Reality, Ideally, and Productivity: Oughtness and Isness.
"I refuse to accept the idea that the ‘isness’ of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal ‘oughtness’ that forever confronts him." -Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. used the words in his 10 Dec, 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.
In many texts, these words are used in a religious sense. Most use isness to describe the evil state of man. And oughtness is used to describe the state that God expects mankind to live up to.
Dr. King’s use was both of religious and social in context. His use of these words were intended to inspire, but also to appeal to the human desire to be righteous.
My use of the words is far less religious and completely less profound way than Dr. King. I use them in the context of individual and/or social productivity. You can choose either, as my context can applies to both.
The words meanings are contradictive and supportive to and of each other. They represent the way things are versus the way we would like them to be. Basically, it’s reality and ideally. In relation to these words, I think there are four types of people…
The first concerns himself (I’ll use the masculin here) with the the way things are, and his existance in such. He is a realist and accepts things for what they are. It’s not that he doesn’t or wouldn’t want to improve upon his current situation, he just accepts things for what they are… good or bad, no matter. He is very much a "doer" and not as apt to be a "thinker". He is typically productive, responsible, and a problem solver. He simply does the best he can with what he’s got.
The second, a staunch idealist, is focused on the way things should be. He wants and wishes for change. He uses words like hope, wish and maybe. There are alot of "what ifs", "in the futures", and "one days" type of statements in his vocabulary. He doesn’t delineate between what is acceptable with the status quo. He believes that everything in his surroundings and situation needs to be improved, and therefore changed. This fella spends lots of time creating ideals and seeks a utopia. He has a difficult timed considering the reality of what he is trying change. His process, or lack thereof, doesn’t create a realistic order to approach and efect said change. He has all the answers, but no way to implement them. He is usually not very productive.
The third type, considers both (knowingly or not) and naturally looks for ways to improve his current isness and move towards the percieved betterment of oughtness. He is very productive in that he’s aware of the current situation, its good, its bad, its problems and most of all, its solutions. By specifically and accurately identifying what facets of his situtation are acceptable, good, and which are not, he has created an environment set for successful productivity.
The fourth, and last, is uncaring and possibly even unaware of either. He has no motivation to improve on his current state. He is, by nature, content with mediocracy and seeks to only get by. When amongst a group, he just "goes with the flow" and allows others to lead him. Productivity elludes him.
Which are you? Which would you like be? Like everything in life, your mindset will dictate.
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us." – Emerson