The Lost Art of Dreaming

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We live in dystopian times. Every day in the news, on our social media feeds, talking to our friends and people on the street. If the air around us were seen by some extraterrestrial species, they’d probably say we’re headed for doom. If we aren’t already there.

We need dreamers. We need people willing to stay optimistic. A little respite in these dark hours.

Truth be told, it is a rather harrowing moment in history; we can’t (and shouldn’t) deny that. In the United States, we have a commander-in-chief who commands the ship seemingly with a blindfold covering his eyes, fingers jammed deep in his ears, screaming “la la la” at every issue that arises.

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Other nations aren’t faring much better. England recently elected effectively their own version of Donald Trump: Boris Johnson. Fascism is springing up again in places like Germany and Italy, countries we thought had cast it out or otherwise killed it.

These are the New Age Dark Ages. Things are rough. But things have been worse. Look at any moment in history. Especially ancient history. When people sacrificed human beings, burned down entire villages, and blocked the progress of science, math, and art completely.

Some would argue that’s what we’re doing with the last one, but, I mean, we still have high schools and colleges teaching all three. I think we’re doing alright.

Anyway, back to the dreamers. If you’ve read the posts I’ve made here, you’ll know I write a lot about artists, literary types, and musicians. Especially the power they hold. It’s a simple fact: all three have so much more able to effect change than what they may have been led to believe. Who needs guns and military might when you can inspire hope in the masses?

We’ve been taught violence is the only way to solve things. But it’s simply not true. Otherwise, friends in a crisis would end up with cuts on their faces and things of that nature. And there are an obscene amount of crises going on. Dreamers are the solution to these issues.

Think back to the things you loved as a child. Think long and hard. Go way back. Perhaps it was a cartoon, or a toy, or a piece of music. Something that took you away from the anxiety and fear of a new world you only just started experiencing.

Without a doubt, someone with the passion to dream of innovation created that. Someone who wanted to bring into existence something that never existed before. Or, at least, didn’t exist as you know it now.

Without people willing to dream, and to create, we will live in complete darkness. Hope is a beautiful thing, and a wonderful weapon as well. Those in power don’t want to believe in hope, don’t want it to be there for anyone to grab it as they see fit.

Do these dreamers have to be creative types? Not in the least. These are merely the most obvious examples. But think about scientists, architects, doctors, engineers. Professions that inspire people, yet aren’t necessarily the first anyone considers. Still, these folks had a dream, and it’s this dream that led to choosing these careers and passions.

We need to inspire girls especially to keep the dreamers alive. I’m considering the implications of the aforementioned professions. There have been plenty of scientists and doctors of the female gender, throughout history. And yet, we almost never hear of them, minus perhaps Marie Curie.

This is truly a crime. While it’s easy to tell boys, “You can do what you want, be anything you want to be, in whatever you choose to do,” we don’t tell girls the same thing. At least not as much.

We have a duty to treat both with the same level of dignity and respect. If we expect a new generation of dreamers with the same ambition as those who came before, we can’t patronize them and treat them as anything less than how we would wish to be treated.

Ultimately, it will pay off. By being better humans to them, they will treat us better than we could expect. And as we treat them with the kindness that should be automatic and a given, in turn, they will dream bigger – not afraid to take risks or aim higher in the pursuit of that dream.

We need imagination; we need people willing to dream. The time for people willing to go just a bit further to do something awe-inspiring is long overdue, and I’m excited to see where the years might take us. As long as we work to foster the ones who could make this possible, I doubt we’ll be disappointed.

By Stephanie Knar

Stephanie Knarr recently moved to Pittsburgh, PA from the Harrisburg, PA area. Her writing appears in Harrisburg's local magazine, The Burg, and her work will soon appear in Unwinnable and Five:2:One. Her favourite drink is RC Cola, and her favourite band is probably Animal Collective.

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