I’m sick of following my dreams. I’m just going to ask them where they’re going and hook up with them later.
– Mitch Hedberg, stand-up comicGood line. Seems like one you would laugh at then throw away. Let’s look closer.
“I’m sick of following my dreams.” If you take the words literally, he has followed something but doesn’t know what the destination is. Without knowing the objective or goal of a project, it would be hard to commit to it.
Imagine someone dreaming about peace in the world. Something many people wish for, but don’t take seriously. They don’t take it seriously because they have no idea how peace could be accomplished. They might take some initiatives, such as attending a seminar or being part of a demonstration for peace, but these activities are usually without goals or objectives (other than to advance the careers or reputations of the organizers).
It wouldn’t take long or participation in many events for peace before most people would realize that it’s a wish without a goal or even a plan to achieve it.
What would peace in the world look like? Surely genocide such as we have seen all too often in the past century would be a thing of the past. War might be forbidden, by international decree, with intervention by the United Nations (an independent security force) or some future version of NATO being a requirement where two or more parties seemed unwilling or unable to participate in dialogue.
Compared to today, Iraq was peaceful before the fall of Saddam and Afghanistan was at peace before the fall of the Taliban. Would rule by an iron-fisted theocracy be acceptable, or a dictatorship where one culture dominated others within the same country be tolerated?
Looking closer to home (for those of us not in war zones), would pharmaceutical companies still be able to control medical studies and sway democratic governments to make people believe that living unhealthy lifestyles and taking drugs to try to fix what we broke ourselves be allowed to continue?
Most health authorities with a conscience agree that too many people live unhealthy lifestyles that cause them to contract cancer, diabetes and dozens of other afflictions, resulting in their deaths much earlier than the average. Would democratic governments in peacetime fund and promote the results of fair studies so that everyone would know what their bodies need and what kinds of activities would compromise their health?
Would oil companies that now make fortunes daily by supplying fuel to fighting militaries settle for simply providing fuel for homes and vehicles and industries that manufacture hundreds of the items most of us use every day?
Would our religions that have continued to gain our attention, devotion and contributions for centuries be able to convert from their violence-supporting ways to teaching us how to live in harmony? No other existing agencies could manage such a mammoth task.
Peace, like many dreams, remains elusive so long as we don’t have a clear idea of what it would mean. We can’t reach an objective if we don’t know what objective to aim for. Most people, I suspect, would have little idea what a world at peace would be like and how life would change for them.
Peace can only be achieved one person at a time, one mind at a time, one life at a time. Until we can feel peace within ourselves, we can never know peace in our families, our communities, our countries or the world.
Peace, like happiness, begins within ourselves. If we look for them from others, we will never achieve them.
Each of us is like a state within one body. Until that state is at peace within itself, it can’t manage to have peaceful relations with other states. Until the state is happy with itself, it will have trouble being happy with others.
Dream what you like, but know the objective you want or you will never achieve it.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how, when and what to teach children so that they can lead peaceful and healthy adult lives, even if their parents grew up on a different kind of environment.
Learn more at http://billallin.com