Does everybody dream?

I’m sitting here in the back of the MOSAIC auditorium on the third day of the Mosaic Leadership experience [Origins/ Ethos]. Here’s a photo from where I sit.


The topic is Erwin’s new book, Soul Cravings. On the subject of “Destiny” and “Dreaming” one of the panelists has suggested that the poor in the third world do not “have the luxury” of dreaming because they’re preoccupied with surviving.

Does this sit well with you? What do you think?


12 responses to “Does everybody dream?”

  1. tony sheng Avatar

    this does not sit well with me.

    however, i think the ‘poor’ indeed do still dream. they dream of bigger lives, they dream of deep relationships, they dream of vast futures for their children.

    and though i haven’t spent a lot of the right kind of time among the poor so i might be very wrong , those that i have met in third world countries don’t even realize they are ‘poor’. some of it could be pure semantics.

  2. Mike Edwards Avatar

    Perhaps their dreams take on a different context, but dreaming seems to be human, not first world.

  3. jpo Avatar

    It seems to oversimplify the complex nature of the soul on the basis of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. On the one hand, the missionary mantra “Hungry bellies have no ears” seems to ring true. Our physical needs as humans, including survival, are essential. However, this seems to promote the idea that people fighting for survival cannot/will not dream.

    People in the 2/3 world have dreams. It is not about “having the luxury.” It is about being human. Dreams are present, even in the midst of a fight for survival. In their absence, the desire to survive would not exist.

  4. Brian Kruckenberg Avatar

    In John Eldridge’s book, “The Journey of Desire” Eldridge recalls a conversation with a friend in which the friend states, “John, not everyone longs, or dreams, like you.” Eldridge replied, “maybe not, but everyone should.”

    God placed eternity on our hearts. (Ecc. 3:11) The desire for something larger than ourselves is a part of being human. To stop dreaming is to cease being human.

  5. Chris Martin Avatar

    This does sit well with me. But I would ask what this speaker means by dream. Does he or she mean what happens at night while one is asleep, or aspirations for something different or better from what is currently happening in one’s life.
    I am nor sure for the former, but for the latter, I know that people in third world countries, who may or may not be living day to day, are certainly preoccupied with their own personal survival to bother with dreams of what could be in the future.
    For example, I was in Nicaragua a few years ago, and I saw people who were living in a city dump fending for themselves and scrounging to find food every day. They had no idea about how to raise their children, let alone hold them and feed them, let alone dream that they could remove themselves from said environment.
    It may be hard to dream about what could be when what is is hell.

  6. robert gelinas Avatar

    As a formerly poor and one who has spent much time with with 3rd world poor…we dream, they dream…the danger is when nihilism sets in and the dreams are but silly fantasies.

  7. Alex Avatar

    Tony…thanks. you’re right. it could just be a rhetorical device.

    Mike and JPO…totally agree. dreaming is human.

    Brian…wow. that sounds exactly like a conversation i had with erwin. i agree. everyone can dream.

    Chris… yes. dreams and dreamers can be crushed.

    Robert…interesting. so maybe it is the affluent in the west who are in danger of losing the humanity to dream.

  8. James Petticrew Avatar
    James Petticrew

    This whole debate makes me think about Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs (“m’s_hierarchy_of_needs)
    a which sort of states that until our need for basic survival is met we won’t be able to have desires for self-fulfillment etc Not sure where I stand on the issue, maybe it depends on the level of poverty. If it is absolute poverty maybe finding food for the day is as much of a dream as you can have.
    However, I think about the concentration camp survivors who said that the Nazis could strip them of everything but their dreams, even facing a daily battle for survival, many of these people continued to dream of a destiny beyond the wire. Indeed it has been strongly argued that many survived when others died in despair because they dreamed.
    Also didn’t Marxism become such a potent force because it gave the poor a dream of a more equitable society? My study of church history also suggests that the Kingdom of God was a vision which captivated the poor of the Roman Empire.

  9. Alex Avatar

    Exactly my first instinct, James. My thoughts went to Victor Frankl and his descriptions of why some were able to survive the concentration camps. No doubt some people do lose their capacity or will to dream. these become the living dead -whether rich or poor. But I doubt that this hell on earth is reserved only for the poor.

  10. James Petticrew Avatar
    James Petticrew

    We are living in pretty middle class area and Allan is playing rugby at one of the big rugby clubs in the city, most of the parents of his team mates and friends from the area are the success stories of Edinburgh, lawyers, bankers, etc, etc. They live in nice houses in a beautiful city, drive nice cars and go on frequent exotic holidays. Yet I wondering if they dream? I mean beyond aspiring to having, the biggest, latest most chic. I wonder if they dream of changing the world or are just obsessed with changing their wardrobe, decoration and furniture. Maybe great wealth can rob of us of the power to dream as well as great poverty?

  11. Kurt Avatar

    The less you have, the more you dream – as long as their is opportunity…

  12. The Center for Self-Actualization Avatar

    I agree with what others have said before me. First, we must define “dream”. My response is to assert that all humans dream both in the REM and hope sense, to varying degrees. On the latter, our dreams may differ tremendously accourding to many factors, including opportunity, but without dreams, without hope, we can not be fully human!

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