Thursday, 11 August 2022

Best to filter out those bad dreams

I RECEIVED six emails from the International Monetary Fund this morning, offering me wealth beyond my wildest dreams.

There were another half-dozen or so from lawyers/attorneys/bank officials telling of bequests from hitherto unknown friends and relatives — I was unaware that the Millington tribe had gone forth and multiplied in several African and Asian countries!

To make sure we remain prolific, there were also several offers of cheap “medication” but we won’t pursue that.

The IT-aware among you will rightly conclude that I need a better spam-filter on my system.

These spammers are, they think, chasing my dreams (wealth beyond avarice, stallion-like virility and physical wellbeing). And, of course, their efforts seem pathetic to anyone with even a morsel of worldly wisdom.

But like all dream-chasers (advertisers, publicists, politicians, writers, poets, priests, pastors and, of course, Richard Dawkins) they are also dream-shapers. They want you and I to desire and dream about what they have to sell. That is not in itself a bad thing, just a fact of life. But it bears watching.

Reading Terry Pratchett’s book Making Money I came across the following. It’s a revelation by the main character, con-man-gone-straight-ish Moist von Lipwig, who has been placed in charge of the city bank.

“It was a dream, but Moist was good at selling dreams. And if you could sell the dream to enough people, no one dared wake up.”

Many of us responsible grown-ups, who should have known better, are being forced to wake from a dream sold to us by those who could sell the sizzle as well as the sausage, or better, instead of the sausage!

Cheap credit? Easy money? Dreams for which so many, and especially our unemployed young people, are paying and will pay for a long time.

Some dreams are bad dreams. They appeal to the worst in us and not the best, and they have too little contact with reality.

So what are the dreams which shape your life? Truly? Are they good or bad dreams? How would you know?

Christianity is not alone in teaching for many centuries that good dreams lead towards the following qualities and actions.

Holiness — purity and integrity of heart and mind.

Goodness — doing the right thing by your neighbour.

Self-restraint — because you are more than what you eat and drink, more than what you wear, more than who you sleep with.

Worship — seeing God, and a world and a life that is wider and more wonderful than you are, and offering praise and thanksgiving.

Sacrifice — you were given what you have, all of it, wealth and gifts, for a purpose, a purpose which goes beyond yourself!

So have a wonderful, spam-free autumn. And dream on!

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