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REALITY AND REALISM
1423. Life comes with a guarantee of muddle and uncertainty: there is no chart for safe passage between the lure of the ideal and the demands of the real.
1422. With enough dedication and perseverance -- success is assured; you may not achieve your goal -- but you will discover what is achievable -- and hence the difference between fantasy and reality.
1350. Freedom of religion is the freedom to engage in fantasy. To give special deference to religious ideas -- because they claim divine approval -- is to express a preference for fantasy over fact.
1308. People who insist on seeing the world as it "should" be -- rather than as it is -- choose a dangerous path. They will eventually discover the curious but persistent relationship between real chasms and imaginary bridges.
1307. The popular ship "Sounds Good" invariably runs aground on the obdurate and immovable rocks of "What Works."
1255. Every ideal is blind to reality. The abyss of truth is remarkably patient.
1165. Emphasizing equality rather than merit will work -- as long as you are not in competition with realists.
1152. Socialism proves -- through its repeated failures -- that equality is not in the blueprint of nature. That socialist schemes are still pursued illustrates the continuing unpopularity of reality.
1145. The great political divide has its roots in psychology: Those on the left are idealistic and gullible; those on the right realistic and apprehensive. One side focuses on hopeful intentions, the other on unsatisfactory results.
1135. The notion of complementary opposites is the key to understanding the limitations of the real world. It is not a question of choosing, irrevocably, peace, freedom, love, tolerance, and equality. All of these ideal conceptions imply their necessary opposites. Conflict, restriction, hatred, and inequality cannot be wished away with pious incantations, however heartfelt, or with determined imaginings, no matter how fervent.
1124. Immigration: compassionate ideals are attractive -- but practical realities -- despite their cosmetic deficiencies -- often interfere.
1122. Political correctness insists on a smooth, egalitarian consistency -- but reality is always lumpy.
1098. Egalitarian ideals will forever founder on the unmovable rock of hierarchic reality: some ideas are invariably better than others.
1097. The conflict between the ideal and the real worlds cannot be resolved: one is too fanciful for implementation, the other too depressing for contemplation.
1062. It is fashionable to proclaim -- especially in the interests of compassion and tolerance -- that unequal things are equal. In this manner, stupidity is enhanced, while the reality remains unchanged.
1061. Voting for politicians who spout optimistic nonsense is like buying a lottery ticket: you can live in a fantasy of hope until the numbers are drawn. Then it's back to reality.
1056. The best dreams are those long-cooked over a slow fire -- and well seasoned with reality.
996. The attractive theory is equality; the plain reality is hierarchy.
947. The "preferred narrative" of those on the left is the world not as it is, but as it "ought" to be. Thus fascism is the obvious and necessary response to any threatening reminders of a reality that has already been rejected.
730. The Rose Garden was never promised; nor should it be invoked or simulated by Human Rights Commissions.
729. Reality is always the dowdy sister to Fancy. [This is the last element of Observation #5. It appears as an independent Observation in The Quote Garden -- and elsewhere. It seemed appropriate to give it a number of its own.]
706. A refusal to face reality allows it to stab you in the back.
660. Careful dreams begin the necessary voyage to improvement. Careless dreams disdain reality -- they end in wreckage -- a harsh testament to the perils of idealistic gullibility.
615. More blest would be the world by far --
Could we but see things as they are.
597. Reality is not pleasant -- but fantasy can be far more dangerous.
576. Those who breathlessly praise 'cultural diversity' as an end in itself seem to forget that, in the natural world, diversity provides not only good ideas which triumph, but bad ideas which, deservedly, fail.
556. The dreams most desirable are least attainable. This is the first axiom in the geometry of reality.
538. Blown from the pipe of hope, the shimmering, iridescent bubbles of equality eventually find their way to the uneven reality of earth.
537. The nature of reality is such that the prism of illusion is always necessary.
487. Idealism is a rejection of reality. The difficulty is that reality is sometimes subject to alteration, sometimes not. The most productive idealism is tentative and hopeful; the most dangerous is that infused with absolute certainty.
448. There are contradictions at the heart of human existence which ensure a restless dis-ease: sentient creatures can thrive only in the unreasonable expectation of their own permanence; uplifting, co-operative, egalitarian dreams are restrictively contained in a prevailing landscape of hostile competition. In short, religious and social ideals inevitably conflict with reality.
447. In the pigsty of reality -- always the cruel hope of a silk purse.
425. Most men are part realist, part idealist. The ideals are usually chosen; realistic notions are generally compelled by circumstance.
418. The path to progress is often blocked by the deference which reality is required to pay to fantasy.
417. The most popular sandwiches are short on reality, long on baloney. Alternate version: The tastiest sandwiches are short on reality, long on baloney.
397. The "ideal" ideal is that which gives up something of its essence, and makes a compromise with reality.
302. There can be no honesty in politics: the realist must lie to get elected; the idealist, easily elected for his promises, must cede his beliefs to reality once in office.
273. Propaganda is never more necessary than in a universe of disagreeable realities.
187. If the world of the realist is depressing, that of the idealist is dangerous. Happy is that state where the balloon of hope can lift us from the Slough of Despond, without taking us above those heights where breath must perish.
183. Reality is Darwinian; man’s aspirations, egalitarian. From this obdurate dichotomy flows much disappointment, dissatisfaction, and despair.
122. Imagination is the fuel of man’s aspirations, and his greatest gift; it explores both the world of the possible–as in advances which are achievable because of their consonance with reality–and the world of the unreal as in fiction, superstition, and religion. A great danger arises when one is unable –or unwilling--to distinguish between these two worlds.
113. A consistent gloominess is the best defence against reality.
80. The harmony of civilization rests in finding a balance between the Darwinian realities of competition and hierarchy--and the ideal of equality. This balance is a matter of individual perception and circumstance, and, like the perfect shade of green, will always elude a final determination.
73. Hypocrisy is little more than a human mechanism for coping with reality.
67. The ideal of equality in human affairs will always be undermined by the persistence of variation and preference, and by the realities of failure and success.
64. No one is convinced by the arguments of old men; their convictions, their passions, are compromised by too prolonged an awareness of reality; it is youth that must lead the world, drawing from its bountiful ignorance, the requisite enthusiasm, the necessary certainty.
56. If nothing else, The United Nations has a significant instructive purpose: it shows with what speed and to what extent idealism can be corrupted by reality.
54. Religion is the triumph of hope over reality.
25. There is a constant battle, in society, between realism and idealism. Idealism often wins out, since realism is much less flattering to our self-image; but the outcome is seldom to our advantage.
5. Reality is always the dowdy sister to Fancy.