Ever wondered where dreams come from? Not the kind we have during a fitful night’s sleep but the kind we hold in our heart, and visit like some prized possession we carry an emotional attachment to. The dreams I’m referring to here are those that keep us up at night, occupying our thoughts and hopes for what is yet to come but what we passionately desire to make real and tangible. Where do these thoughts originate, and why?
As young children we are constantly dreaming things up during play and our environment becomes a boundless toy box of possibilities. Our parents have no clue what high strangeness occupies our thoughts and actions. Nothing is impossible or too outlandish for us to conjure up in our make believe world. Adults seem oblivious to what is completely obvious to our developing mind as we pursue our imaginative play.
Then, we enter our school years where our minds are reshaped in the likeness of a uniformity and compliance that is often forced by educators who themselves are products of a strict system of compliance. I’m convinced this compliance is primarily based on the desires of a corporate and political power structure to create a uniform work force and not that of an organic discovery process to nurture creative potential in the individual.
The whole purpose, as I understand it, in creating a public education system in the first place, was to create a literate and compliant citizenry. Yes, it is important that all who are capable learn to read, write and count correctly. These are forms of communication that help individuals function within society and life. They help us fit in and follow accepted standards needed to live together and get along. At least that used to be the purpose. Currently I’m left wondering what the meaning and purpose of many changes in our educational system is actually meant to do.
Any dreams a young person may individually harbor, or those currently taking shape, are molded into conformity through a systemically flawed understanding of what truth is. Why is it systemically flawed? In my opinion it’s because it depends on whose truth is taught that determines social climate and direction. Our organic dreams experienced during a childhood filled with imagination and possibility, are replaced by the prevailing truth of the moment as handed down by those who occupy the seats of power.
It’s been said that the hope of a nation is found in the hearts and minds of its children. What is chosen to fill those hearts and minds with ultimately determines the direction a nation will travel. Are we filling our children’s hearts and minds with hope and the promise of opportunity and prosperity, or something entirely different than the hopes and dreams we ourselves have had the privilege to experience?
This isn’t intended to be a political statement although I’m certain some readers may interpret it as such. It’s a statement of fact as much as I currently perceive it. The human mind develops not only through linear age but with individual experience, intellectual interests, and innate and latent talent as well. I’ve personally experienced this fact being ignored in favor of conformity and uniformity. For too many years the importance of the individual’s interests, talents and intellectual pursuits have taken a back seat to forced conformity to testing standards and a stratification of educational hierarchy fueled by the economic needs of a corporate and political power elite. I believe this has lead us to the current hyper-awareness of legitimate disparities which have now boiled over into a social upheaval threatening tear our constitutional fabric to pieces.
I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to suggest that the hopes and dreams of the individual have quickly been subjugated to the economic and political desires of those who control the emotional hearts and minds of a nation. The American dream is no longer that of the individual citizen. It’s the playground of those who control the attention of a nation’s populace through social media platforms and so called news organizations which are nothing more than mouthpieces for those targeting special interest audiences.
What can we as concerned creative citizens, who believe in a better future for ourselves and our children, do about this? Forgive my outrageous boldness here in suggesting that we lead by example through exercising our rights as creative citizens to not only dream but make dreams come true through positive action. This isn’t just good for us. It’s good for everyone. May I be so bold as to suggest that our promise in this nation comes not from the government but the governed. It’s the hope, hard work and action of each of us that ultimately will make a positive difference. And isn’t that what dreams are made of?
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