The life force that moves through you creates your dreams.
These are the most intimate parts of ourselves – that many of us keep hidden from the world.
Still – we all harbor dreams.
Yet – So few of us live them.
This is mainly down to the selfishness of dreams.
Society only works if it’s members serve others – this is a no brainer – society falls apart if we are not serving one another.
The desire to serve others is known as altruism.
The individual’s dreams are obstacles to altruism – since most individual’s dreams are only concerned with improving the life of the dreamer.
Society often pressures us to give up on our dreams – in favor of service.
But dreams are only built out of ideas.
They are our imaginations suggesting possibilities of what could be.
If we could build better dreams.
Dreams that both serve ourselves – and serve others – like Elon Musk’s dream of cheap space travel.
Then the dreamer becomes useful to Society.
Then it is in the Societies interest to support the Dreamer.
So us individuals have a task – we must try build our dreams into something that both ourselves and Society needs.
We must become dream builders.
And to build a dream we must become familiar with it’s building blocks – ideas.
Welcome to Philosophy
The most useful tool for understanding ideas is the most disrespected discipline in our hilariously practical Society.
This tool is Philosophy.
Philosophy has been an enterprise that has been ticking away for thousands of years within the great cultures of Europe, Asia, and America.
It is often seen by Society as only a distraction from what really matters such as commerce or government.
And the proponents of this disrespect are correct – philosophy is usually so badly misused that it serves no practical purpose.
It becomes nothing more than a distraction from life.
But here we are going to discuss how philosophy can be used as a weapon to improve the quality of our dreams by aligning them with the needs of our Societies.
Modeling the World
As a discipline itself – it was named in ancient Greece – and pretty much meant the study of knowledge.
Greek society gave it’s individuals special roles: Warriors fought, Kings ruled, Slaves worked and Farmers farmed.
The specialty of a philosopher was their ability to collect ideas – they were the origin of what we now call intellectuals.
The philosophers would then decide which ideas were most useful in achieving societies goals.
They did this by analyzing reality.
If we are not looking at reality correctly – then we will base our goals and our actions on incorrect assumptions.
Here we learn the first use for philosophy – creating an accurate model of the world.
If we have an accurate model of world – then our goals and action will be in alignment with reality – and so far more effective and good.
The early Greeks spent most of their time trying to figure this stuff out – and if you find books by characters named Heraclitus and Pythagoras you can exercise this style of thinking.
But by far the most useful philosophy for creating an accurate model of reality is the discipline of Buddhism.
Buddhism encourages you to study your mind.
It’s premise is that you only see reality through the veil of your mind.
The better you know your mind – the more clearly you can perceive reality.
This is the intimate flaw of many philosophers.
They spent their lifetime getting to know ideas – but never once studied their mind.
Buddhism has some simple tools for analyzing your mind.
Only then is the tool of philosophy useful.
After the initial wave of philosophers trying to figure out what reality is there appeared a special character in Ancient Greece called Socrates.
Socrates was much less interested in what reality was – but instead began focusing on what ideas were.
He was someone who keenly studied his mind and saw that it’s currency was ideas – after realizing this he soon began to see that everyone else in his culture was not aware of how their minds worked.
Poets were running around Greece celebrating Beauty – but when Socrates asked them what they meant specifically by Beauty – they would just list off beautiful things. They couldn’t explain the idea clearly.
Politicians were often preaching about Justice – but when Socrates challenged then about what they meant by Justice – they would list off scenarios where criminals got put in prison for wrong doing.
These people couldn’t separate their ideas from the world.
If you can’t separate Justice from your experience of Justice – then what will you do when you are called on to act Justly in a situation that you’ve never been in before?
This was the birth of ideals.
Socrates student – Plato – was so fascinated with this line of thinking that he wondered if it was possible to make a Societies goals ideals like Justice and Beauty instead of Societies goals being determined by power hungry Kings.
Plato was a dreamer who felt that in order to build a better Society – you need to improve the Societies goals.
This is a hugely important point for all us trying to use philosophy because he is correct – whatever ideals a Society is based upon usually determines what that Society will be like to live in.
The ideal of modern Europe and America is Freedom and Equality – this is why there is so much opportunity in our cultures – and why we have such treasures like Free Speech.
Unfortunately the hidden ideal of Wealth is causing tension in our cultures – as it is in opposition to our ideal of Equality.
