148. "Many people admire idealism, but it usually leads to disappointment or trouble."
Idealism does more harm than good to society as well as individuals.
1. An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
2. Political idealism such as communism brought catastrophes to former socialist countries.
3. Individually, idealism, if it were not balanced by pragmatism, would lead to personal failure.
4. Guided by practical plans, however, idealism can lead to hope and enthusiasm.
idealism: The act or practice of envisioning things in an ideal form.
156. "Choice is an illusion. In reality, our lives are controlled by the society in which we live."
1. Choice is a highly practical thing that everyone is confronted with all the time.
2. However, not every one can tackle choice properly with much easiness.
3. Society is also influenced and controlled by our way of living.
157. "There is no such thing as purely objective observation. All observation is subjective; it is always guided by the observer's expectations or desires."
A. It would be tempting to afford the speaker’s claim greater merit than it deserves. After all, our everyday experience as humans informs us that we often disagree about what we observe around us.
B. However, these sorts of subjective “observations” are actually subjective “interpretations” of what we observe.
162. "One often hears about the need for individuals to take responsibility for their own lives. However, the conditions in which people find themselves have been largely established long before people become aware of them. Thus, the concept of personal responsibility is much more complicated and unrealistic than is often assumed."
The statement can help us understand better the concept of personal responsibility.
1. We all live in conditions that have been largely established by others.
2. The environment in which we act, often uncontrollable, exerts unforeseeable influence on our behavior.
3. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account the objective conditions when we require a person to assume responsibility.
163. "Most people live, whether physically or morally, in a very restricted circle. They make use of a very limited portion of the resources available to them until they face a great problem or crisis."
1. Many people are confined by the physical deficiencies or moral regulations in their way of living. They have to obey them to procure their reputation, fame, success, and so on.
2. However, when confronted with crisis and the like, people will use resources of others or of the community or even the whole society.
165. "In any given field, the leading voices come from people who are motivated not by conviction but by the desire to present opinions and ideas that differ from those held by the majority."
1. When it comes to political power, I would admit that a deep-seated psychological need to be noticed or to be different sometimes lies at the heart of a person’s drive to political power and fame.
2. Nevertheless, for every leading political voice driven to new ideas by a desire to be noticed or to be different, on can cite many other political leaders clearly driven instead by the courage of their convictions.
3. Turning to the arts, creative urges are born not of ego but rather of some intensely personal commitment to an aesthetic ideal.
4. As for the physical sciences, innovation and progress can only result from challenging conventional theories—that is, the status quo.
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