It can be scary to be a dreamer nowadays. Apart from the doubt, the fear, the people telling you that you can’t do it, there is also the uncertainty that there will be an adequate future for you to see those dreams fulfilled. We are on the verge of ecological Armageddon, and whether or not we manage to avoid it, that future will likely look very different than the world we live in now.
But when I say “dream danger,” I’m not saying that the dreams are in danger, rather we are in danger from dreams. Our dreams are very much influenced by the avarice of our society and our culture. Many of our dreams include not just personal growth, but personal economic growth. We want big houses, nice cars, extravagant parties, and exotic vacations. These dreams fuel the very economic growth that threatens humanity and all life on this planet.
This is not meant to be a censure on dreams and aspirations, but when did personal growth become synonymous with wealth? Why do we think we need exorbitant amounts of stuff (which create exorbitant amounts of waste) to be happy ? Those aren’t the dreams of people, those are the dreams of corporations and the religion of capitalism, and we’ve fallen prey to their marketing schemes.
It’s true, economic growth and capitalism has afforded humanity countless benefits, and we would not be equipped to face our modern problems without it. But I think it is time for us to take a step back and take a critical look at the ideas and institutions that truly govern our lives in the 21st century.