Plato will teach you how to dream big – but most importantly he will teach you to connect your dreams to what Society needs.
If your dream is to be a graffiti artist – Plato will teach you that achieving your dream will be a benefit for Society if you intention is to make the world are more Beautiful or Inspiring place.
If you would like to study him more I recommend reading his book – the Republic.
Aristotle was one of Plato’s students – and he felt that Plato’s idealism was too delusional.
Aristotle agreed that we needed to dream big – but he felt that having big dreams meant nothing if we did not connect them to reality.
According to Aristotle – the way for a person to connect their dreams to reality is by living out their ideals through their actions.
This is the meaning of morality – knowing what actions are in alignment with our ideals
This makes Aristotle a very useful study for us dreamers wishing to connect our dreams to reality – and marks morality as a bridge that many philosophers do not cross.
Your dreams will mean nothing if you do not start living them – if you do not start forging yourself into something capable of creating them.
Morality is the act of modifying your behavior so that you are in alignment with your ideals.
If you would like to explore Aristotle more I recommend his book called The Nicomachean ethics.
What came after the Greek’s was Jesus.
Christianity dominated Europe for about one thousands years.
This is crucial in understanding where we are as a Society and the challenges we face.
Christianity is a philosophy of altruism – it is concerned entirely with service to others.
The goal of a Christian Society is to act moral – that is in alignment with it’s ideal of altruism – until the end of time when God will return and save them. This pretty much means that Christianity expected it’s Society to wait patiently for a Savior from Earth.
Even though this level of altruism is admirable Christianity was inherently against progress – it often killed off dreamers who were trying to come up with new directions to take Society.
It simply wanted us to wait around for the end.
Around 1500 BC a wave of new ideas arrived in Europe that caused the Renaissance and gave birth to Science – which began the downfall of Christianity.
Science soon proved that a lot of what Christian priests were telling Society was a lie.
The Christian morality – which shamed sex and strength – began to seem like a twisted attempt by Christian priests to get back at life for making them so unattractive and feeble.
Western Society slowly stopped obeying Christian morality and stopped paying attention to Christian ideals – but what came after this collapse of Christianity was a very strange period which we are still living through – Nihilism.
People were so traumatized after finding out that Christian ideals were a lie that they stopped believing in ideals altogether – and so they had no incentive to act with morality – as there was no ideals to align themselves with.
Others felt that this was an extremely dangerous situation – so they began to create new ideals.
Ironically – because so much of Western Culture grew up as Christian – most of these new ideals were actually dressed up versions of Christianity.
Ideals like Equality and Altruism became very popular – but when put into practice with Philosophies like Communism they outright failed – and when put into Philosophies like Capitalism they were completely ignored.
We then got stuck between Nihilism where we had no ideals and Equality which was an ideal that already failed.
A philosopher that predicted this terrible situation was Friedrich Nietzsche.
Nietzsche realized early that Christianity was a moral time bomb waiting to go off.
He felt that as a whole philosophy had failed to address the real problems of Humanity.
Instead of passively waiting for the end of time – we need to keep evolving our ideals – we need to keep dreaming bigger and bigger.
He felt that we stalled the growth of the Human enterprise when we accepted Christianity as our main Philosophy – and the rampant Nihilism of our current age is a result of this.
What he proposes as a solution is of keen interest to any of us dreamers.
He claims that ideals are in fact a good thing – so long as we understand not to accept them as dogma.
To Nietzsche the only way to test an ideal is to bring it into reality through ones personal morality and see does it thrive.
He is the philosopher for all dreamers – because he does not permit us to cautiously withhold our dreams. Nietzsche forces us – like Aristotle – to live our dreams, because if we can create new ideals for our Society and connect them to reality through our actions – we might just be the innovator who carries the whole culture out of Nihilism.
If you would like to read more Nietzsche I recommend starting with On the Genealogy of Morality.
Philosophy has it’s uses.
If you avoid the pitfalls of getting stuck over thinking what is the nature of reality like Pythagoras, move past the delusional idealism of Plato, dodge the dogma of religious morality, and face the problem of Nihilism – you will have a clear understanding of what actually is going on in the world.
Backed up with such knowledge you are fully prepared to build a dream life which you think is what our Society needs.
If you still have doubts – remember there are many other like you.