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Quotations about Ideals

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NOTE:  Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors.   —ღ Terri, March 2021

The shortest way to realize the ideal
Is to idealize the real.
~Simeon Carter (1824–1911), Poems and Aphorisms: A Woodman's Musings, 1893

When they come downstairs from their Ivory Towers, Idealists are very apt to walk straight into the gutter. ~Logan Pearsall Smith

Ideals are like stars:  you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you reach your destiny. ~Carl Schurz

It's a cruel world: idealistic dreams usually end up costing as much as regular stupidity. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

The soul mounts ever toward nobler things, but seldom is it strong enough to carry along with it the human clay. ~Bernard G. Richard, "Life and the Theories of Life," To‑Morrow, June 1905

When a man forgets his ideals he may hope for happiness, but not till then. ~John Oliver Hobbes

Ideals are absolutes — they are like round holes of perfection into which the square, rough-hewn pegs of reality can never be successfully fitted. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Living up to ideals is like doing everyday work with your Sunday clothes on. ~Ed Howe, as quoted in Laurence J. Peter, Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Time, 1977

Some people never have anything except ideals. ~E.W. Howe

Ideals are often like the sirens of mythology — a seductively attractive lure to shipwreck. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals. The real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong. ~G.K. Chesterton

Mankind aspires to a perfection not permitted by his genetic legacy — nor by the competitive necessities of his circumstance. He is condemned to endless aspiration — a persistent purgatory of failed ideals. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements.  ~Norman Douglas, South Wind

Idealism — so often the blind nursemaid to folly. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Our ideals, like the gods of old, are constantly demanding human sacrifices. ~George Bernard Shaw

We have our ideals now, but when they are mentioned we feel self-conscious and uncomfortable, like a school-boy caught praying. ~Arnold Bennett (1867–1931)

Idealism is absolutism. The pristine version is toxic, and often fatal; to be beneficial, it requires the dilution of balance, and the filter of common sense. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem.  ~John Galsworthy

Materialism is a circumference without a centre.  Idealism is a centre without a circumference.  ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

The ideal is the enemy of the possible. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows. ~David T. Wolf, as quoted by Robert Byrne, in The Third — and Possibly the Best — 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, 1986

Man's idealistic reach often exceeds the reasonable capabilities of his grasp; in this disparity lie the seeds of misery. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Though I believe in liberalism, I find it difficult to believe in liberals.  ~G.K. Chesterton

In the absence of ideal men the market for real men continues active. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

IDEALIST.  One who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. ~H. L. Mencken, A Book of Burlesques, 1920

The steed of idealism should never be given free rein — it invariably heads directly towards the abyss. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

We are accused, furthermore, of having ideals. Well, every dogma has its day, but ideals are eternal. ~Israel Zangwill, speech, 1892 November 13th

When the wings of idealism break, may you land safely on your feet. ~Terri Guillemets, "Age fall," 2009

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