Friday, October 9, 2015

“To sleep, perchance to Dream” . . . “what dreams may come”

If you guessed these quotes are from the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare, you are right as rain. Actually, they're taken from the famous “To be or not to be . . .” soliloquy from “Hamlet.” The entire soliloquy goes:

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
The Oppressor's wrong, the proud man's Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would Fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy Orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

I am NOT going to interpret that passage for you. I was not and still am not a big fan of Shakespeare. Like everyone, I'm sure, I had to endure a certain amount of required Shakespeare in high school English literature. Of course, throughout the course of my adult life, Shakespeare has periodically reappeared from time to time, either in my career in sound and doing sound design for theatrical performances or in quotes such as this or on public television. I have to admit, this man who lived and created his timeless works some roughly 400 years ago, may be quoted nearly as much as many passages in the Bible.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

While the entire “To be or not to be” soliloquy is pretty heady stuff if you really delve into it and read some of the interpretations of this Early Modern English version, very often, it's only select excerpts we are familiar with. I chose these quotes specifically, because I've been doing some reading and listening on the topic of dreams.

So, what of sleep and dreams? Has anyone ever said to you, “Your living your (the) dream?” What did they mean? What is your dream? What is the dream? How does the “to sleep” element fit into these dreams?

I deeply believe that every human has a desire to be (live) free. That desire ranges from the most simple premises of lifestyle to soaring with the eagles. As I've mentioned before in earlier articles, we are conditioned from our earliest ability to be aware of our surroundings and those other people in our lives. How these other people live, act, behave and maintain their values and personal codes are all imparted on us as we grow and mature through childhood, pre-adolescence, adolescence and adulthood.

This conditioning ultimately has a lot to do with who we eventually become. One of the miracles of life is a thing called genetic coding, the determination of everything hereditary in all organisms including, of course, humans. It's this combination of genes and the coding of our DNA strands that determine precisely who we are at the moment of conception. I'm not going into biology lesson. If you don't understand how this works, you can look it up on the Internet and get an expert explanation.

Interestingly, there is some evidence, although, I'm not sure how proven it is, that between conception and birth of a human being, during the prenatal gestation period, an unborn human may receive certain basic conditioning. Here are a few examples. The kinds of nutrients, liquids and other things the mother introduces into her body can impact the unborn child after birth negatively or positively depending on her choices.

It's thought in many quarters that softly talking to the unborn infant while still in the womb and playing quality music such as classical or soft music with warm, loving emotional content can also influence the infant in a positive way. I'm not an expert on this subject, but it makes sense to me and I don't see how doing positive things like this can harm the unborn tiny human.

After the child leaves the womb and enters the world is when the major conditioning begins. The terms nature, the biological/genetic make up, or nurture, the psychological/emotional conditioning, are commonly used.

The nature part of the human's make up includes the gender, eye color, skin pigmentation, hair color, kind of hair (fine, thick, straight, wavy or curly), body type, eventual size of the adult body and various body parts, intelligence, talents or gifts, temperament, instinctive behavior and similar.

The nurturing conditioning imparts values, societal behavior, utilization of the gifts, talents, intelligence, etc. If you'd like, consider this concept. Nature provides the clay and nurture molds the clay into some kind of unique work of human art.

And this is where the miracle comes to play. Life, conception and birth are miracles in their own right. But, it's what this lump of human “clay” can be molded into after birth that is the real miracle. Even more amazing is how this human clay, not only learns and is conditioned by the parents and the rest of the external conditioning elements in society, but, “to sleep, perchance to dream” is a part of the equation that is truly miraculous. This is where the human clay learns to dream about all the limitless possibilities life presents and synergizes everything it's learned and been conditioned with to create and achieve these dreams .

It's through dreams that everything, both positive and negative, in our world, society, civilization has come about. It's through dreams that the future will unfold. It's through dreams that people create whatever lifestyle they have. And, unfortunately, the converse is, those who don't have dreams, often don't have much of a life.

Perhaps the greatest dream of all is to live free and be able to dream of living any kind of life and lifestyle an individual chooses.

What Dream May Come

This is the ultimate realization of being a fully functional and free human. There is virtually no dream that isn't possible. Sure! We can name all kinds of things we believe are impossible. That is only a temporary state, however.

Humans wanted to fly. They had no wings or feathers to help them accomplish this. Humans are certainly not aerodynamically shaped. But, they invented balloons. After balloons they experimented with gliding. After gliding, some dreamers worked with powered machines, most notable to most people, a couple brothers from Dayton, Ohio, the Wright brothers. Since they proved that what was impossible until that time was possible, we travel around the world at nearly the speed of sound. We have sent men to the moon and brought them back and we have several people living in outer space looking down on us everyday. But, not long ago, that was all an impossible dream.

