The problem with Idealism

Oh, it seems you’ve adopted some of my lingo, perhaps you read and understood some of what I said. If so, my apologies.


I don’t know who you are responding to. If I have come accross as condesending I apologize. I was hoping rather to simply voice my frustration. A simple quesion about the relative value of “Idealism” turned into ten times as many other questions with no one really addressing the point of the post. As far as our intelligence goes I never stated or intended that anyone perceive me as anything but an average guy. I can tell everyone here on this site thinks they’re a genius. To be honest I don’t care. In fact I hope you are. However if anyone here is as smart as they think could they please respectfully address the point of the post and not resort to name calling. If you really are smart show me. Assuming you were addressing me with the above comments you and I don’t know each other and you therefore have no basis to discuss my philosophical knowledge. My approach is deliberately unacademic. I am not trying to find a pretty picture of the world I can publish so people will say, “Hey look at the smart guy.” #1 I am not so insecure that I need this kind of recognition. #2 I search for better answers because I wan’t to understand better, period. If that disqualifies me from this site please flag this response and ban me from the site. I will go quietly and apologize for the misunderstanding. If you were addressing someoene else I apologize and please ignore my longwinded explanation.




I did not realize you had posted all of this Lucis. It seems that you and I are mostly in agreement. I can see your frustration when you were in fact addressing my post directly. My apologies. I read a book recently, In Defense of Doubt, that you might like. Much of what you describe in section 2 he covers in the historical context of our everyday “knowledge”. Again well thought out and articulated. Many apologies.

I’m just wondering why you display such discomfort and restlessness here.

You imply that there is something about you that is searching. For what are you searching? You also seem to refer to resting as the ultimate goal. Is rest the goal of your search?



Yes. I am restless, angst ridden you might say.

As far as the searching and the ultimate goal you continue to take these out of context. In addition the resting in belief is a simple fact. For example I drive to work on the freeway. I don’t randomly choose which side of the street to use. I follow the rules and operate on the general assumption that others will as well. If I didn’t operate in this way I would be terrified to get in my car. As far as the “bigger” questions I am suggesting that most people rest on their beliefs because they give their beliefs an absolute quality. I am suggesting that we rather give our assumptions a relative and critical quality.
As an example take Darwinism. Richard Dawkins is a champion of Darwinism. I am saying this is a mistake. As a scientist he should be a champion of better tools of undestanding not one particular tool. He should assign a relative value to the tool “Darwinism” and not an absolute value. OK?


Thanks Lell. My apologies to you too. I misunderstood you.

Not that it liberates but that it puts you in a coral where within the confine of that fence you feel safe and have no need to wonder.

capslockf9 says that belief does not liberate. Lelldoren71 says that it does.

Isn’t the internet useful!

But he awoke. And seen the dead man. He did not want dead men as most religions require your death so that you can join the messiah. I want companions I want live men not corpses. And he leaves the dead man behind.

Seriously? What creates this restlessness in you?

That’s a good thing when it makes them obey traffic rules like you said.

Relative to what? What you think would be better for you yourself, or what would be better for society?

I’m not saying that much, it necessarily leads to the question, “So, what is Reality?”

I created a thread called, “The Nature of Reality,” my OP wasn’t perfect, but I consider it pretty good and it led to a good conversation involving many Members. Please feel free to read it and comment, if you so desire:


I knew you would ask this. :slight_smile: Relative to any tool that could be employed to answer the same question. If you wanted to collect all the tools that man ever created to answer the following question, “How did life come about on Earth” you could find hundreds of tools. Good. Try them. Which one does the job the best. That’s the strategy I would suggest. Tools are historically dependent. God was an almost universal tool 500 years ago. We had few answers, Modern Science was still emerging. So in those days it was a good tool, maybe the best. But it wasn’t absolute in the sense that it would always be the best tool. I would argue the same for the tools we now employ. I further suggest that should be the default strategy for science and philosophy. We employ the best tools available but always look for new ones. Thats the short of it. OK?


Indubitably. The intellect is not all, but its cultivation must come first or the individual makes errors, wastes time in unprofitable pursuits. But there‘s more to the universe than meets the eye and, to those that know this, they enjoy errors with no noticeable end. You’ll notice a lack of enculturation. They’re not rebels, but they do make their own choices even if those choices conflict with what everybody else does. They can ignore petty rules if they make no sense and shrug at the little conventions that are such an important part of so many lives. They are their own people and while they see society as an important part of their lives, they refuse to be ruled by it or become a slave to it. They don’t rebelliously attack but they do know internally when to ignore and function in a clear headed and sensible way.

