“Idealism” is the state (condition) of mind in which we desire to have the best, the most perfect and the most beautiful of anything. We are, thus, idealistic when we desire or try to live according to our ideals thigh aims) or standards. Often our idealism or idealistic attitude or behavior (when we think or behave idealistically) is far removed from the realities and facts. Idealism is, therefore, opposed to realism or naturalism.
Why do we try to be idealistic?
Firstly, imaginatively (in ideas), we begin to imagine a world free of problems of all kinds to live in it for some time at least. We desire to live and enjoy life in the world of our making.
Secondly, many of us desire to be great ourselves, to do greatly what other thinkers, writers, philosophers, artists, scientists, and politicians have done. We idealize our own powers and capacities, and then imagine that some day we will be as great and famous as others are or have been. Thirdly, idealism is related to social, political and economic aims or the objectives of a nation or country. If, for example, a nation is struggling to win independence from a foreign power or powers, some of its citizens imagine or dream of a rosy independent future and present it to the people in writings and paintings.
Idealism is surely opposed to realism or naturalism (the presentation in art and literature of the world and people as they are). Science and technology, which have given us all the comforts and facilities of modern life like the telephone, TV, motorcar, printing machines, and computers and all the medicines, are the result of supreme science idealism. Graham Bell, Cauchy, Edison, Newton, and Einstein, were among the galaxy of science idealists, the architects of the modern civilization.