Compare And Contrast Realism And Romanticism

Submitted By MaddiBurroughs
Words: 1594
Pages: 7

The dictionary defines paradox as “a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement that when investigated or explained may prove to be true.” A paradox can be defined on a page, but it cannot be fully understood until it is experienced in real life. Once a paradox is lived, it can then be conquered; this is how the wise person lives. Every day, we all encounter differing ideals and ways of approaching life. Two of the most starkly contrasted are Romanticism and Realism. Romantics are the dreamers, the wild souls, while Realists are the hard, reasoning statues. While Romanticism is usually more appealing than Realism to most people, both ideals can have good and bad repercussions, and it is up to the Christian to know how to live them both out under the paradox of our chief calling. First of all, what is Realism? Realists are our living statues. Cold and hard, steady and firm, heavy. They may be unpleasant to try to move, but one cannot help but stand back and feel the impact of their steadfastness. They are some of the only people who can be hated and respected all at the same time. To them, life is not a passionate, scandalous drama full of glamor, but a story. A story with no plot and no background music and no metaphor or meter. Passion is not anything to take too seriously, and certainly not anything to indulge in or entertain. To see the world through a neutral, objective, level-headed lens is the only way in which problems will be solved, and they must be solved, not cried over. Beauty is not really anything to be taken too seriously, unless it serves a purpose. Pointless beauty and mindless enjoyment are a complete waste of time and money. And perhaps most importantly, one must never stray outside the set boundaries of life. Let life be what it is, don’t try to change it or wish it had more pizzazz. Be who you are told to be, do what you are told to do. Never stretch life too far.
Next, what is Romanticism? Mr. Romanticist will approach life poetically and dramatically. Life is show business, a passionate drama of titanic proportions to them, and to refuse to acknowledge the possibilities of the here and now is a wasted life. Preparing for the future is not a mortal sin, but it is not really essential. Investment in the dry details in the world-- such as law and the sciences-- is the necessary skin of life, but beauty is the meat that lies inside. Art, music, poetry, the underlying rhythm of the universe is the dripping succulence that lies under our skin and so longs to break free from its bounds. Life is more than preparing for retirement in a sunny little village in Arizona. Life is about beauty. Life is for beauty. What do we live for if not to be pleased? Why live if life is unhappy or unfulfilled? Why live a life in which imagination does not run wild and free? There may not be anything else to look forward to, so embrace the now. And perhaps most importantly, no one is without imagination, because imagination rules the world. If one’s life is not lived imaginatively, free from the cramp of silly social rules, you are on your path to freedom-- your path and no one else’s. Don’t be afraid to squeeze every last drop out of life.
Obviously, there are problems with both of these ideals. The Realist may eventually get bored or depressed if he considers the world too deeply and cannot find any possible hope, which it can be easy to do, since he has rejected the importance of beauty. He can be very susceptible to pessimism, and indeed probably is a pessimist already, and if he is not then he soon will be. He is safely tucked away behind his objectively bulletproof glass shell, where no harm can come to him, since he is completely removed from every situation. He only feels when appropriate, but always thinks, which is not always the pleasantest of occupations. He may know, but not fully understand, or even care to. It can be hard for him to be kind and empathetic. He is safe, and likes it that way. The Realist