“As a Man Thinketh,” by James Allen
I love to collect old books…this is one of my small treasures. It is a classic ‘self-help’ literary essay from 1902… the language is a bit outdated, but the message is still relevant…
From page 39:
The dreamers are the saviours of the world. As the visible world is sustained by the invisible, so men, through all their trails and sins and sordid vocations, are nourished by the beautiful visions of their solitary dreamers. Humanity cannot forget its dreamers; it cannot let their ideals fade and die; it lives in them, it knows them as the realities which it shall one day see and know. Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage, these are the makers of the after-world, the architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived; without them, labouring humanity would perish.
From page 40:
Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts…
Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil. The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.
I write about the conflict between dreams and realities in all of my books…often what we dream of is contrary to the reality of the thing we dream about… sometimes we are disappointed, but sometimes we come away with something to construct a better dream…only to have it dismantled again by reality.
“His eyes were bright, and, indeed, he scarcely knew whether they held dreams or realities…and in five minutes she had filled the shell of the old dream with the flesh of life…” Virginia Woolf, from Night and Day (It is one of my most favorite books.)