We communicate around the world with text, sound and live video and . . . without wires. We have defeated all kinds of diseases. We created horseless carriages and in the not too distant future we'll have driverless cars that will be safer than cars with drivers. Someone created a thing called binary code. It was a simple string of 1's and 0's. The 1's represented an “on” condition and the 0's represented an off condition. These on and off conditions controlled a series of circuits, at one time referred to as “flip-flop” circuits. This is the basis for all modern computing devices. Need I say more about how this dream has impacted every life on Earth, directly or indirectly?

It's all about dreams. “To sleep, perchance to dream.” The dreamer is probably the most valuable type of human being there may be. “What dreams may come” is, again, the outlook for the future. We don't have to dream of curing cancer or creating a hover capable car or a new way to create art or music. Some people, in my opinion, are endowed with exceptional gifts and talents allowing them, if they allow themselves to dream big enough, to create these life changing technologies, artistic creations, life saving sciences, etc.

For the rest of us, our dreams may be to live in a beautiful place with people we want to surround ourselves with. The dream may be to write our own masterpiece novel that may never become an New York Times bestseller, but we achieved and realized our dream. Perhaps, the dream is to complete a half marathon or a full marathon. Maybe it's to attend a Passion Play in Oberammergau, or set foot on all seven continents. It doesn't matter what your dream is. It's possible if you dream it strongly enough, decide this is what you want to do in your life and then focus on the goal. It might not happen immediately. But, I'll guarantee it will never happen if you don't have a strong enough dream and goal to achieve it.

So, tonight, as you settle in for the night, remember, “to sleep, perchance to dream” for “what dreams may come” are yours and waiting for you to chase them. 

2 comments:

John Abert said...

I don't often comment, although I read every one of them, but this one seems more relevant this morning. Those of us who think "outside the box" are often looked down upon by those who think they have the perfect life...the "American Dream"...of having steady, lifelong jobs or careers, nice homes, continually climbing net worth, and close loving families. But that all comes at the price of stagnation...living in the same place for a lifetime, looking at the same four walls, other than when away at work, or on the piddly week or two of vacation that American society thinks is normal. Meanwhile, they continue to spend more of their hard-earned money on useless decorative crap that only forces them to work harder to pay for, until such time as they retire and then die within two years of retiring before they really have a chance to enjoy their wealth or see anything else of this wonderful country we live in.

Some of us have never had that "perfect" family atmosphere, nor the guidance of how to make our lives better, because our "mentors" (parents or otherwise) were never capable of that kind of life themselves, nor knew how to love or to pass on their knowledge to others. And finances...forget that. Anything to do with money management was a big secret at home, and wasn't even taught in schools, where it SHOULD be taught. As a result, many of us have had to educate ourselves on our own, by practical life experience. We have made many mistakes along the way, and as a result, our ways of looking at things and doing things often falls outside the "norm" of other people's lives. That doesn't mean it's wrong...only different.

Those who judge others need to think about the proverbial rule of walking in their shoes for awhile. We are all products of our environments, as well as heredity. Under different circumstances, we would all be different than we are today. Unfortunately, some people have no love of learning, and after having started out in less than ideal circumstances, they continue to remain ignorant because they don't seek out an education in the things that fit their true nature. An example would be someone with artistic talent who refuses to study art, when by doing so it could keep them from living a menial lifestyle based on hard labor.

We all have choices to make in life. We can be born into a family of wealth and fame and end up in poverty, or we can be born into poverty and end up with wealth and fame. It all boils down to personal responsibility. No one else is responsible for our own lives except ourselves, and yet I see so many try to blame their circumstances on others. That is one of the largest flaws in society today, and if people would just take responsibility for their own actions, and for preparations for a better future for themselves, it would greatly improve everything about their own personal lives, and with the entire country in general. They have to live their own dreams, not rely on others to build their dreams for them.

Richard Rosen said...

In addition to the material elements of biology and cultural conditioning there is a third and most important component of who we are and who we become. Indwelling each one of us is a divine spirit who preplanned a model career for us. He, along, with guardian angel and other spiritual influences, work diligently, 24/7, to raise our thinking to superconscious or spiritual heights and create material circumstances that direction us into paths needed for our real growth.

It is the desire and effort to align with these loving, nurturing personalities and influences that determines both our terrestrial happiness and, as the bard so eloquently puts it, our future life when we have “shuffled of this mortal coil.”

Think through your life experiences and directioning. Note those that appear to be more than merely material, natural events, that seem to have an other-worldly component to them. We’ve all had them and with a little effort you can recall them for encouragement to cooperate with them more knowledgeably in the future. Is this not a dream worthy to become reality?

Happy trails in the adventure of living to all.