Good group, wrong name.
Recently, while doing an online search, I found a listing for “The Quixote Foundation”…
Their stated mission is: “to see free people in fair societies on a healthy planet.”
I praise their ambition. I just wish they’d chosen another name.
In the novel by Cervantes, Don Quixote believes himself to be a knight-errant on a quest—a fantasy that continually collides with reality.
When Quixote comes upon a row of windmills, he perceives them as hostile giants and attacks. Though he suffers mightily for this mistake, Quixote refuses to wake from his cherished dream.
His stubborn blindness is not unlike the delusion of many modern-day Quixotes. When confronted with a field of giant wind turbines, these Quixotes may perceive a hostile threat…
…a threat to an old way of life, an old way of doing things.
Like the man of La Mancha, these contemporary Quixotes dream the impossible dream: they believe we can continue to do as we’ve done in the past, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Ironically, these Quixotes often see others as quixotic. If you’re trying to solve a new problem using a new way, you’re quixotic, they say. Out of touch with reality.
I say: anyone trying to see the reality of a developing situation and respond appropriately—sanely—is not delusional. Such a person is a realist. A dreamer—but of possible dreams. Necessary dreams. Yes, our possible dreams often face what seem to be impossible obstacles. But if our survival depends on such dreams, we will eventually find ways to make them real.
So, don’t call these dreamers and their dreams “quixotic”. For that matter, don’t call the Quixote Foundation quixotic.
“Quixotic” would better describe those who wish to impose an imagined past on our present—and our future.
Like Don Quixote, they will eventually give up the fight and accept reality—but only after doing much blind damage.
© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Survival: a poetry book