Given the same circumstances, pragmatists will strive for a practical goal within reach while idealists will chase rainbows with lofty ideas.
In the coming six weeks leading to a referendum on the new constitution, pragmatists and idealists will battle against one another to sway the public to choose between them.
For the pragmatists, the August 19 referendum is slated to turn a new leaf on democratic rule.
Last year, Thailand was faced with unprecedented social divisions compounded by a political stalemate due to the collapse of the system of checks and balances.
The entire administrative system ground to a halt because the government could no longer rule but clung to its popular mandate as a shield to elude due process.
The political system was ineffective in dealing with the crisis. In this dire situation, the military stepped in and seized power.
True to Thai-style coups, the junta outlined a one-year timetable to rectify the political system and bring about a general election.
The jury is still out on whether military intervention can ever be justified. But the seizure of power happened.
To practical minds, the pressing issue is the restoration of democratic rule and not a trivial argument over the existence of the junta.
The pragmatists see the upcoming referendum as a springboard to restore political normalcy.
Many prominent academics, charter writers and lawmakers view the constitution draft as the roadmap, however imperfect, to get out of a political predicament plaguing the nation for almost two years.
They are making a passionate plea for voters to chart the political future based on practicality rather than harbour false hope.
Idealists beg to differ, of course.
Even though an eclectic band of intellectuals and many political veterans have hoisted their banners in opposition to the junta, the September 19 Network against Coup d'Etat has emerged as the most credible voice in that camp.
Unlike supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra jumping on the anti-coup bandwagon to settle old scores with the junta, the network comprises genuine crusaders who remain ardent opponents of the Thaksin regime.
The network's prominent academics, such as Nidhi Eoseewong of Midnight University and Worachet Pakeerut and Kasian Tejapira from Thammasat University, are anti-Thaksin, anti-coup idealists.
These intellectuals abhor Thaksin's leadership and condemn military intervention. Their world of ideals seems far apart from the real world of politics.
Regardless of innuendoes linking the network's finances to Thaksin supporters, the idealists have raised many convincing arguments about why a referendum should reject the constitution draft.
In recent weeks, the network has been distributing a glossy pamphlet encouraging people to "vote no" in the referendum.
By outlining five logical arguments, the idealists have explained their stand in concise terms with easy-to-understand words.
Firstly, voters are legally sanctioned to reject the new constitution if they so choose.
Secondly, a referendum defeat will impart an invaluable lesson and rule out repeat military intervention.
Third, the rejection of the draft imposed by the junta will advance civil society and ensure sustainable democracy.
Fourth, the general election will not be delayed because the suspended 1997 Constitution can be revived.
Fifth, the charter-writing process will be back in the hands of the people instead of a selected few chosen by the junta.
The arguments to defeat the draft may sound logical but will unlikely come to fruition.
The idealists appear to face the Herculean task of forcing the junta to piece back together the very charter it tore down. Is it possible to turn the clock back to the pre-coup time?
Activism to advance one's ideals is admirable, though acting out of turn may lead to unforeseen consequences.