Where have all the dreamers gone?
A now famous study at Yale University discovered that students that spent time imagining how they would like their lives to be, were streets ahead in terms of well-being, commitment to community and financial worth 20 years later.
So, if its the case that taking time to dream influences the way we steer our destiny, can we not influence our collective destiny by imagining how we would like our world to be?
Imagination shouldn’t only be valued in artists and writers and people in the entertainment industry. We all have it, we all need to start using it again to propel us into a beautiful and fulfilling future. Yet we seem to have delegated that job to politicians and forgotten to exercise our own imagination by having big dreams for our world. We need dreams inspiring enough to make us want to rush out into the street and begin the work of making things better for ourselves and our neighbours.
I remember a school assignment given to our RE class when I was 11 years old. We were asked to design our dream house. What if that had been an ongoing assignment that lasted the whole of our school life, stretching our minds to imagine a world in which everyone can find fulfilment and happiness?
Can our world wait till the educational system seismically re-aligns itself to allow kids to stretch their minds in such wild and wonderful ways? I don’t think so. Our world needs dreamers now – to think out of the box, to ask new and exciting questions, to see a way forward beyond climate change to new and beautiful ways of living with each other and our planet.
So here is a challenge for you. Make a cup of tea, stare out of the window and dream of the world as it could be. Any wild and wonderful thing that makes your heart sing and then while the inspiration is coursing through your veins, switch your phone onto video mode and film yourself extolling the loveliness of your imagined Utopia. If you don’t have a phone or camera, ask someone who does, they might like being asked about their big dream for the world . Then share it on social media #DreamsofUtopia and if you email it to firstname.lastname@example.org you can watch the conversation develop as we upload videos to our Peace in the Park website.
What has an annual summer festival got to do with all of this you might ask? Because everyone from the ground up who is involved in this enchanting event in Oxfordshire, from people who serve tea and scan in your ticket to authors, speakers and musicians – all have one thing in common – they all care about creating a world of our dreams. We’d love you to join us for three days in July, so we can all dream together, but more important than that is for as many of us as possible to fire up our imagination and share our visions of Utopia with each other.
Wherever we are from, wherever we are going, we need to make sure our best possible dreams are a guiding light for a world so much better than this.