Dreamers of the Day

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible." -T.E. Lawrence, "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom"

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Space VIII

There seems to be two types of choices in today’s world: good and bad. Defining a “good” choice from a “bad” choice is usually carried out by the social surroundings of the individual. Whether it is an educational, economical, philosophical, intellectual or theological choice, regardless of the realm in which it was made, the society is the deciding factor. For instance, one who grew up watching football may spend a good amount to travel to a game. For his family and friends, this may seems logical and acceptable. However, to a fan of the visual arts, saying sculptures, this may seen idiotic. Yet, this same gentleman would spend a fortune on a piece of art to display in his office which is mind-boggling to the football fan. Both situations require choices in which the choice maker believed they were making a good choice. In each individual situation, a bad choice would be the opposite of what the choice maker prefers to do. For instance, a football fan would view the purchasing of a sculpture as a bad choice and vice versa. However, an interesting thing will occur if the football fan begins to appreciate the arts. His society around him will change. They will either deem the purchase of artwork “insane” or “preposterous.” Or, they will change as well. A good choice can become bad and vice versa if the choice maker finds a society (whether it is real or not) to accept him.
What happens when someone makes a choice without caring what people think about it? This does occur when a person will stand for something even if it means standing alone. William Wilberforce is an excellent example of this in modern times. Mr. Wilberforce defended the freedom of slavery vehemently until his death. He sought for the freedom when very few others in England saw that it was right. He struggled with rejection and defeat repeatedly, but never gave up. Another British counterpart, T.E. Lawrence echoed this passion. Mr. Lawrence had a dream to set Africa free from the Turkish ruling. The only way one could surprise the great forces was to cross the great desert (the Sahara) and come from behind the city where there was little protection. Many people thought he was crazy. Even Africans doubted him, but he pressed on toward this choice. Both men thought something was good and decided to choose to make everything in their life about that choice. It was not a matter of image or acceptance, but of being. It became something different.

Each men as well as countless other men and women who explored new horizons materially as well as immaterially did have something in common. They had support. They had a society—which was minuscule at times—that believed they were good. There was a hope that allowed them to dream through the unsuccessful stages. This allowed them to continued to make the choice—the good choice—and follow it. These counterparts or friends also challenged them when they were off the path that they were following. When they were making choices counter to the good choice (a bad choice), these friends checked them. One cannot read an autobiography of a great athlete, artist, explorer or leader without discovering a friend, family member or mentor that was supporting them. In choice making, those who are closest will determine the analysis of your choice. If one wonders if their choices are good or bad, then that person should ponder the society they are in.


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