Idealism, psychology and human rights

By Élison Santos, ICP Board Member and 

“If we seem to be idealistic and we are overestimating, overcoming man and looking at him so high, do you know what happens? We promote him to what he really can be” – Viktor Frankl.

Humans are idealistic by nature. Even the most pessimistic person is idealistic because he or she expects the worst scenario, that is, we are always idealizing, conceiving the world in our mind, with our ideas. The Human Rights are, in many ways, a defense of the fundamental needs that allow a person to survive and, in many other ways, a defense of the highest capacities of the human beings that allow them to be their best and in consequence to make the best for the society.

Our relationship with the world and the future takes place in the field of ideas, therefore, in what is ideal. We seek to project ourselves automatically for the near or distant future. Our mind is structured to assume the future based on previous experiences.

When we read a text in our language that is missing some letters, our mind already interprets those words based on the most closely similar words it knows. We project optical illusions to understand what we see in a way that makes sense to us. We idealize to adapt and to make reality more palatable, more within reach of our senses.

This projection and decoding mechanism serves as a defense mechanism, protecting and preserving us from the morbidity of inadequacy. Without projecting itself into the future, be it imminent or long-term, life would simply seem” to be meaningless. If the possibilities of the future are not attractive, the mind takes us to the past in order to seek elements that motivate us to survive in the present. Every movement is self-preservation.

As we wait for what we want, our mind projects possibilities, thousands of them. All of these possibilities are subject to will, to freedom and this, in turn, is subject to conscience. In this way, we  see ourselves before the possibilities and free to execute them. Everything will depend on our conscience.

When a group of people from different countries and cultures are united to create and promote a list of Human Rights, they are not just defending and protecting themselves, but they are creating and promoting a highly evolved way to protect the world and its future. And, as the psychiatrist Dr. Frankl said, maybe, when a child from the most remote place learns that she is as important as any other person in this planet, she will find the strength to outbrave her struggles and become who she really is.

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