5 Answers

  1. In what context Bismarck said this, I have not yet been able to find out, but I will continue to search. It is quite possible that this was some specific topic related to governance or war. But the question caught on, so I'll try to interpret it in relation to those topics in which I understand:)

    From a psychological point of view, it seems to me that this may be about the danger of certain types of frustration. After all, disappointment is basically a very painful thing. But if we are talking about castles in the air – that is, baseless hopes of a significant scale – then at the moment when these “castles” / hopes collapse, many people also add guilt and, perhaps, anger at themselves (“look, you're dreaming!”) to the negative from the fact of their destruction. But this is when only ruins remain of the “castle”. And the process of destruction itself – until it comes to ruins-will be ignored for a long time and challenged before itself. And by the time the problem has to be recognized, the person will have already managed to break firewood and suffer because of it.

    I recently had a reception with a young man who fell in love with a fellow student three years ago. He conducted mental conversations with her; wrote her romantic messages every day in instant messengers that he did not send; imagined in great detail the scene of the declaration of love and her consent to the marriage proposal; planned out the whole life with her – right up to which universities their children would go to… and suddenly, on a very bad day, he discovers that the object of his love is wearing an engagement ring on his finger and decently so in an interesting position. Then it turned out that the girl had been married for two years, and he was engaged in the construction of castles in the air. And what tormented him most – he said it several times – was that the girl didn't give him the slightest reason to think that there could be anything between them. He didn't want to admit it to himself. The encounter with reality for this young man ended in a suicide attempt, fortunately unsuccessful.

    By the way, in this quote there is a wonderful word: “always” – “Beware of always building castles in the air…”. Still, Bismarck was an extremely intelligent person and understood that people would still do this, and therefore called for doing it at least not “always”.

  2. Castles in the air – unreal fantasies and fixed ideas, the results of propaganda and ideology, which are very firmly seated in the minds of fans of these castles in the air.

    The practical collapse of these castles does not convince fans of their unreality. The persistent construction of the unreal continues.

    Depression is when a castle in the air collapses, pinning down its builder.

  3. It's about building hopes without a foothold or foundation on anything. It is easy to dream about something, but it is difficult to realize it, and in the process of implementation, it turns out that the dream is not realized.
    This is generally about the plans that a person makes for life, for example, about plans for relationships. Such castles are easily built, but very painfully destroyed. And it is sometimes very difficult to completely destroy them, i.e. abandon these plans.

  4. He meant beliefs.

    Beliefs are nothing more than ideas, thoughts, that is, they have no material basis. Therefore, they are easy to form: a competent specialist is able to completely brainwash you in two hours of face-to-face communication…))

    However, once they arise, they become the basis for behavior, that is, for specific actions that generate specific results in the world around them. But the behavior is already fixed at the level of conditioned reflexes,and then it is much more difficult to transform it…

  5. I think that first of all, because of his position, he spoke about some politicians who built such structures as a campaign base.

    There is no need to go far for more or less relevant examples, we have them in the relatively recent past: you know how hard it has been collapsing for almost 30 years. No end in sight.

    If you look from a more psychological point of view (and this saying is very accurate), then the essence of it is that it is very simple to take “credit” from the human consciousness, it itself willingly hands over everything necessary, just to feel the momentary release of dopamine. And the higher the lock, the more painful it will be later to pay high interest rates, when reality is stronger than illusion.

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