Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don’t stop dreaming

Most people, always, ever, diminish the relevance of daydreaming. It sometimes appears to be a trait of adulthood. “Stop dreaming kid. Start working.” I remember having decided to get into philosophy just to prove my mom wrong. I’ll keep dreaming and, one day, you’ll see how good it was. She never thought I could make a living out of this. And it’s unfortunate that she’ll never get to see it. But I’m confident enough to think that, towards the end, she did. She happily accepted having lost the daydream match: fulfilling my dreams was not only possible but profitable.

It is with some mix of strangeness and anger, then, that get to see a substantially acute version of my mom’s disbelief among philosophers. They seem to have completely lost the capacity to imagine themselves doing something extraordinary. I don’t know if it is the direct contact they like to have with that dreary monster they call “the job market”. Perhaps it is their utter lack of understanding for the dreams of others, for there is, o there is, oniric envy. Don’t dare to have a dream for all the rest, who don’t want, or don’t care, or don’t have the courage to beget a dream, will crash it.

You’re, thereby, taught to stop thinking of philosophy as your way of freeing yourself from down-to-earth-ing attitudes. Don’t think of yourself as the next great, revolutionary thinker. You’re just daydreaming! I believe this general attitude is pitiful.

There are several reasons why daydreaming about your professional development is a virtue, not a vice. First of all, in the given context, it seems like a revolutionary thing to do. Not only will you be alone daydreaming on your own, but (as I said) you’ll attacked for your imaginative thinking. Second, it takes a lot of courage to daydream in the proper way. For it is not simply a matter of letting your imagination run wild. If you do it only once, you’ll get nowhere. Proper daydreaming is a long-term project. You must turn it into a self-sustaining habit or you’ll loose. Third, it takes a lot of patience and tenacity. Proper daydreaming comes with proper work and proper sacrifice. Proper daydreaming is not just imaginative thinking. Proper daydreaming is the ability to materialize your dreams, your long-conceived dreams, your long-worked-on dreams, your long-suffered-dreams, your long-aspired-for dreams.

Daydreaming will get you the only projects worth motivating you in extraordinary ways. It is, really, the only way you can end up doing something extraordinary. It’s a shame to see that philosophers have become such a down-to-earth group of non-imaginative individuals. It is sad to see philosophy loose its most important strength: its liberating force. I’ll keep fighting. I’ll keep defending my dreams. Even if “philosophy” will now be my foe and not my friend. One day, I’m sure, I will fulfill this other dream, just like I’ve been doing with all the others.

Don’t stop dreaming. Just start working on your dreams.