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Ideals

  • First, I was an idealist (that was early — fools are born, not made, you know); next I was a realist; now I am a pessimist, and, by Jove! if things get much worse I'll become a humorist.

  • ... idealism, that gaudy coloring matter of passion, fades when it is brought beneath the trenchant white light of knowledge. Ideals, like mountains, are best at a distance.

  • But she had told them nothing, given them the stone of her abstract, colourless idealism while they sat there, open-mouthed for sentimental bread.

  • The idealists and visionaries, foolish enough to throw caution to the winds and express their ardor and faith in some supreme deed, have advanced mankind and have enriched the world.

  • ... the Real [is] the sole foundation of the Ideal ...

  • I suppose there was never yet a woman who had not somewhere set up on a pedestal in her brain an ideal of manhood. ... He never is finished till the brain of his creator ceases to work, till she has added her last touch to him, and has laid down the burden of life and gone elsewhere, perhaps to some happy land where ideals are more frequently realised than ever happens here.

  • Idealization of a group is a natural consequence of separation from the group; in other words, it is a by-product of alienation.

  • ... we come to think of an idealist as one who seeks to realize what is not in fact realizable. But, it is necessary to insist, to have ideals is not the same as to have impracticable ideals, however often it may be the case that our ideals are impracticable.

  • Don't become cynical. Don't give up hope. Don't believe that everything is judged only by expediency. There is idealism in this world. There is human brotherhood.

    • Golda Meir,
    • in Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Special People ()
  • All the higher forms of life have evolved from some one's ideal of justice, liberty or beauty; and the belief that nothing is too good to be true.

  • The fascinating thing about ideals is that no sooner have we gained a desired peak than we find farther and higher peaks beyond. The thrilling adventure never ends.

  • Ideals, my dear Golightly, are the root of every evil. When a man forgets his ideals he may hope for happiness, but not till then.

  • To die for one's great ideas is glorious — and easy. The horror is to outlive them. That is our worst capability.

  • Idealism in the young, I guess I'm saying, is curiosity as well as goodness trying to express itself.

  • I know we will create a society where there are no rich or poor, no people without work or beauty in their lives, where money itself will disappear, where we shall all be brothers and sisters, where every one will have enough.

    • Sylvia Pankhurst,
    • speech (1921), in David Mitchell, The Fighting Pankhursts ()
  • Children see things very well sometimes — and idealists even better.