Inside the mind of a struggling idealist
People often wonder how idealists survive in a real world teeming with cynicism. Friends will often ask me if I get tired of hoping for the Philippines. With crisis after crisis after crisis confronting our country, these polite conversations become heated debates.
We had our fair share of these debates. For three years, I patiently explained why I chose this kind of life – that of an activist and idealist. I tried to make you understand that life is not just about the free market, that you cannot put all other things equal, that the short-run is as important – if not more important – than the long-run.
Together with other activists and idealists, we must fight the System because the System does not work for the downtrodden and for the poor.
But there are times that I want to just give up. Sometimes, I find myself thinking whether I should’ve taken the blue pill instead of the red pill. Idealists live in dreams. But today’s realities only show that life is hard and that people are forced to compromise their principles in order to put food on the table.
These are the battles we have to confront: the struggle against the world’s injustice, the struggle against indifference and apathy, and our internal struggles and personal doubts about the life we have chosen.
The road is tough and the obstacles too numerous that often, many people decide that idealism is a dead-end and it will serve them better to just go with the flow. I am deeply saddened and frustrated that I count you and your Econ friends as major obstacles along that tough road.
Your silent opposition over my chosen path makes the journey more difficult than how it normally should be. You make me feel that I am just wasting my life fighting for something abstract and thus, unattainable. With sarcastic retorts, you will find my musings as mere ramblings of a hard-to-please person. Looking into your eyes, I see that you longingly wished that I will finally see your point.
Looking back, I am amused when I see your face bordering in incredulity and exasperation whenever I point that life should not be dictated by the limited opportunities that the real life can provide, but by the infinite possibilities that we can hope and work for.
If I have a choice, will I continue to struggle as an idealist in a world that seems not to believe in heroes and martyrs anymore?
This is my answer: In the future, when my children ask me what I did to make society a better place for them to live in, I can confidently say that I lived, fought, and struggled to give them a better place to live in.
This piece has been printed in the Philippine Collegian, Volume 83, Issue 13, 09 December 2005.
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