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Discontent,   they   say,   is   divine;   I   am   quite   sure   anyway   that   discontent   is   human.

The   monkey   was   the   first   morose   animal,   for   I   have   never   seen   a   truly   sad   face   in

animals   except   in   the   chimpanzee.


And   I   have   often   thought   such   a   one   a   philosopher,   because   sadness   and   thoughtfulness   are   so   akin.   There   is   something   in   such   a   face   which   tells   me   that   he   is   thinking.   Cows   don't   seem   to   think,   at   least   they   don't   seem   to   philosophize,   because   they   look   always   so   contented,   and   while   elephants   may   store   up   a   terrific   anger,   the   eternal   swinging   of   their   trunks   seems   to   take   the   place   of   thinking   and   banish   all   brooding   discontent.   Only   a   monkey   can   look   thoroughly   bored   with   life.   Great   indeed   is   the   monkey   !


Perhaps   after   all   philosophy   began   with   the   sense   of   boredom.   Anyway   it   is   characteristic   of   humans   to   have   a   sad,   vague   and   wistful   longing   for   an   ideal.   Living   in   a   real   world,   man   has   yet   the   capacity   and   tendency   to   dream   of   another   world.   Probably   the   difference   between   man   and   the   monkeys   is   that   the   monkeys   are   merely   bored,   while   man   has   boredom   plus   imagination.   All   of   us   have   the   desire   to   get   out   of   an   old   rut,   and   all   of   us   wish   to   be   something   else,   and   all   of   us   dream.   The   private   dreams   of   being   a   corporal,   the   corporal   dreams   of   being   a   captain,   and   the   captain   dreams   of   being   a   major   or   colonel.   A   colonel,   if   he   is   worth   his   salt,   thinks   nothing   of   being   a   colonel.   In   more   graceful   phraseology,   he   calls   it   merely   an   opportunity   to   serve   his   fellow   men.   And   really   there   is   very   little   else   to   it.   The   plain   fact   is,   Joan   Crawford   thinks   less   of   Joan   Crawford   and   Janet   Gaynor   thinks   less   of   Janet   Gaynor   than   the   world   thinks   of   them.   "   Aren't   you   remarkable   ?"   the   world   says   to   all   the   great,   and   the   great,   if   they   are   truly   great,   always   reply,   "What   is   remarkable   ?"   The   world   is   therefore   pretty   much   like   an   a.   la   carte   restaurant   where   everybody   thinks   the   food   the   next   table   has   ordered   is   so   much   more   inviting   and   delicious   than   his   own.   A   contemporary   Chinese   professor   has   made   the   witticism   that   in   the   matter   of   desirability,   "Wives   are   always   better   if   they   are   others',   while   writing   is   always   better   if   it   is   one's   own.   "   In   this   sense,   therefore,   there   is   no   one   completely   satisfied   in   this   world.   Everyone   wants   to   be   somebody   so   long   as   that   somebody   is   not   himself.


This   human   trait   is   undoubtedly   due   to   our   power   of   imagination   and   our   capacity   for   dreaming.   The   greater   the   imaginative   power   of   a   man,   the   more   perpetually   he   is   dissatisfied.   That   is   why   an   imaginative   child   is   always   a   more   difficult   child;   he   is   more   often   sad   and   morose   like   a   monkey,   than   happy   and   contented   like   a   cow.   Also   divorce   must   necessarily   be   more   common   among   the   idealists   and   the   more   imaginative   people   than   among   the   unimaginative.   The   vision   of   a   desirable   ideal   life   companion   has   an   irresistible   force   which   the   less   imaginative   and   less   idealistic   never   feel.   On   the   whole,   humanity   is   as   much   led   astray   as   led   upwards   by   this   capacity   for   idealism,   but   human   progress   without   this   imaginative   gift   is   itself   unthinkable.



Man,   we   are   told,   has   aspirations.   They   are   very   laudable   things   to   have,   for   aspirations   are   generally   classified   as   noble.   And   why   not?   Whether   as   individuals   or   as   nations,   we   all   dream   and   act   more   or   less   in   accordance   with   our   dreams.   Some   dream   a   little   more   than   others,   as   there   is   a   child   in   every   family   who   dreams   more   and   perhaps   one   who   dreams   less.   And   I   must   confess   to   a   secret   partiality   for   the   one   who   dreams.   Generally   he   is   the   sadder   one,   but   no   matter;   he   is   also   capable   of   greater   joys   and   thrills   and   heights   of   ecstasy.   For   I   think   we   are   constituted   like   a   receiving   set   for   ideas,   as   radio   sets   are   equipped   for   receiving   music   from   the   air.   Some   sets   with   a   finer   response   pick   up   the   finer   short   waves   which   are   lost   to   the   other   sets,   and   why,   of   course,   that   finer,   more   distant   music   is   all   the   more   precious   if   only   because   it   is   less   easily   perceivable.



And   those   dreams   of   our   childhood,   they   are   not   so   unreal   as   we   might   think.   Somehow   they   stay   with   us   throughout   our   life.   That   is   why,   if   I   had   my   choice   of   being   any   one   author   in   the   world,   I   would   be   Hans   Christian   Andersen   rather   than   anybody   else.   To   write   the   story   of   The   Mermaid,   or   to   be   the   Mermaid   ourselves,   thinking   the   Mermaid's   thoughts   and   aspiring   to   be   old   enough   to   come   up   to   the   surface   of   the   water,   is   to   have   felt   one   of   the   keenest   and   most   beautiful   delights   that   humanity   is   capable   of.



