/ 'Living and dreaming' - University of Chicago Long Essay
Potential! The answer is potential. Sorry for blurting out the answer like that, but perhaps I must explain further. Envision the nervous system. Dreaming is like a signal from the brain; it represents our desire for an object. On the other hand, living is the execution of that signal; it manifests itself as the being. In order that these two concepts connect, there must be a mediator: potential. Potential represents the neurons; in the psychological sense, it can be seen as the possibility of a dream actually becoming a reality. Given these points, a process can be detected. Dreaming is an idea or a goal that one wants to accomplish; potential is the effort or the essence of "putting one's soul into it", and is built upon the personality of the person; living is the product of the effort you put into actualizing one's dreams. Thus, the system of living, potentiality, and dreaming is presented.
Let us take on a hypothetical spin, shall we? Anyone that is living encounters the concept of life, potentiality, and dreams. For example, it is common for a child to wish they could become the President of the United States. According to the principle, they obviously dream about sitting in the Oval Office swivel chair, in an oversized, navy blue blazer and slacks, with their calves upon the desk and their mouths gnawing on a piece of bubblegum. However, the possibility of this becoming real lies in the potential of the individual. What are the person's capabilities? Are they willing to put in the effort to satisfy the desire of the being? In this case, a Future President of the United States must excel greatly in academics, take on an interest in politics, develop leadership qualities, and engage in numerous community events. If the being does carry on these characteristics, then the potential of the being becoming President becomes extant and the dream becomes a reality. If the being is not motivated by these characteristics, then the connection between dreaming and life no longer exists and the being becomes unfit to carry out its dream. This all, of course, factors out the external influences upon the success of the individual, for they have no control over these influences.
That last sentence. What do I mean by external influences? Namely, external influences are forces that persuade the internal influences, or the potential. An example? Charles M. Schulz. Yes, the Peanuts guy. He developed an affinity for drawing because he loved reading the comics as a child (Stage 1: Dreaming/Desire). At one point during his high school career, he was ridiculed for his drawings in the yearbook (Stage 2: Potential). The ridicule that he received from his peers was the external influence. Think of it as an evaluation of the potential; the other students might have thought that his drawings were not as good enough that it came across as funny. This "external influence" motivates Charles's potential to persevere in his quest of becoming a cartoonist. Incidentally, Schulz has also been rejected several times by many publishing companies before the St. Paul Pioneer Press finally published Peanuts for the first time in 1947.
Yes, I may be still rambling on, but I must introduce two final instances in the process. One instance is the fact that one may dream of more than one desire. For example, I have been revering anatomy, mathematics, and language learning for ages now. The potential for being a polyglot oncologist, who could comprehend the concept of derivatives and integrals, were high: I learned my multiplication facts by three, always owned and carried around a Human Body book and CD when I was little, and had a collection of foreign language dictionaries stacked upon my bedroom wall. Now that I just have to excel in these subjects in school and major in them in college, the reality of becoming that calculus-obsessed polyglot oncologist is likely to exist. All in all, two desires are likely to translate into two realities if the potential can be able to withstand them.
The other instance is the fact that the desire either is not there, is unknown, or is latent. Another hypothetic situation: suppose there is a girl named Lisa Simpson. She wants to be a doctor, but she has the potential of being a saxophonist. Her life is devoted to music, but she really loves being able to learn about people and how to cure them of diseases and injures. In one case, if both the desire and the potential are of the same strength, the reality is that Miss Simpson here would become a saxophone-playing surgeon. In the other case, if the potential is stronger than the desire, then the reality might be that Miss Simpson would be a saxophonist. And obviously if the potential is not there, she would be neither.
As you have seen, potential is an important phase in translating dreams into a reality. Without it, our dreams are not able to become reality. Without desire, the potential will be able to take over and manifest itself as the reality. Thus, there would be no reality without potentiality, although desire could stand by itself. At last, potential is the third entity besides dreaming and living, given that one entity cannot exist without this entity.