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On Dreams



In the kingdom of dreams the fool is king.

t h e s a i n t




What does it mean to give up on a dream?

A dream given up initially and for the most part is a dream unfulfilled. It means stopping short of the destination, perhaps, because the road has become arduous and too difficult to bear. It is also to quit while you are ahead, to cash in on what is left in order to prevent more losses that might lead to bankruptcy. It can likewise be an honest but humbling admission that what you have set as a goal to be reached was too grand and virtually impossible to claim and that it may have been sheer hubris--a tower of Babel--which drove one to reach unreachable heights. And in more ordinary terms, giving up on a dream may be nothing more than simply failure against the dream in that one is rejected or prevented from entering that golden door. To give up on a dream in this sense would likewise mean being dealt with the losing hand and to receive the clear answer of "no" from an other or from the circumstances at play. But in all these cases, the dream as dream remains as it is--whole, complete--while it is the deficiency of the dreamer which leaves the dream unrealized. The dream, the object of my aim: really visible yet without substance.

This is perhaps why dreamers see something in nothing.

But to dream is also to see nothing in everything. The dream is never a necessity. It is in fact the luxury of being able to bypass the already present and real for something other than what is already there. To dream is to see what is real--my current condition and environment--as inadequate and lacking of something. We dream when we feel that this cannot be all that there is; we know in our bones that there is an other true life which is absent. This feeling is absurd for it mostly comes not when we are melancholy but when we are plainly happy. This happiness, more than sadness, gives us a taste of what can be better than this. Contentment is the other face of the dreamer as both take into account what is already there, and there he judges it. What is already there is seen as a whole and by being so its limits are exposed.

It is on these limits where the dreamer and the content man stand. The dreamer looks unto the horizon to see nothing while the content man looks back to see everything.

***

I have had one single dream in my life. I do not know where it came from but it started when I was still young. At the best of times, it has been that single star which shines luminously against the dark skies in order to guide me. But in the worst of times, it is that unforgiving sun which I cannot hide from. The opportunity came pleasantly easy and I instantly felt then that I could not ask for anything more. But as I soon found out, dreams are dreams because they can easily be taken away from you. I surrendered everything that I had in order to keep it; I learned that there was no other way than to give up everything in order to have that one thing. Obsessed by it, it became my pleasure and my pain.

But it broke my back. This is the price that dreamers and fools have to pay.

They said I couldn't do it anymore. Fallen, I said I still could. But they told me to wait. And so I waited.

I saw the dream vanish in the horizon and found myself alone with nothing to show for it.

***

The hardest lesson for the dreamer to learn is not merely the difficulty one has to go through to reach it but how to set the dream aside for a while. We are always told never to give up on a dream and that it can be yours for the taking if you just give it your all. But what that inspirational remark misses is the temporality of dreams. It takes time to reach the dream as it takes time for the fruit to ripen or the flower to blossom. Sheer effort and will cannot always do the trick; it is sometimes not a matter of strength. One has to learn how to wait for clearer skies, kinder seas and favorable conditions. Sometimes one has to wait for the dream to subside from its blinding light until it can be gentler to the eyes and thus be seen more clearly. At other times one has to give up on it in order to finally win it. One will always have time if it is a true dream. And he who knows how to wait will see that even without any effort on his own, the dream may come nearer to reality than expected.

***

What does it mean to fight for a dream?

It would mean persevering on the road even though you may never reach the destination, taking the loss and laying your self at stake, rebuilding the tower piece by piece, waiting by the door until it opens, and not taking 'no' for an answer.

For what would a man be if he didn't have a dream?









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