Not all ideas and beliefs and ideals have equal merit.
Precisely what we need are good theories to focus our attention, a good set of ideals to guide our action, and good visions of the future to mobilize our energies.
Thoroughly living life requires initiative, risk taking, sustained action against the odds, making sacrifices for ideals and for others, and leaps of faith. People who live such lives report being happy, hopeful, and exhilarated – even when they fail.
It is easy to be honest enough not to be hanged. To be really honest means to subdue one’s prepossessions, ideals - stating things fairly, not humoring your argument - doing justice to your enemies... making confession whether you can afford it or not; refusing unmerited praise; looking painful truths in the face.
Children whose souls are stunted in the shadow of relativism are left without noble ideals and moral goals to raise their sights above immediate self-gratification.
There is no such thing as ethical truth. However, those committed to humane-egalitarian ideals can make a truth-claim rare and precious: they can look reality and the truths of science in the face and find nothing that makes them flinch.
Find meaning not in possessions or positions, but in personal commitments to ideals bigger than our own needs. And the ideals that seem to consistently provide this kind of meaning are ideals of service-of acting for the common good and overcoming whatever risks and obstacles may lie in the way.
A significant life - one that is more than just happy or meaningful - requires dedication to ends that we choose because they exceed the goal of personal well-being. We attain and feel our significance in the world when we create, and act for, ideals that may originate in self-interest, but ultimately benefit others.
We are by nature thinking beings, and if we cannot escape anxiety about the inherent structure of our thought processes, how can we hope to creative purposive ideals that are congruent with reality instead of deflecting us from it?
We often use the word "meaning" in relation to personal feelings and emotional significance. It then reveals and sometimes declares our highest values. It manifests ideals that we cherish and pursue.
Books won’t stay banned. They won’t burn. Ideas won’t go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideals is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path of wisdom is a liberal education.
Our ideals are our better selves.
If you would keep young and happy, be good; live a high moral life; practice the principles of the brotherhood of man; send out good thoughts to all, and think evil of no man. This is in obedience to the great natural law; to live otherwise is to break this great Divine law. Other things being equal, it is the cleanest, purest minds that live long and are happy. The man who is growing and developing intellectually does not grow old like the man who has stopped advancing, but when ambition, aspirations and ideals halt, old age begins.
It is only in marriage with the world that our ideals can bear fruit: divorced from it, they remain barren.
Anyone who repudiates the lust for life because he is caught in the lust for ideals has not advanced in the most fundamental sense.
Age generally makes men more tolerant; youth is always discontented. The tolerance of age is the result of the ripeness of a judgment which, not merely as the result of indifference, is satisfied even with what is inferior, but, more deeply taught by the grave experience of life, has been led to perceive the substantial, sold worth of the object in question. The insight then to which - in contradistinction fro those ideals - philosophy is to lead us, is, that the real world is as it ought to be, that the truly good, the universal divine reason, is not a mere abstraction, but a vital principle capable of realizing itself.
We see facts with our eyes; we see ideas with our minds; we see ideals with our souls. Whatever we see with our souls is real and permanent and cannot be destroyed.
Only a few rare souls in a century, to whose class I make no pretension, count much in the great flow of this Republic. The life stream of this nation is the generations of millions of human particles acting under the impulses of advancing ideas and national ideals gathered from a thousand springs... We are but transitory officials in government whose duty is to keep these channels clear and to strengthen and extend these dikes. What counts toward the honor of public officials is that they sustain the national ideals upon which are patterned the design of these channels of progress and the construction of these dikes of safety.
All men are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened.
Every dogma has its day, but ideals are eternal.