Friday, May 04, 2012

The price of a dream

What is the price of a dream?

Is it your life? Your hopes? Your time? Your ambition? Six years as an employee of an organization you couldn't care less about; your chance at living a peaceful and quiet life completely blown apart and destroyed? Your prospects and your future cast in iron contract upon a piece of paper, the black ink darker than your soul after society sucks it out, leaving whatever hollow shell there is remaining.

Is it their lives? Their hopes? Their time? Their ambition? The car they hoped for, or that long holiday after years and years of slaving. Their very savings swept off by the wind into another country; another land. Their very life reduced to a pittance just to uphold the nobility of your dream.

The dream coexists with the life, hopes, time and ambition, some would say. It's obvious, isn't it? They work towards it. Yours do, at least. The rest get trampled down in the mud and dust, a pathetic state that couldn't even evoke any mockery from the very connoisseurs of schadenfreude.

What IS this dream, anyway? A culmination of all the hopes and ideals placed onto a single object/location/status/profession? That you must have/be/go/experience it? Do you even have the certainty that this is truly what you want? That you can go through it, say to yourself that you're truly "living the dream" as of this moment up to this moment, and when it's finally over (if it ever does) heave a sigh of relief and say "that changed my life and I will never regret this"?

It's a projection. That's the problem. That's what the dream is - an attempt to foresee yourself in the future. A prediction - or dare I even say it, a calculation - that you, the apparently predictable self that you are, under this circumstance of obtaining said dream, will act in this particular manner and end up in a certain state that could not have been obtained otherwise. This "particular manner" and "state" that you envision, are they even remotely close to the truth that will come your way in the future? Let's say it doesn't. What then? Do you say "Oh dear, I'm sorry. The thing I always worked towards obtaining happened to be useless and pointless for me. I felt nothing about, toward, and from it. It made no difference to my life. I apologize for trampling on things you held dear to you just to attain this utterly pointless thing just because I held it dear to me."

I like to feel it's an obvious answer. I almost certainly know it isn't nearly as obvious just because I haven't been in this scenario myself yet. Even if you trust circumstances to dictate themselves in a certain way, you realize it's difficult to predict how you react in such a circumstance - it's almost paradoxical to predict your future actions while espousing the virtues of free will. You could of course technically predict with absolute certainty, except that would technically be dictatorial prediction. It's pretty much foul play to predict someone's death in the next hour while hiding a knife behind your back.

Say it does. Can you be certain that this state and manner of self come as a result of attaining said dream? Can you be certain that this isn't something that could've been reproduced elsewhere? It's a depressing state to feel this, but dreams aren't unique. People share dreams. Two million people out there dream of being the president - who knows whether you'll even have a hundred who truly appreciate and feel gratitude to have such an honour. Who knows how many who wish to be a billionaire would waste their money and lives away in a mere decade? Dreams come by the dozens. They're cheap. The price to pay for them aren't.

I suppose that's the crux of it all. Attaining your dreams may be priceless, but the act of it rarely is. If yours is, be thankful - your dream is either a marvelous gem or worthless trash. Pray it is the former.

For the rest of us, the experience is not so much a noble journey to the destination of legends but a cold transaction between yourself and the tangible forces of society or the intangible forces of nature around. Your life for this. Forty grand for that. A pound of flesh for your vengeance. His blood for your undoing. And all that you can do is pray that for all it cost, it was worth it.

Is it?

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