The Idealism Blues – The Ideal Series #4


It might be folly, but today is day 4 of The Ideal Series!

idealism 4

The Intolerant Idea l

That is not a hyphenation mistake at the end of the quote.  You can’t be idealistic without an idea.  When a person is so persuaded that his or her idea is worth hurting others, worth cutting them down, or worth castigating them as less than they are, then the idea, no matter how positive it is in the abstract, becomes dangerous and deadly.  If you have any doubts think of the history of ideas and ideals.  

The Religious Idea l

Although bathed in the teachings of love over the centuries, religions and their ideas of exclusivity have led to wars, persecutions, terrorism, hatred, condemnation, assassinations, and destruction of whole societies and cities, all because the ideas included having no tolerance for those who believe differently.

The Political Idea l

State Communism and State Socialism, supposedly started with the idea of ‘brotherhood of man’ and equality for all, led instead to the oppression, incarceration and murder of close to 100 million people under Stalin and Mao alone. 

The Personal Idea l

Who do you dislike and why? Who do you make fun of?  Who do you declare unworthy of consideration and respect?  Who do you hate? Maybe someone fat? Maybe a cyclops? How about a prostitute?  What about a Muslim?  Perhaps a bigamist Mormon?  What about a slut?  Possibly a thief?  What about a rich movie star?  Maybe an atheist?  How about a Democrat? Or a Republican?

The Power Idea l

Now give yourself unlimited power to do anything you want to those people. What would you do?  That is how the damage of the religious and the political examples I mentioned above came about.  They didn’t start after the person got in power. The hatred was there first, then the power gave them the capability to do the damage.

The Ideal Idea l

Jesus taught that the sin was not in the murder alone, but that it was the hatred that led to the murder that was also a sin.  Now, I am not a big believer in ‘sin’ in the classic definition, but it really doesn’t matter what you call it.  It starts in your heart.  If you don’t practice tolerance and understanding when you are without power, you will never have it when you do.


Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, who believes that in the end, only kindness matters.

Quote by Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British Prime Minister during WWII


Trivia Question from Yesterday

Question: How did the dandelion get it’s name?

Answer: The dandelion’s leaves had ragged edges, much like the teeth of a lion, thus in french ‘dent de lion’.



How Far is Your Ideal? – The Ideal Series #3

Ideally this would be day 3 of The Ideal Series, and thus it is.

idealism 3

The Ideal Meteor

You know what would be ideal? If a really large meteor, the largest in 100 years, screamed through the atmosphere and blew up and we could see it all happen!  Yes it would be…from a distance.  It would not be ideal if it hit your town, blew out your office glass and cut you up really bad.  It all depends on how close you are, doesn’t it.

The Myopic Ideal

If you live in Oklahoma then chances are you might think your ideal world includes no need for gun regulation beyond maybe some safety classes.   Perhaps everyone having a gun is your ideal.  But would you feel the same way if you lived in that violence ridden inner city? I bet the solution would be harder than just simplistically saying let everyone have a gun and all will be well.

But what if you live in a bad area of Chicago or LA or some other city with a very high rate of gun violence?   You are far, far away from rural Oklahoma with it’s uncrowded rural life.  Your ideal is different. Perhaps your ideal is no one having guns.  But would you feel the same way if you lived in that quiet rural world? I bet the solution would be harder than just simplistically saying take away all the guns and all will be well.

The 20/20 Ideal

What do you do if you want to find solutions and maintain your idealism at the same time?  Well, we know you can’t find a solution without understanding the other side, since even if you do pass a law, it will come back to bite you if it doesn’t take into account as many people as possible.  So, we have to compromise.

But what about the idealism, isn’t that dead if you have to compromise? No, it is not.  Idealism is not about reaching something (see yesterday’s drawing) it’s about being guided by something.  Your idealistic guiding principles can include finding solutions that help everyone, not just you and your tribe. But to do that you have to be willing to get inside that other world, if not in person, at least via reading and understanding, with an open heart and a belief in the good faith of the other side.  

You know what that would be? It would be ideal.


Drawing by Marty Coleman, who thinks it would be ideal if some well connected friend of mine contacted a marketing department in a paper company that makes napkins or an art company that makes markers and told them it would be ideal for them to sponsor me.

Quote by John Galsworthy, 1867-1933, British writer.  Nobel Prize winner, Literature – 1932


Trivia Question of the Day

How did the dandelion get it’s name?

Come back tomorrow for the answer


Who is Your Ideal? – The Ideal Series #2

Do you realize that today is day 2 of The Ideal Series?

idealism 2

The Creative Real

I believe art is at its best when it refines and distills something real.  But what is real to an artist?  Is it beauty? Form? Color? Humanity? Nature?  Or something else entirely?

The Creative Ideal

I believe art is at its best when it refines and distills something ideal.  But what is ideal to any artist? Is it beauty? Form? Color? Humanity? Nature?  Or something else entirely?

The Ideal Real

I love art because it’s up to me to define both my ideal and my real.  They are symbiotic, living with each other as lovers.  They love and fight and make up again and again and again.

Who is your ideal and your real?  Are they lovers or fighters or both?


Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, who ideally would have a real house at an ideal beach with his real wife.

Quote by W. C. Gannett, 1840-1923, Unitarian Pastor and leader, along with his wife Mary Louis Gannett, of the Women’s Suffrage movement


Trivia question from yesterday answered:

Question: Who opened the first kindergarten in the US?

Answer:  Margarethe Meyer-Schurz, wife of yesterday’s quote author


Where is Your Ideal? – The Ideal Series #1

What an ideal day to start ‘The Ideal Series’ here at the NDD.

idealism 1

Do you have an ideal?  Do you try to reach it or do you try to be guided by it to a life well lived?  Tell us your ideal.


Drawing and questions by Marty Coleman, who is learning to sail his ship.

Quote by Carl Schurz, 1829-1906, First German-born American elected to the US Senate, 1869


Trivia question of the day

Who opened the first kindergarten in the US?  

Answer in the comments below or if you don’t know, come back tomorrow for the answer.


No Folly

A vintage napkin from 2004.

Intolerant idealism is the sin of both the extreme left and the extreme right.

Our Associate Pastor gave a sermon titled ‘Are You Expecting’ about advent and the season of expecting the divine to arrive.

She talked about her mother choosing to always love her in spite of some very unexpected directions she took in life. She used that as an example of how to have expectations but also keep a loose hold on them, since you can never be in control of enough of live to be assured of one particular outcome.

She closed her sermon with the announcement that she is expecting, she is pregnant. She then gestured for her partner, Jill, to stand so people would know who she is.

I don’t know what her mother’s religion or belief system was or is. But if she was like most parents it likely came as a surprise to know her daughter was lesbian. If you are a parent it would probably turn a couple of your beliefs upside down. But what would you do? Would you condemn, thinking that the condemnation is the only way to remain true to your beliefs, or would you accept and embrace, finding a way to be true to your beliefs while still showing love to them?

I can tell you this, if you chose the intolerant idealism route you would lose your daughter. You would have your self-righteousness intact, but you would not have her with you. You wouldn’t have that granddaughter. You wouldn’t have those birthdays and holidays and events with them. And for what? For an idealism that you disproved with your actions. That is a good definition of folly to be sure.

Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman

“No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism.” –  Winston Churchill

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