|Source: Creative Commons|
Many social leaders began with very specific dreams. For example, many of us can recite Martin Luther King Jr's famous four words: "I have a dream." King went on to describe his dream of equality vividly. He described the state of Mississippi as becoming an "oasis of freedom and justice." He dreamt that children would one day "not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character."
Others, such as Aung San Suu Kyi, keep their dreams alive. "Freedom and democracy are dreams you never give up" she declared.
Then there are the dreamers that get us to ask questions. Who can forget the words of John F Kennedy when speaking to the Irish Parliament in June 1963:
"There are those that look at things the way they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask - why not?"Admittedly, Kennedy was paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw (in his play Back to Methuselah), but his dream inspired many and continues to do so. His younger brother, Robert F Kennedy, repeated the dream in his 1968 campaign for the Presidential nomination.
It has also been said (by Carl Sandburg) that nothing would ever happen if it hadn't first been dreamt by someone. Furthermore, Black Elk (a famous Sioux holy man) suggested that "sometimes dreams are wiser than waking."
Today, more than ever, we need some wise dreams. We need dreamers to dream them. We also need realists. Perhaps, as the US politician Paul Wellstone proposed "sometimes the only realists are the dreamers."
Then we may wake up to a world similar to the one that John Lennon imagined.
"I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one."