Social structures vary in infinite dimensions. As humans strive to dwell within and maintain societies, many feel as though they are set apart, or should remove themselves from an overriding social dominance of order and ideals. These are individuals who have trouble with social norms, customs and mores. Over time they become defiant of society and seek to rid themselves of it. This is the sphere of idealism.
Many proclaimed idealists have existed throughout time. Extreme idealists are often labeled as “too idealistic” or such, but this is more appropriately named as solipsism. These men can be seen as extremely devout to their own personal ideals and values, though bordering on the point of delusion. This is a thin line that all humans can cross if one’s ideals consume the mind.
The story of Timothy Treadwell, though tragic, is a prime example of this phenomena; a man who vowed to live among, study and protect the grizzly bears of Alaska.
Through video documentation and personal stories we can see how not only did Timothy state that he wished to “mutate” into a bear, but also wished to be far and removed from society as well. The longer his mission ran, the more removed he became from himself and from society. He began to dwell within his own mind; enough to the point where his personal safety and survival was no longer a concern. In the end, on his 13th mission to Alaska, he was eaten by a bear.
Some will say that this man lived his dream, and that dying while doing so is not tragic but courageous and righteous. Others look upon this story as that of a man that simply lost himself and died living foolishly. Personally, I have respect for the man in what he was trying to accomplish, but there is a fine line between doing what you think is right, and becoming lost within the self; within personal ideals. It seemed as though at the end of his life, other people began to matter less and less next to the bears that he loved.
In life all beings develop personal ideals, values and a sense of purpose or belonging. Though we must tread carefully in the sphere of idealism, especially when we remove ourselves from society. We must remember that we humans are social creatures by nature. Without the contact of others we can lose ourselves in our own mind. We can forget the heart and soul. We can become our only friend. We no longer have objection, rules or boundaries.
A man may have a “cause” or he may long for being away from other people, rejecting society, becoming a hermit or the like, but in doing so he becomes careless. He then only cares about himself in this frame of thought, no matter his reasoning. He can then easily become delusional; forgetting that human connections do matter; forgetting his spiritual connection.
We should all remember that being in the world is not the same as being of the world. We can live our lives, maintain values and personal ideals while living among one another. We do not have to let the world dictate our ideals, and we shouldn’t blame the world for them.
We can all live together in harmony with our ideals, so long as we view each other with compassion; remember each other, and remember that life doesn’t revolve around the self.