What I will write here is a partial explanation for why I am such an angry idealist. Not the ‘idealist’ part, because I was always that, but the ‘angry’ part.
The anger comes when goals that you work hard for are undermined by people who claim some sort of moral high ground in doing so. When your painstaking preparation is dismissed as insufficient by people who have absolutely no expertise in the field in question. When the value in what you do is dismissed again by those who are unfamiliar with the field in question and in any case have no notion of value other than monetary and social status.
It comes when the suffering you went through is tossed aside at will by these people, and you can do nothing but rage helplessly, because knowledge is not power — plenty of ignorant shits are in power. When people belittle your hard work on the basis of gender/sex alone, notwithstanding that you went through everything that your counterparts with in supposedly stronger gender/sex did.
When people who claim to be ‘doing things for your own good’ reveal themselves to be using you as know more than a tool for their own self-gratification, for if they gave a shit about your mental well-being would they really choose to teach you that hard work should be compensated for by the complete slaughtering of your dreams by those who do not even attempt to understand those dreams? “I don’t care that you’ve spent 400 hours of your life on this, gone through extremes of mental and physical suffering, including second degree burns all over your palms that I could not have failed to notice; this unknown thing that you want to do gives me the heebie-jeebies, therefore, for your own good, I shall forcibly stop you from doing it.” Certainly breeds respect for these enforcers, doesn’t it? Certainly breeds faith in the correlation between social seniority and wisdom. Perhaps those who lament the lack of “respect for elders” in today’s society would want to reflect more on why that is happening, instead of shunting the blame onto Evil Western Culture?
From that I learned that the most worthy ideals and intentions, the most thorough preparation and justification, can be shot down at will by those who have the power to do so. That by itself isn’t why it is so enraging. It is enraging because the same idiots doing it paint themselves as saints for doing so. Politics as usual, y’know. As it was possibly my first try at anything resembling a coherent long-term effort towards a goal that I cared about, it was not particularly encouraging. As a chronic idealist, I was not discouraged from my ideals, but I was certainly divested of a large portion of any optimism about people I still had left at that point.
It was perhaps one incident, but the pattern kept repeating. On small and large scales. Everywhere, there would be ignorant, arrogant pricks who could not reason to save their life scuppering other people’s dreams for petty reasons. Mostly what in this society would be termed ‘pragmatic’ reasons. And some of the worst offenders are those who are charged with nurturing the future workers of our society. But society is constituted in such a way that these people would be praised, rewarded, for dream-killing. For ambition-killing. ‘That person has his feet on the ground,’ observers would remark approvingly.
Those who keep their feet on the ground for too long eventually become permanently rooted to that one spot. When that becomes your exemplar of a good life, it’s no surprise that society remains in an infantile state. They haven’t even snipped their umbilical cords.