like logic and mathematics, science, rationalism, and epistemology, it relies heavily on intuitive processes to produce “matter of factness”. 

One might have assumed, without the benefit of neuroscience and its studies, that these should be in reverse: Idealism as intuitive, and realism as analytical. But there is a very good reason for this assumption. And that has to do with where each of these actually end up after we use them. 

The caution is, as analytical as the development of ideals are, the purpose that they serve is rhetoric. That is, to persuade others. Not by analytical means (root), but emotional ones (crown). The base of ideals may be analytical, but their intention is emotional manipulation. Devilish plot twist! 

On the other hand, the intuitive approach of realism is to get us to see the world as it really is. Representational in its truths, which are interpreted by its contextual mind; but loyal to reality despite its confusing nature. This is the brain's way of telling you that you really don't have to work so hard for it. Just open your eyes, and behold. The World! It really isn't as complicated as it seems.

An idealist wants you to believe that emotions come from the heart because, analytically, that’s a good model of symbolism that can greatly affect one’s beliefs as a tool of persuasion. Emotional people love their hearts — SO MUCH! Realists just want you to understand that the heart is an organ in your body that pumps blood to the over-active imagination in your head.

As a logical person, you can follow your intuition, but reign in your imagination. Otherwise, you’ll become just another idealistically driven schmuck, dreaming of the future, but never getting to live there, because you never bothered to actually act to make it a reality. As Kant said, and I paraphrase: The analytical is awesome! But the synthetic is where the substance is.

Kant was one of the few philosophers in the past who was not at all dumbfounded by the Idealism Paradox. From “Metaphysical Foundations Of Natural Science”, Immanuel Kant:

<<Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and the more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above and the moral law within. I have not to search for them and conjecture them as though they were veiled in darkness or were in the transcendent region beyond my horizon; I see them before me and connect them directly with the consciousness of my existence. 

The former begins from the place I occupy in the external world of sense [realism], and enlarges my connection therein to an unbounded extent with worlds upon worlds and systems of systems, and moreover into limitless times of their periodic motion, its beginning and continuance. 

The second begins from my invisible self, my personality [idealism], and exhibits me in a world which has true infinity, but which is traceable only by the understanding, and with which I discern that I am not in a merely contingent but in a universal and necessary connection, as I am also thereby with all those visible worlds. 

The former view of a countless multitude of worlds annihilates as it were my importance as an animal creature, which after it has been for a short time provided with vital power, one knows not how, must again give back the matter of which it was formed to the planet it inhabits (a mere speck in the universe). 

The second, on the contrary, infinitely elevates my worth as an intelligence by my personality, in which the moral law reveals to me a life independent of animality and even of the whole sensible world, at least so far as may be inferred from the destination assigned to my existence by this law, a destination not restricted to conditions and limits of this life, but reaching into the infinite.>>

The tragedy of this is that it takes only one real thing to kill a million ideals.

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