I don't know if this is necessarily a reflection on public life, but I feel like it's more the effects of public life on people.
We all have had (or still have) those friends who are a little unsure, and we're a little unsure of their connection with the world around them.
I'm both fortunate and unfortunate enough to have a lot of them.
On one hand, yes they are the most kind and caring people I've ever met, but on the other sometimes their kindness and idealistic view is problematic.
I'm quite unsure of how much I'm in this group, because my idealistic view sometimes skews my view of the world a bit, but then again maybe not.
We all talk about optimism and pessimism, and some people talk about how this affects not only our view, but placement within public life.
Optimists supposedly, statistically speaking, live longer lives. Pessimists conversely, once again statistically speaking,have more realistic views of the world.
What this means about the way we might live our lives as one of the other is interesting to ponder. Would one rather live with rose colored lenses for longer, or would one rather live and see the world for what it is, despite how shorter that time may be.
Granted, there is a bit of a catch with that study. Who defines realistic views of the world? The way that I've heard those concepts voiced often indicates that pessimists are the ones who say this. This makes sense to me also. If you're going to have a darker view of the world, it would seem like a good (observer bias) trade-off to think that you live in the 'real world'.
Since reality is merely a perception of the world around us, pessimists see the world as a dark place, and to them it is. Optimists see the world as a beautiful and wonderful place, and thus it is.
To every event within public life, our views change our interpretations, which indicates that there is no such thing as public life. Sure, some people will share some common conceptions and interpretations, and we can change how others may view the world with convincing arguments. But the point where we change how a person observes the world, that old reality no longer exists. For every new fact we learn, every new aspect of public life, every exception to the rules we create, an entire world is destroyed. This isn't an excuse for us to not change our views of the world, this is more a question of what is real. Is what is real that which most people can interact with in some way? Or is real defined differently for each person?
I believe that things only exist because my definition of real allows for it. If there was no way for me to perceive, view, or experience something, how can it exist? Is the absence of evidence evidence of absence?
These same arguments have been going on for centuries, as long as there have been people who, as far as I know, are the only creatures that wonder why. I feel like that is the true mark of humanity, the question why, but that's another story.
Rather than feeling I need to know what is really real, I've decided that I'm going to have to settle for 'real enough' because that's all that really matters. I see beauty in this fact, that I don't have tow rry about reality as long as I know that reality is real, but the world I live in is real enough. Because of this, I get to choose how I interact with the world.
Some people use this definition and become dangerous social deviants, some become horribly depressed, but I find it comforting. I choose to be a pessimist, I fake optimism, but at the same time I view my pessimism as a reason for public decency. While I worry about my friends, who's view on the world is so out of sync with the popular view on the world, I don't deny that they might be right. However, I do view that since to me they are wrong, it is my duty to be there for them to try and steer them to the safer path.
I will loose sleep, I will loose hope, but I will be there to help them up as long as I can, which is more than I could hope for everyone in the world to do.