Some people have a great contempt for dreamers. They pride themselves on their extreme practicality, and are fond of asserting the folly of building castles in the air. Yet every great achievement in the world’s history was first foreshadowed in the mind of the achiever. It was a “castle in the air”, an impalpable dream, vaguely outlined in the imagination before it became a real, substantial structure.
There must be an air castle before there is a real castle. The plan precedes the building. Equally true is it that you must toil for the bricks and mortar that shall go into your castle or it will never come out of the air. All of the inventors, discoverers and other great achiever’s of the past were scoffed at and called ‘idle visionaries and time wasters’. But these same “time wasters” proved to be the most practical of men, the greatest benefactors of the race.
Think of the debt we owe to the celebrated physicist Albert Einstein who came to the extraordinary discovery of the principle of relativity, after having a vivid dream! Elias Howe too, invented the lockstitch sewing machine based on a famous dream that helped him understand the mechanical penetration of the needle.
The very discovery of the country in which American dreams were dreamed and realised in the past, and are being dreamed about and realised today, was the result of years of Christopher Columbus’s dreaming. None but a vigorous, practical dreamer would have persisted in sailing West day after day, week after week, with a crew in mutiny and ready to put him in chains.
All of the inventions and discoveries, improvements and facilities which we are using and enjoying today were dreams to those who lived before us. It was the dream of Professor Bell and his father which opened a new world to the deaf and dumb people. If it was not for Guglielmo Marconi’s dream which made possible long distance radio transmission and radio telegraph system, not only thousands of lives but a great many ships and a vast amount of property would have been lost.
At one time, anyone who talked seriously of mechanical flights in the air was looked at pityingly by the wise ones, and relegated at once to the list of cranks or madmen. Now air travel has become for many almost a daily routine. Think of what the world owes to those great dreamers of democracy in the past. That mighty dream crumbled thrones and toppled monarchies and dictators in the past has gone on increasing in vividness and strength until today mankind is actually talking of a World Republic.
The measure of our usefulness to society is not gauged by what we think or dream or promise, but by what we actually achieve or the things we start or put in the way of accomplishment by those who come after us. The pagan world called the disciples of Jesus Christ, madmen, because they preached and taught a code of ethics that could not be understood by the mass of their contemporaries. Jesus himself was not understood even by the little band of his chosen disciples. Even He was derided as a dreamer, mocked at, spat upon, crucified as a preacher of sedition.
Whether young or old, if you encourage your dreaming propensities, you will tend to bring out new powers which, perhaps, you did not know you possessed. We have a great deal of unused ability, but we don’t know just how to get hold of it. The way to bring this latent ability out is to try in every way possible to make your dreams realities. Nothing that the mind of man can conceive is impossible. The dreamers of today are the achievers of tomorrow.