So we imagine tools that will free us. But can we imagine something that we have no preconception of. We have an idea and from that our truths come from. Even we were to see the truth and it did not fit our concepts we will not know what the heck we are looking at. In other words we do not see it and then believe it , we believe it and then we see it.



??? Not sure where this is coming from. (Or where it’s going) I do not agree that belief creates perception. “Belief” frames perception perhaps or gives it a context but it doesn’t create it. I would rather use a word like experience or understanding in place of belief. Belief denotes certainty which is the point of my post.

the problem with idealism , is that , the idealism , was imagined by someone who the general populus can not fully understand

which therefore leads to misunderstandings about what the idealism is truley all about by the populus


Like Plato, Aquinas, Marx, etc? Give me an example of an “idealism” that people tend to misunderstand.

communism , Russia

where the people work for the greater whole , all are employed , but to do this means that there is lack of creativity by the masses

From the OP:

This is a viable instrumentalist/pragmatist position. It is a kind of Idealism because you’re saying that finding the truth of reality is not as important as finding theories which exist in our subjective consciousness allowing us to navigate experience. Cool. This is the kind of thing where we say, “All theories are refutable, but if you want to engineer square watermelons, you need to believe in genetics. Whether or not God created the universe, you must believe in Darwin in order to be a successful biologist, so teach it in school.” A powerful position.

It also perfectly meshes with liberal/multicultural ideology. If we replace your word “philosophers” with “good humans” (as is often necessary) then this is a sort of mandate to be open-minded. It is not a neutral position. Dogmatically undogmatic, this philosopher has a very different experience of belief from a Christian.

I think the contradiction to worry about here is precisely The Problem With Idealism.

There is a paradox in this situation: “1) There is no absolute reality. 2) Absolute reality is subjective.”
If we decide reality is subjective (Idealism) then there is an impulse to declare that we cannot know what reality is, because it’s different for different people. But the denial of reality here is based on the notion that Whatever Reality Is must be the same for everyone (Objective Realism).
If you say reality is subjective, then you do know reality. You know it via your subjective experience. If your subjective perception is all that there is of reality, then you DO know what reality is.

You are right when you say “A living person cannot give any answer to those questions.”

You are afraid to die.

I had a conversation about art with my ex-girlfriend this weekend. I was maintaining the position that the subjective experience of the artist was unimportant. “The problem with art today is this YouTube thing where the most important thing is that there is a person making this. It’s like how Toni Morrison is a black woman first and a writer second.” On the other hand she was maintaining that the most important thing was to be honest and authentic with your expression. I recoil at this stance because I hate Idealism. However, as I was driving back home I realized that I hate Idealism because I hate myself. I hate myself because I am alive. I am alive because I hate myself.

A living person has no answer because an answer would simply be a tool in a box. This is not the experience of belief that is what we mean when we say Belief. A dead person believes like the dead you talk about. They cannot change their opinion, because they are dead. Live questions demand an answer (a tool) for the sake of immediate productivity. Dead questions do not demand answers from the living. We entertain them when we are alive, but we only truly believe the answers when we are dead.

Do you have any question which you can call your own? If you can come out with a question which you can call your own, a question that has never, never been asked before, then there is a meaning in talking things over. Then you don’t have to sit and ask anybody those questions, because such questions don’t exist at all. A question which you can call your own, has never been asked before. All the answers are there for those questions. You probably do not realize that the questions which you are asking are born out of the answers you already have, and that they are not your answers at all. The answers have been put in there.

So, why are these questions being asked, why is there no satisfaction with the answers that are already there? That is my question. Why? If you are satisfied, yes, it’s alright. Then you would say: “I don’t want any answers.” Still, the question is there inside of you. Whether you go and ask somebody or expect an answer from some wise man, it is still there. Why is it there?

What happens if the question comes to an end? You come to an end. You are nothing but the answers. That’s all that I am saying. If you understand that there is no questioner who is asking the questions, the answer that is there is in great jeopardy. That is why it does not want any answer. The answer is the end of that answer you have, which is not yours.