Daily Prompt: Vision

Language has an amazing ability to shed light on how we truly think and feel. If our emotions and impulses are bare drywall, then words are the many layers of wallpaper and paint we use to make them presentable to others; yet, like those coverings, words can be peeled away and the layers themselves can be very revealing.

One example I find interesting is the convergence of meanings between “vision” and “dream.” When “vision” is mentioned with no context, we often primarily think of the meaning “the ability to see with the eyes.” And yet, close at hand is the meaning “something seen in the mind.” Likewise, “dream” without context most often invokes “something seen only in the mind.” When referring to mental pictures, the former more often is used to convey a conscious fantasy, something intentionally attempted, and the latter more often to convey an unconscious reverie, something accidentally bestowed, but even this distinction is easily erased: both are often used interchangeably to mean “something seen that isn’t there, that we hope to achieve.” I have a vision for a better future; I have a dream. The ability to dream in this way is uniquely human: most animals have vision, but only humans can have a vision; most animals do dream, but only humans can have a dream.  Perhaps it is our greatest asset as a species.

Side note: last night I had a dream I was killed by terrorists; here’s hoping it was not a vision.

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