“Follow your dreams,” the voices said. “Don’t be afraid to dream BIG.”
I have always been a dreamer, sleepwalking through the life that happened when I woke up and got out of bed. My life has been one big-dream-step, one in front of another, or to the side, or backwards. I gauge my success on how many steps I am able to take rather than how far I have travelled.
And now I am here, wherever that is.
Here is the place I find myself in at this present moment in time. I have the feeling that I am still alive, because everything is so familiar. A kettle has just boiled itself to switch-off and I don’t think that the other world, Heaven or Hell or Purgatory or Oblivion will have kettles. Kettles seem to be a very mundane thing that other existences would not really bother with. Anyway, water would not need to be boiled in Hell whilst in Heaven one would just sip ambrosia.
Kettles are for tea or coffee and tea and coffee belong in this world.
So, there was this item on the news, talk-radio, that had people being interviewed about their views on children at primary school being asked to turn up for an aspirations’ day dressed as something that they wish to do in life after school. There was a proviso, don’t come as a footballer, a singer, or a You-Tuber. It was felt that these careers were ‘pipe-dreams’ and fairly unachievable for the vast majority of students. They were ‘cop-outs’ for the ‘can’t be bothered’, or ‘false friends’ for those who really should be mastering the basics of knuckling down to their own education.
I noticed a while back that the equilibrium of aspirations had altered.
In my time, you were seen as being good with your brains, good with your hands, or good with your feet and hands. This filtered you into a profession, skilled employment, or sporting endeavours. Some of my mates saw playing in a band as the right route, so they spent much of their time learning to play instruments, doing copies of their favourite bands, then playing small venues; beside winning the pools (old-fashioned lottery) this was as close as they would ever get to stardom. They were intelligent, hardworking, socially adept, and articulate. In truth, any of them could have succeeded at any number of enterprises they put their hearts to. None of them became rock-stars.
Here is the nub of my thinking. A thought-hole has just opened up in front of me and I can’t avoid falling into it. The thought-hole is full of these: ?????????????? What’s this thing about dreams?
Just what constitutes a dream when we are thinking about our futures?
I always wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write books that people would read and that would help me change the world. I didn’t quite know what I wanted to change it into, but I knew what I wanted to change it away from. My dream, my real dream, was to be left alone. I wanted to set up a commune somewhere where the world could not interfere. I wanted to be with people who cared about each other and never entered into bullying or aggressive behaviour. I wanted peace and love (child of the sixties). Now, just when did that stop being considered a dream?
When I grew up and smelled the proverbial.
I became a teacher in order to help change the world. I wanted to assist in building a better place for people to live in. My job was to help young people become decent human beings. Decent people for a decent world. And when I first started that job, I felt that many others wanted to do the same. Nowadays, nobody talks about that ‘hippy-nonsense’. What we do talk about is ambition, personal ambition. What can we expect to get from the world if we do well at school?
What we do get, following wind allowing, is a quick rise up the pay-scale, a decent car (probably German), a grand house, foreign holidays, pretty sustainable healthy appearances in the form of permanent-tans, enough money to not have to worry about money, and the satisfaction that you have done your best and been recognised for it. SIMPLES!
Now, I am looking at what Oscar has to say and I am interpreting those wise words as a warning against the type of selflessness that is overtly altruistic. The selflessness in its purest form becomes the rarest form of selfishness that easily tips over into totalitarianism; dictatorship and repression follow. My daughter hit the nail on the head, or rather into my palms and feet, when she told me that I ought to start my own religion. Strangely, more than once I have considered this. My daughter called my religion, Saint Michael of the Mental. Not so much a religion as a figure-head. So there we have it! I am a narcissist and false believer. I wish to make the world in the image that I think I am made in. My kindness and selflessness is just pretence. I want to make the world good.
Where does my thesis on the ridiculous nature of self-advancement fit into all of this? Perhaps, I ought to be more selfish. Perhaps, I am without knowing it. Perhaps, I should stop trying to help. Perhaps, I should just concentrate on myself and make my dreams come true.