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What has idealism got to do with it?

While driving through the streets of Mumbai, with a woman close to my heart, our conversation pushed me into an inevitable association of thought about the idealism that certain people aspire to achieve or claim to have achieved during the course of their lives. This particular friend, for example, mentioned to me a gentleman who claimed to be away from the pursuits of materialism while owning a BMW.

Now, while the achievements and success of this particular man can in no way be doubted by people like me, who are still looking for some success in life, the wide hypocrisy of his words can sure be questioned. Had this individual not been concerned with making an impression on others would he have bought that car? Let us, for a moment ignore the above mentioned possibility as well, even so, was buying that fancy set of wheels not a product of materialism and luxury?

That brings me to a larger question which I wish to address through this post. What does idealism have to do with ambition, or for that matter anything in our lives? How many of us consider morality or idealism to be more important than our career? As a part of this generation which has been pushed into a rigorous process of capitalist pursuits, are we not since childhood propelled to take up lucrative careers? When we do start thinking in terms of material gain and success, the cynics are ready to engage us in a full scale, all guns blazing debate about morality and materialism. Let me defend.

We were given a fairly immoral and difficult world to build our careers in. At a time when we are just setting ourselves up, we are bound to think of ways to reach success. At such times lectures about morality and societal responsibility do not make sense to us. If today some filthy rich Mr. X is donating an amount more than the salary of half of us to charity, it is precisely because he made that much money for himself first. Nobody starves themselves to feed others except a few, who deserve genuine respect and admiration. Pardon me the greatness though, I have no such ambitions. Idealism eludes me, I am a materialist.