Monday, May 19, 2008

Lin Yutang "On Dreams"

Mr. Lin Yutang continues to amaze me. Here are some quotes from his book, The Importance of Living, in the chapter, "On Dreams."

"Perhaps all philosophy began with a sense of boredom. Anyway it is characteristic of humans to have a sad, vague and wistful longing for an ideal."

"The private dreams of being a corporal, the corporal dreams of being a captain, and the captain dreams of being a major or colonel."

"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."

"Everybody wants to be somebody so long as that somebody is not himself."

"The greater the imaginative power of a man, the more perpetually he is dissatisfied."

"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."

"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 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."

"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'."

"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 sunlight. Dreams are very real things."

From "On Dreams" in The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang
(bold mine)

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