Nirvana fallacy

That’s the name of a documented tendency to negatively compare actual, real, solutions and situations with unrealized, idealized, ones. 

A person can use this fallacy to compare an imaginary, perfect, plan with a realistic alternative. It’s a fallacy because the imaginary plan is imaginary, and will inevitably be plagued by the constraints of reality. The choices here aren’t between feasible solutions; it’s an idealized solution and a feasible one.

It’s important to appreciate the inversion of this, too: even if you pursued the idealized plan, there’s a high probability that it won’t meet your expectations. Perhaps the solution will fall short, Fyre Festival style. Or even if you pursued and got your dream job, there’ll still be parts of it that you really don’t like.

That’s not an excuse against moving towards a better future. Perhaps it’s a case to favor incrementalism and maintenance, as well as to shift our focus to appreciate the people who worked hard to give us the present we have today. 

It may fall (incredibly) short of our ideals, and it’s a far stretch from the past. It could be worse. (My inner architect asks, “Is that the name of another fallacy, though?”)

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