Life and Dreams

When are dreams made, and why? As we grow up, and even as adults, we are told to “follow our dreams”. Leaving aside the direct conflict this has with the message of “grow up” and “get a stable job”, it brings the question of what these “dreams” we’re supposed to have are, anyway.

It’s not like they come fully formed when we’re born. (Unless they are, which presents an entirely different metaphysical argument I won’t get into.) So at some point in our lives we go from wondering what this whole “world” thing is to having intense thoughts of “oh, I want to do X thing with this world thing.” At least we’re supposed to. That’s what everyone tells me.

Dreams evolve and change, of course. Everyone loves the example of talking about kids wanting to be firemen and princesses and action heroes and dinosaurs when they grow up. Eventually, though, those are supposed to “evolve” into something “realistic”. In a steadfastly capitalistic society, your dream must be practical. Oh, sure, some people get away with being artists or rock stars. But the majority of people think that pursuing those things is unrealistic and is bound for failure. And, for the most part, they’d be right.

Being able to live off your “dreams” is luck of the draw. Or at least highly dependent on whatever early life experience shapes those dreams to begin with. Dream of being a CEO? Also happen to have a combination of upbringing and talent that makes that possible? Good for you! You’re bound for a life of capitalistic success. Dream of spending your life on a fishing boat on a private lake? Well, you’d better shape up and “get real”. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll earn enough money doing something you hate to eventually do something you love.

I think, sometimes, that what dreams we form, or are given, are just another piece of luck that determines our happiness. Dreams can be concrete or abstract, fantastic or realistic. But nobody really questions that people have them. Our culture doesn’t really seem to question that they’re supposed to guide us through life.

I have dreams. Not one of them is feasible. Most are utterly fantastic and impossible. Why is that? Where did they come from? Does it matter?

Would I just be better off with no dreams at all?