None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something.
We all have our dreams for the future, for ourselves, our families and our community. We may dream of a better job, an opportunity to follow a passion, a dream of better health for ourselves or our loved ones. We may dream of financial independence or leaving a legacy of some kind when we have passed on. Some of us dream of a just and equitable society free from discrimination, where everyone has an equal opportunity to lead fulfilling lives. Dreamers like Dr Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela dreamed bigger dreams of a different future for all people not just themselves. These are dreams that can only be realised through fraternity and solidarity.
For local chiropractor Dr Noel Patterson OAM, the dream is to create permanent peace in the world as well as reducing poverty and pollution. Through uniting the world in a vision that global peace can be made into reality by using just 10% of the global expenditure on defence, a more sustainable and poverty free world can be realised. His dream, the 3P Plan, was inspired through working in the slums of India and believing that together we can make a difference. Dr Patterson’s 3P Plan relies upon the cooperation of all major countries around the world to form a World Peace Alliance. It is a plan that he believes supports the dream of 99.999% of people who want peace and dream of happy, healthy and safe future for their children.
For the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest their dream was to awaken a Western world out of its “dream like trance” of over-consumption and greed that is threatening not only the pristine Amazon rainforest but the wellbeing of the entire planet. Like many Indigenous peoples around the world who have a deep spiritual connection to their lands, the Achuar peoples of Ecuador and Peru believe that this connection is threatened by the dream of the modern world to use the planet as purely an expendable resource rather than a home. They appealed for allies to help changing the dream of the modern world and formed the Pachamama Alliance for a more environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just world. In response to that appeal, the “Awakening the Dreamer Symposium” has touched over 221,000 people since 2006 in 78 countries around the world to raise awareness of the threat to future generations by our failure to dream a fraternal dream. The symposium serves to challenge some of the unexamined assumptions we make every day by asking questions about the way we live our “throw away mindset” and ends up asking us to find new possibilities by working together for a different future. While the challenges are not over for the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon, they have demonstrated what can be achieved through fraternity and solidarity in the face of adversity.
According to Pope Francis in his World Day of Peace message 2014, “Fraternity is an essential human quality, for we are relational beings. A lively awareness of our relatedness helps us to look upon and to treat each person as a true sister or brother; without fraternity it is impossible to build a just society and a solid and lasting peace.” In the encyclical Caritas In Veritate Benedict XVI pointed out that unconstrained individualism and selfish consumerism reflect a lack of fraternity and solidarity and leads us to devalue those who are unable to compete in the market economy, making them part of that ‘throw away mindset’.
Pope Francis calls upon us to find a new dream to counter the rise of ‘relative poverty’ that we see in places like Australia. This is when there is an inequality between the people who live a particular region for access to “capital, services, educational resources, healthcare and technology.” The haves and have-nots. Such relative poverty was highlighted to me in a recent trip to Alice Springs where educational measures to promote energy savings by the local power company assume that their customers understand English and have access to the internet (the haves). For those worst off in Alice Springs, such assumptions can serve to increase the levels of their poverty (the have-nots).
The dream of Pope Francis for World Peace concludes that “we need, then, to find ways by which all may benefit from the fruits of the earth, not only to avoid the widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs, but above all because it is a question of justice, equality and respect for every human being.”
A dream remains fanciful until you pursue it, in small ways, during your everyday routine. The daily things you do determine whether your dreams come true.