I read a very interesting article here, this morning: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/07/25-4.
While it was specifically about dreams related to changing the world, I think it makes a valid point about all dreams, especially dreams about future artistic creations or art in the service of changing the world. The point that struck me was how we’ve become reluctant to articulate our dreams, as if we should be ashamed and embarrassed about them. We’ve bowed to the criticism that our dreams are facile and unrealistic. Well of course they’re unrealistic. They’re imaginings about a reality different to the current reality. Our dreams are about a reality we want to bring into existence. Saying that dreams are unrealistic, as if that is a bad thing is to miss the point entirely. Reality sucks. Our dreams are of a better reality. The more unrealistic, the better, in my opinion.
Unrealistic doesn’t mean unachievable. It just means that it is markedly different to now. We have our current reality, or the reality that is pre-packaged and fed to us by rich and powerful people, for their own benefit, which we are supposed to believe in whole heartedly. The alternative is an unreality, which might one day be a perfectly good reality, but we aren’t there yet.
Millions of people, every day, believe they are acting wholly rationally within the bounds of reality, but they fail to appreciate that the current framework of reality is a lunatic framework, which threatens our very survival. We perpetuate practices and arbitrary decisions that imperil us all. Conserving it or working within its bounds is to accept or ignore the insanity of the current reality. Being rational in an insane asylum doesn’t help.
So, I think we should articulate our dreams. They pull us toward a better future. They recognise the often severe limitations of reality and begin the process of innovating and of imagining improvements. They give lie to the opinion that there is no alternative and that the current reality is the least bad of all realities. How can that statement be supported, when there are infinite future realities, most of which haven’t even been dreamt up, let alone articulated yet? The current reality might be the least worst reality conceived so far, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something better. There’s probably something much better.
So what is my dream? Shouldn’t I take this opportunity to articulate mine?
I dream of a future where we have the courage to sincerely and unconditionally love one another, as human beings. I dream about a world that doesn’t resort to war, at the drop of a hat, in order to profit the financiers of war. I want people to not be manipulated, spied upon, preyed upon for profit, lied to or have their trust betrayed, in order for others to concentrate wealth around themselves. I dream of an end to the daily frenzy and time serving at dead end jobs, just to earn the currency that is kept artificially and arbitrarily scarce, for the benefit of a very small few that issue the stuff. I don’t want anyone to miss the key moments in their children’s lives, because they’re working overtime or travelling on business. I’d like to live in a world where creative expression and fulfilment are not only possible, but the default condition. I’d like the power of corporations to be curtailed and for people to learn to govern themselves, without the need for resort to state violence to keep everybody in line. In fact, I’d like an end to violence of all forms, because violence solves nothing and just leads to more violence. We’ve had enough violence, at an industrial scale.
I’d like to see an end to the poisoning and degrading of our food, water, air, minds and bodies for profit, under the guise of some noble cause to achieve population control and reduction. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s just bigotry and greed in disguise. I’d like people to be educated and learn to live without their bloody and brutal superstitions. Those haven’t served us well. As educated humans, I would hope that we learn not to breed for the sake of it, but learn to maintain the population gently, not through murder and starvation. I’d like to encourage innovation and new ideas of all types, while keeping the best of the old, so that we begin to think our way out of our challenges.
I want an Internet that isn’t a tool of intimidation and control, through dragnet surveillance, but which is a place of learning, communication, collaboration and creative expression. I want to see ideas exchanged freely, without prejudice and narrow mindedness. I want to see an end to nationalism, national boundaries and triumphalism. We’re all on this little rock, travelling through space, together and it’s the only one we’ve got. Drawing lines on it and then fighting over which side of the lines we live on is absurd. I’d like people to be as kind to animals as they are to humans and for them to be extremely kind to each other.
I really want people to feel good about themselves, to know that they have agency and power, that they are amazing and remarkable just because they live and to have the confidence to act with grace and delicacy in all their interactions and endeavours. I don’t want advertisers to snipe at them continually, making people feel inadequate, stupid, powerless or inferior, just so that somebody can sell them something. It’s not a good enough reason to inflict such psychological damage. I want an end to rankism. I’d like to see fairness, equality of opportunity, an end to the extreme concentration of wealth and power and a more equitable distribution of land. Above all, I’d like people to stop competing with each other to the death, like dogs eating dogs, and learn to collaborate and cooperate. The competition was set up to keep us busy, while monopolists enjoyed the real spoils. Shouldn’t we be awake to that, by now?
Above all, I’d like to live in a world where exploitable weaknesses are seen for what they really are – remarkable strengths, which require real courage to hold onto, in a world that has been configured to take advantage of every one of our finer qualities. Altruism and love are not for the foolish. They’re for the bravest souls among us. You shouldn’t have to be brave to be a decent human being.
In my dream, the world is full of beauty and beautiful things and people are unafraid of exploring, seeking, experimenting and finding. They make things of lasting value and quality, rather than produce for the sake of financial turnover, ultimately filling toxic dumps with almost serviceable but broken things, which were under-designed deliberately to be obsolescent on purpose. I’d like our food to nourish us, our water to purify us, our air to invigorate us, our soil to sustain us and our bodies to be temples with many worshippers.
Sounds mad and embarrassing, doesn’t it? To some eyes, it looks hopelessly unreachable, but is it really? If we have the will and a common conception of what a better future looks like, can’t we mobilise to bring it about? We have the numbers. Won’t even a partial realisation of such dreams be an improvement on our current reality? In any case, isn’t now the time to start articulating our dreams and seeing what we agree upon? Shouldn’t we now see the current framework of reality as totally deficient and unfit for future purpose and begin redesigning reality to work better for all?
What’s your dream?