The Limits of Idealism

When Good Intentions Go Bad

  • Melvyn L. Fein

Part of the Clinical Sociology: Research and Practice book series (CSRP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Pages 1-21
  3. Pages 45-66
  4. Pages 67-89
  5. Pages 185-207
  6. Pages 209-231
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 233-266

About this book

Introduction

If the truth be known, I am only a partially reformed idealist. In the secret depths of my soul, I still wish to make the world a better place and sometimes fantasize about heroically eradicating its faults. When I encounter its limitations, it is consequently with deep regret and continued surprise. How, I ask myself, is it possible that that which seems so fight can be a chimera? And why, I wonder, aren't people as courageous, smart, or nice as I would like? The pain of realizing these things is sometimes so intense that I want to close my eyes and lose myself in the kinds of daydreams that comforted me as a youngster. One thing is clear, my need to come to grips with my idealism had its origin in a lifetime of naivet6. From the beginning, I wanted to be a "good" person. Often when life was most treacherous, I retreated into a comer from whence I escaped into reveries of moral glory. When I was very young, my faith was in religion. In Hebrew school, I took my lessons seriously and tried to apply them at home. By my teen years, this had been replaced by an allegiance to socialism. In the Brooklyn where I grew up, my teachers and relatives made this seem the natural course. When I reached my twenties, however, and was obliged to confront a series of personal deficiencies, psychotherapy shouldered its way to the fore.

Keywords

Action behavior morality

Authors and affiliations

  • Melvyn L. Fein
    • 1
  1. 1.Kennesaw State UniversityKennesaw

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/b102607
  • Copyright Information Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999
  • Publisher Name Springer, Boston, MA
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-0-306-46211-5
  • Online ISBN 978-0-585-29601-2
  • Series Print ISSN 1566-7847
  • About this book