Dreamed In and Out of Existence

           When I was small, like many children, I often ran into my parent’s bedroom when I had nightmares. To most children, the power of one’s parents to protect him or her from danger can seem limitless; I, however, was not like most children. At a very young age I was acutely aware of the horrible reality that, if the monsters from my dreams should actually appear, I was only buying myself time by having my parents on hand, slowing the monsters down so that I could perhaps make my escape out a window.

           After that I would have to run, as fast as I could, to the next door neighbor’s house, where I’d probably have to feed them to these vicious beasts as well, that is, if I was to have any hope of survival. For, you see, the creatures in my dreams were so terrible and so strong that I knew that no human being who I had ever encountered could possibly stop them, and yet, even at that young age, I had figured out the old adage that one doesn’t have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the slowest runner being chased.

           The reason I bring this up is to draw attention to a single disturbing fact, which is that most people, and not just children, seem rather quick to tell themselves various lies in order to feel safe. This is somewhat excusable among very small children, but when these children grow up, most of them will simply transfer this comforting illusion of their parent’s omnipotence onto some other convenient figure, such as the government, or, if they’re the religious type, onto some sort of mysterious higher power. My point is that people everywhere seem to harbor various illusions about the true extent of the powers that are possessed by others, and this seems to provide them with all the excuse they need to just give up and stay small.

          I don’t believe that this is accidental. Just as our parents comforted us, and themselves, with countless well intentioned lies about how they would always be able to stop anything from harming us, in a similar way the authority of everyone upon whom we rely for protection is founded on our perception of, confidence in, and respect for, the infallibility of their personal power and control. It seems that the only ones who have any hope of seeing the limits of power realistically are those who happen to be much stronger, or much smarter, than the rest of us, or who are fortunate enough to find themselves in possession of great wealth, or worldly authority, but such people have almost nothing to gain, and a lot to lose, by admitting such an awkward truth as this, even to themselves.

           The ego swells very easily with such seductive delusions of grandeur, and although I personally might take comfort in being faster than so many of my fellow travelers, struggling as we all are to stay just a few steps ahead of that proverbial bear, I know that nothing is more empowering than knowing the actual truth about the way things are in this world. After all, if knowing the truth didn’t provide people with an enormous advantage over others, the world wouldn’t be filled with so many malicious and crippling lies, now would it?

           However, dispelling the myth of our infallible protectors not only forces us to do what we must in order to take responsibility for our own survival, but it can also reveal one very exciting fact, which is that many of us are just as qualified to “run things,” if not more so, than those whom we’ve imagined to be “in control.” Each of us has the potential to do just as much as anyone else can, despite the fact that some have been more empowered to reach for that potential than others have.

           I believe that there comes a time in the life of every adult where the true size of things must come into focus, and we must come to see not only others, but ourselves, as we all actually are. For a few deluded souls, this might prove to be a slightly humbling experience, but I’m of the opinion that most people woefully underestimate themselves, as well as the potential scope of their powers. Perhaps this is because so much of what passes for “education” is simply the socialization of the working class and a thinly veiled means of molding people into more manageable forms; in short, a machine for breaking the human spirit.

          A true education, although rare, is an invaluable thing, for only this can, and will, expand the basic scope of what a person may accomplish in this world. For it is only through education that any of us can hope to become the masters of our circumstances, to stand shoulder to shoulder with the most powerful men and women in the world. Real education is a dangerous thing, and, for that reason, it's something that can be very difficult to find.

           When I was a child, I couldn’t imagine anything more dangerous than those terrible monsters who hunted me as I slept, but it wasn’t too long after I accepted the fact that I had to rely on myself for survival that I began to imagine exactly who I would need to become in order to fight back. That was when I learned perhaps my most valuable lesson, which is that when the bear exists only within one’s mind, sometimes all one has to do is just stop running. I soon saw that in our dreams, as well as in life, we can only be what we can imagine ourselves to be.

           As always, I wish you all the luck in the world dreaming yourselves into existence.

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