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Dream on

November 3, 2011

With all the focus on natural gas drilling in the zoning reviews of local municipalities, a couple of other concerns voiced in the public Dream on

A few weeks ago, we noted a deliciously cryptic little sign by the side of the road that read, “Dreams cost money.” We couldn’t imagine who had put it there or why, but like a Zen koan, it provided plenty of interesting food for thought. On the one hand, it could be taken as an adjuration to be willing to invest in your dreams, since nothing worthwhile comes free—a variation on “you get what you pay for.” On the other hand, it could be taken as a cynical admonition to beware of dreams, as they may cost more than you’ve bargained for, as in the Spanish proverb, “‘Take what you want,’ says God, ‘and pay for it.’”

How, indeed, should we weigh our dreams and their cost?

It was only after enjoying a few days of meditation that we realized that the sign was political, and was a negative comment on another sign in the same town referring to some of the candidates as a “Dream Team.” That answered that question. Apparently, in this case, “Dreams cost money” meant: forget about dreams, you can’t afford them.

This line between pursuing our dreams and visions at all costs, and relinquishing them because we judge them too expensive, is a stripe that runs deep through current American politics from the local to the national level. As far as we know, neither the “Dream Team” sign nor the response was sponsored by the candidates themselves, so we aren’t drawing any conclusions about this particular race. Nevertheless, the issue is relevant to much that is at stake this Election Day all around the country, and raises an interesting question that you might want to ask yourself before you step into the voting booth.

To attain dreams costs something, generally something dear, often including money.

But what is the cost of giving up your dreams?