And   so,   out   in   an   alley,   up   in   an   attic,   or   down   in   the   barn   or   lying   along   the   waterside,a   child   always   dreams,   and   the   dreams   are   real.   So   Thomas   Edison   dreamed.   So   Robert   Louis   Stevenson   dreamed.   So   Sir   Walter   Scott   dreamed.   All   three   dreamed   in   their   childhood.   And   out   of   the   stuff   of   such   magic   dreams   are   woven   some   of   the   finest   and   most   beautiful   fabrics   we   have   ever   seen.   But   these   dreams   are   also   partaken   of   by   lesser   children.   The   delights   they   get   are   as   great,   if   the   visions   or   contents   of   their   dreams   are   different.   Every   child   has   a   soul   which   yearns,   and   carries   a   longing   on   his   lap   and   goes   to   sleep   with   it,   hoping   to   find   his   dream   come   true   when   he   wakes   up   with   the   mom.   He   tells   no   one   of   these   dreams,   for   these   dreams   are   his   own,   and   for   that   reason   they   are   a   part   of   his   innermost   growing   self.   Some   of   these   children's   dreams   are   clearer   than   others,   and   they   have   a   force   which   compel   their   own   realization;   on   the   other   hand,   with   growing   age,   those   less   clear   dreams   are   forgotten,   and   we   all   live   through   life   trying   to   tell   those   dreams   of   our   childhood,   and   "sometimes   we   die   ere   we   find   the   language.   "


And   so   with   nations,   too.   Nations   have   their   dreams   and   the   memories   of   such   dreams   persist   through   generations   and   centuries.   Some   of   these   are   noble   dreams,   and   others   wicked   and   ignoble.   The   dreams   of   conquest   and   of   being   bigger   and   stronger   than   all   the   others   are   always   bad   dreams,   and   such   nations   always   have   more   to   worry   about   than   others   who   have   more   peaceful   dreams.   But   there   are   other   and   better   dreams,   dreams   of   a   better   world,   dreams   of   peace   and   of   nations   living   at   peace   with   one   another,   and   dreams   of   less   cruelty,   injustice,   and   poverty   and   suffering.   The   bad   dreams   tend   to   destroy   the   good   dreams   of   humanity,   and   there   is   a   struggle   and   a   fight   between   these   good   and   bad   dreams.   People   fight   for   their   dreams   as   much   as   they   fight   for   their   earthly   possessions.   And   so   dreams   descend   from   the   world   of   idle   visions   and   enter   the   world   of   reality,   and   become   a   real   force   in   our   life.   However   vague   they   are,   dreams   have   a   way   of   concealing   themselves   and   leave   us   no   peace   until   they   are   translated   into   reality,   like   seeds   germinating   under   ground,   sure   to   sprout   in   their   search   for   the   sunlight.   Dreams   are   very   real   things.



There   is   also   a   danger   of   our   having   confused   dreams   and   dreams   that   do   not   correspond   to   reality.   For   dreams   are   escapes   also,   and   a   dreamer   often   dreams   to   escape   from   the   present   world,   hardly   knowing   where.   The   Blue   Bird   always   attracts   the   romanticist's   fancy.   There   is   such   a   human   desire   to   be   different   from   what   we   are,   to   get   out   of   the   present   ruts,   that   anything   which   offers   a   change   always   has   a   tremendous   appeal   to   average   humanity.   A   war   is   always   attractive   because   it   offers   a   city   clerk   the   chance   of   donning   a   uniform   and   wearing   puttees   and   a   chance   for   travel   gratis,   while   an   armistice   or   peace   is   always   desirable   after   three   or   four   years   in   the   trenches   because   it   offers   the   soldier   a   chance   to   come   back   home   and   wear   civilian   dress   and   a   scarlet   necktie   once   more.   Some   such   excitement   humanity   evidently   needs,   and   if   war   is   to   be   avoided,   governments   may   just   as   well   recruit   people   between   twenty   and   forty-five   under   a   conscript   system   and   send   them   on   European   tours   to   see   some   exposition   or   other,   once   every   ten   years.   The   British   Government   is   spending   five   billion   pounds   on   its   Rearmament   Program,   a   sum   sufficient   to   send   every   Englishman   on   a   trip   to   the   Riviera.   The   argument   is,   of   course,   that   expenditures   on   war   are   a   necessity   while   travel   is   a   luxury.   I   feel   inclined   to   disagree:   travel   is   a   necessity,   while   war   is   a   luxury.



There   are   other   dreams   too.   Dreams   of   Utopia   and   dreams   of   immortality.   The   dream   of   immortality   is   entirely   human   note   its   universality   although   it   is   vague   like   the   rest,   and   few   people   know   what   they   are   going   to   do   when   they   find   eternity   hanging   on   their   hands.   After   all,   the   desire   for   immortality   is   very   much   akin   to   the   psychology   of   suicide,   its   exact   opposite.   Both   presume   that   the   present   world   is   not   good   enough   for   us.   Why   is   the   present   world   not   good   enough   for   us?   We   should   be   more   surprised   at   the   question   than   at   any   answer   to   the   question   if   we   were   out   on   a   visit   to   the   country   on   a   spring   day.


And   so   with   dreams   of   Utopia   also.   Idealism   is   merely   that   state   of   mind   which   believes   in   another   world   order,   no   matter   what   kind   of   an   order,   so   long   as   it   is   different   from   the   present   one.   The   idealistic   liberal   is   always   one   who   thinks   his   own   country   the   worst   possible   country   and   the   society   in   which   he   lives   the   worst   of   all   possible   forms   of   society.   He   is   still   the   fellow   in   the   a   la   carte   restaurant   who   believes   that   the   next   table's   order   of   dishes   is   better   than   his