When I was reading Robert Greene‘s “The 48 Laws of Power”, I found the following sentence shocking but hitting the truth.
“The truth is often avoided because it is ugly and unpleasant. Never appeal to truth and reality unless you are prepared for the anger that comes from disenchantment. Life is so harsh distressing that people who can manufacture romance or conjure up fantasy are like oases in the desert. Everyone flocks to them. There is great power in tapping into the fantasy of the masses”
I immediately associate with three types of powerful theses that could well match this description: hardcore leftism who deem democracy and universal egalitarianism as the divine code; inveterate right-wing nationalism who wholeheartedly believe the supremacy of one race or one country; and the third type, the fanatic martyrdom who would do anything to ensure their religious thoughts are dominating.
The rest of people, mostly being ordinary emotional not so intelligent mortals, appeal to those three thoughts as means to avoid the insurmountably harsh reality. A leftist hates to see there are always big power trampling weak “victims”; nationalist hate to see leftists are victimizing and empowering the inferior groups that they see as unwanted and disposable residues; a martyr hates to see there are actually other competing doctrines and infidels existing in the world. However, those denial thoughts stride by addressing the mass emotional defiance to the reality instead of enlightening people of what it is really going on in the end. A realist would not be the most popular kid in the block.
But does all this matter when an individual being one would never have the power to turn the tide. Who could get rid of all those gay leftist ideologies? Who would achieve absolute equity and fully functional democracy? Not to mention the possibility to make one’s religion surpassing everyone else. Certainly some goals probably appear easier than others. But there is still virtually insignificant amount of chance to make it actual happen. Hit the bottom, don’t hate me, hate the reality.
Then what’s the point of not holding some sort of silly stubbornness and hoping for the mirage to actually become an oasis, which makes our life “meaningful”? First it is stupidity to believe it something out of one’s wishful thinking and it serves no meanings to one’s actual living conditions. Second, there’s plenty of other things that are worth digging I would say. This is when pragmatism kicks in: since the world is pretty messed up as it is, we might as well just play the role to get the best out of it. Money, women, family, kids, land, food, diamonds, gold, security, fame, power, whatever this is intrinsically attractive to you and also attainable based on your personal strength, don’t hesitate to pursue it. Sure if you plan to go against the legal system you are under much higher risk of failure, but it’s worth trying if you want it so badly.
My understanding is, reality is something one could only keep to himself and know how to react accordingly to optimize his utility. If you have the openness to stop believing what you emotionally attach to, start questioning about the real point of keeping those “principles”. As far as I could see, this world is NOT running because of some principles and moral codes.
No one likes reality, but we could perhaps start to be optimistic by appreciating reality and adjusting our own behaviors.