Idealism is a philosophical theory that stresses the importance of mental activity. In perception philosophy, it is the opposite of realism, which is the belief that experience is primarily based on the physical universe. In the philosophy of mind, idealism is the opposite of materialism, or the belief that reality is solely based on the material world. Idealism puts more emphasis on consciousness and ideas; therefore, one key aspect of idealism is the will, or "mind over matter." There are consequently many different advantages of idealism.
Idealism causes people to set higher goals for themselves. Because idealists emphasise perception, they allow themselves to conquer their minds by use of their wills. Even if outward circumstances dictate that they cannot do something, they may still attempt to complete seemingly impossible tasks. Setting goals allows people to constantly improve their lives and their work; they won't simply settle for the mundane, but they will continuously strive to excel in what they do.
Idealism has many social advantages. A society is nothing more than a large group of individual minds; if everybody has high ideals and standards, the society as a whole will increase. If individuals are content with where they are, society will not show technological, social and economic growth. Because certain people have a "vision" for their society, they are able to take roles of leadership that allow them to encourage the culture to reach these ideals.
Although it may sound esoteric and ethereal, idealism also causes people to achieve transcendence. Minds centred on outer things will be preoccupied with the basic necessities of life and daily living. On the other hand, minds centred on inner things will think more about future circumstances, the evolution of themselves and their own deaths. By thinking about the deeper things in life, idealists gain a three-dimensional outlook on life. This transcendent view is superior, because it focuses on the overarching issues that are much larger than daily tasks and duties.
Idealism allows people to be more optimistic. The theory puts an incredibly high emphasis on perception; therefore, an idealist can choose to look at his or her life circumstances with an optimistic lens. Events and occurrences can be looked at positively or negatively. Idealism allows people to choose which way they want to look at any given issue. It also enables people to look at issues from both sides to gain a more thorough understanding.