I recently heard a brilliantly insightful individual (to remain anonymous) express his frustration at the current generation’s lack of understanding as to the true definition of an idea and subsequently, what the commitment entails.
Thinkers from across disciplines and cultures have been grappling with the definition, and continue to do so today. Some of us have come across Plato’s definition in our introduction to philosophy classes; an idea is an abstract or eternally existing pattern or archetype of any kind of thing, and things conceived thereafter are imperfect copies or approximations. Kant went on to define ideas as a priori concepts of reason that denote objects we could never experience or understand. For Hegel, the idea is absolute truth (see W. Wallace The Logic of Hegel 1874). On the other hand, the standard dictionary definition is “a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action”. The list is fathomless.
So what we see are two different approaches to “idea”: philosophical and colloquial. If we run with the latter for a moment, an idea dictates our course of action; our actions are driven by our thoughts. Think about the last decision you made, big or small; why did you make it?
"Nobody dies for an idea anymore!
People don’t know what it means
to commit to an idea”
Was it arbitrary or can you trace it back to an idea or thought? The way we act, speak, and to a larger extent, live is governed by ideas. Thus, we have to be cognizant when we choose those ideas; the minute we do, we give them the power of influence over ourselves, and those around us.
Within our generation, the significance of committing to ideas has never been more pertinent than it is now. We are faced with decisions that could shape the next 100 years, the next two generations and beyond; the gravity cannot be overemphasized. So then why is our commitment lacking?
It is not that we are unable to understand the definition or gravity; it is that we choose not to understand or care! We actively make decisions but choose not to seek the archetype or pattern; this is our generation’s tragic flaw. We are blindly following copies of ideas instead of the actual ideas and that is why no one is willing to die for an idea anymore. In effect, the blind are leading the blind and both shall fall into the ditch unless we do something about it.
In an attempt to rectify our fallacy, I propose we begin to carefully examine the reasoning behind our decisions; we need to logically trace our thought process to the root, the idea. For those that already do so, you should promulgate your stories to exemplify how ideas ought to be.