Realities are more important than ideas
231. There also exists a constant tension be-
tween ideas and realities. Realities simply are,
whereas ideas are worked out. There has to be
continuous dialogue between the two, lest ideas
become detached from realities. It is dangerous
to dwell in the realm of words alone, of imag-
es and rhetoric. So a third principle comes into
play: realities are greater than ideas. This calls for
rejecting the various means of masking reality:
angelic forms of purity, dictatorships of relativ-
ism, empty rhetoric, objectives more ideal than
real, brands of ahistorical fundamentalism, eth-
ical systems bereft of kindness, intellectual dis-
course bereft of wisdom.
232. Ideas – conceptual elaborations – are
at the service of communication, understand-
ing, and praxis. Ideas disconnected from real-
ities give rise to ineffectual forms of idealism
and nominalism, capable at most of classifying
and defining, but certainly not calling to action.
What calls us to action are realities illuminated
by reason. Formal nominalism has to give way
to harmonious objectivity. Otherwise, the truth
is manipulated, cosmetics take the place of real
care for our bodies.
We have politicians – and
even religious leaders – who wonder why people
do not understand and follow them, since their
proposals are so clear and logical. Perhaps it is
 Cf. P
, 465.
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