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The Lost Art of Dreaming

In the midst of a down economy, airline bankruptcies, skyrocketing CEO pay (up 37% for the year), flagging retail sales, ongoing partisanship in government, and what will prove to be a sucktacular election season I'm left wondering where the dreamers have gone. We were once a society of dreamers. Our families came here looking for better lives and endured amazing hardships to secure those lives. Sometimes this came at the cost of sacrificing themselves to the elements and losing other loved ones in the arduous journey.

At one time this country had dreamers. Those dreamers might have dreamed of a more religious society, or less religious society. They may have dreamt of furs or gold or land or cattle. But they're dreams created this nation. I think we've lost that art of dreaming. We're so focused on productivity. We're so focused on doing A to get B that we forget that sometimes we should do things because we can. We forget that doing something because we can has intrinsic merit. While the doing doesn't always end well, it inspires others to do things that may be less exciting, but at the end of the day more impacting.

A blind man climbing Mt. Everest is both stupid and exhilarating. The idea that a man with a disability doing something so difficult, just because he can, inspires others to do less amazing things like taking a leap into a new business venture or moving to take a job that might turn into something great.

Instead we shelve our dreams for practicality. Manned missions to Mars are too dangerous and too expensive. Instead we send robotic missions, which do a great job of furthering science, but a much lesser job of inspiring any sort of excitement from the common person. Our entire space program has turned into remote viewing via drone and it's not inspiring people who might create that next space habitat or FTL drive, or cure for osteoporosis. Science is science, great and at times plodding, churning and stifling. The best science often happens by accident or in unexpected ways; refrigerants become slippery coatings becoming personal body armor, penicillin, or pacemakers. Great things aren't always purposeful cause and effect.

Sometimes they are the crazy ramblings of genuine dreamers and sometimes their happy accidents. Those crazies feed us, incite us, and motivate us to desire more for ourselves. Without them we are directionless drones wandering the plains of productivity, waiting for the next instruction to come.

A friend made a casual remark to me, partly out of frustration, partly out of their own dreaming. It made me think for a moment "why not" and "that would be sooooooo awesome!" But then that dream snatcher stepped in and said "no", "be realistic", "think of..." BLAH, BLAH, BLAH! And that's how dreams die. Instead of attempting to follow a dream through all of the possibilities and WEIGHING against the potential failure. We focus on the risk first and all of the negatives. So instead of coming up with that great new business model, or finding a genuinely happy way of life, we stifle ourselves and our God given creativity in order to maintain some false sense of security and safety.

I say we need to recapture the lost art of dreaming. I think we need to dream big and loud and often and give ourselves the freedom to see where it goes. Whether you want to climb Everest, walk on a Jovian moon, cure cancer, be someone's sister wife, or make a million dollars. Could you end up a frozen statistic on the side of some mountain or asteroid or heart broken or bankrupt? YOU BET! But then there's also that possibility of fame, fortune, and utter and complete happiness. SO DREAM DAMN YOU! DREAM!