All the dreams of all the ages

Throughout history, as far as we can tell from ancient literatures and from more recent preliterature societies, humans have dreamed of many of the same magical powers:

Icarus

  • to fly
  • specifically, to fly to the moon
  • to talk with animals and birds and fish
  • to be able to live and breathe underwater
  • to have a magic mirror that lets you see what is happening in distant lands
  • to know the future
  • to go back in time
  • to shrink to the size of a mouse, or grow to a giant
  • to change into a different creature
  • to turn a common substance into gold
  • to turn a large number of small common objects (ants, seeds, teeth) into an army of warriors
  • to heal sickness with a word or a touch
  • to come back from the dead
  • to live forever
  • to climb up and live on the clouds
  • to live in a palace in the sky forever, doing whatever you most enjoy doing.

Some people were said by storytellers to have done these things. Some people claimed to be able to do them. Followers of Jesus thought he rose from the dead, followers of Muhammad thought he went up to Heaven one night, followers of Odin thought that his ravens told him all the doings of the world – and of course many, many religious authorities promise you unverifiable after-death benefits in exchange for a cash contribution in the here-and-now.

But let’s face it: the dreams are cool! We wanted to do these things as kids, and we want to do them still. And better yet: we ARE doing them. Flying, in various ways. Walking on the moon. Looking at distant lands with our “magic mirrors”, whether phones or big-screen TVs.

And we keep working on the rest: trying to talk with dolphins; bringing people back from clinical death; planning for permanent colonies in the sky; and – the big one – trying to figure out how to live forever.

The dreams are the same as the dreams of those old religions. But now we know what we have to do, to make them become reality. (P.S. It involves work, not prayer.)

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4 comments on “All the dreams of all the ages

  1. Faisal says:

    my dream is to be ivisable and go to places without beeing seen.

    • Invisibility is a dream I forgot to mention. But they’re working on it, Faisal!

      CNN reports: “It’s going to a long while before we’re picking up our own personal cloaking devices at the local Best Buy. But new research in this field is constantly tackling new, wider bandwidths and experimenting with less cumbersome technology that can be used on larger devices.”

  2. Anonymous says:

    We are a busier culture than any in the history of the world, and are seemingly becoming less joyful. We even have amazing conveniences that get us places faster, multi-task, can bang out a meal faster, can do almost anything online that used to take up time like bank, shop, meet someone, etc. We are the most stressed out group ever — with more conveniences and less time. And what you are proposing is to work harder, and keep our foot on the gas to achieve the life we strive for. We are the fattest, most medicated, and most violent culture there has ever been. I don’t see how working harder makes it all work together. This is the works of our hand that has gotten into this predicament. A life void of God. No time for God, no desire for God. We will work out our own salvation. And look at us.

    • Sorry, I’m not fat, or medicated, or violent, or stressed out, or unhappy. Once you drop all the God issues, a lot of things become more relaxed and more logical. I’m sorry if you see the world as an unhappy place.

      Happiness varies by country, of course. The happiest countries are also the most secular – Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, etc.

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