What happens when a group of people believe that black slaves in American should be free?
What happens when a group of politician’s and people in power believe that Jewish people are bad?
What happens when colonial powers taxing salt becomes one tax too much?
What happens when people believe that animals have the same feelings and emotions as humans do?
What happens when money becomes the only thing you need to survive in this world?
These questions can helps us think about many of the worlds created when a group of people believe in the same dream. Much of our society is made up of collective dreams. They intertwine themselves amongst each other in complex ways that is beyond my understanding. Each generation inherits the collective dreams of the generation before them, and the new generation fights to change those dreams to serve and function better. Sometimes the collective dreams are harmonious and sometimes they are not.
An example of one dream is the dream of concern for the environment. As children we were brought up in schools to recycle and care for the earth, by paying attention to garbage and plant trees and have knowledge about air pollution, animal extinction. This dream is so important, we are supposed to protect the earth for future generations. At the same time there is another dream of consumerism. The desire to purchase cheap beautiful things conveniently is in conflict with the dream for the environment. There are people who will make a great amount of money of the second dream. And since the dream of money is very important it creates an imbalance in the way those two dreams manifest themselves in the world around us.
Collective dreams also include all of the hero’s we look up to. Martin luther king, had a dream for freedom, a dream that skin colour would not affect your position in this life. The people he had following him were powerful hooked into this dream. Ghandi also fought for the dream of freedom. Hitler also had a dream and sadly his dream found the right environment to grow. The desire to make the world a better place, good intentions, does not always end in a better world. History shows us that things can go terribly wrong.
Positive collective dreams are beautiful things. It is this understanding of how to build these dreams in large groups that should be part of our education. Simple acts of respecting student voice model the kind of environment needed for movements.