1994 National Flag Foundations "Standard Bearer" Magazine.
This article remains the copyrighted material of the and is presented here by permission.]As Vice President and as a Senator and member of Congress before that, I have visiteddozens of foreign countries.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negrocommunity must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, formany of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence heretoday, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up withour destiny.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, everyhill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will bemade plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and theglory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see ittogether.
Is man ever to be the dupe of priestcraft, the slave of superstition? Is he never to have just ideas of his Creator? It is better not to believe there is a God, than to believe of him falsely. When we behold the mighty universe that surrounds us, and dart our contemplation into the eternity of space, filled with innumerable orbs revolving in eternal harmony, how paltry must the tales of the Old and New Testaments, profanely called the word of God, appear to thoughtful man! The stupendous wisdom and unerring order that reign and govern throughout this wondrous whole, and call us to reflection, 'put to shame the Bible!' The God of eternity and of all that is real, is not the God of passing dreams and shadows of man's imagination. The God of truth is not the God of fable; the belief of a God begotten and a God crucified, is a God blasphemed. It is making a profane use of reason. -- Author.]
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words ofinterposition and nullification, that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able tojoin hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
But though the imagination cannot supply the place of real memory, it has the wild faculty of counterfeiting memory. It dreams of persons it never knew, and talks to them as if it remembered them as old acquaintance. It relates circumstances that never happened, and tells them as if they had happened. It goes to places that never existed, and knows where all the streets and houses are, as if we had been there before. The scenes it creates are often as scenes remembered. It will sometimes act a dream within a dream, and, in the delusion of dreaming, tell a dream it never dreamed, and tell it as if it was from memory. It may also be remarked, that the imagination in a dream has no idea of time, as tune. It counts only by circumstances; and if a succession of circumstances pass in a dream that would require a great length of time to accomplish them, it will appear to the dreamer that a length of time equal thereto has passed also.
If the memory slumbers we shall have a faint remembrance of the dream, and after a few minutes it will some-times happen that the principal passages of the dream will occur to us more fully. The cause of this is that the memory will sometimes continue slumbering or sleeping after we are awake ourselves, and that so fully, that it may and sometimes does happen, that we do not immediately recollect where we are, nor what we have been about, or have to do. But when the memory starts into wakefulness it brings the knowledge of these things back upon us like a flood of light, and sometimes the dream with it.
Yet however various and eccentric the imagination may be in the creating of images and ideas, it cannot supply the place of memory with respect to things that are forgotten when we are awake. For example, if we have forgotten the name of a person, and dream of seeing him and asking him his name, he cannot tell it; for it is ourselves asking ourselves the question.
If the memory sleeps, we shall have no other knowledge of the dream than that we have dreamt, without knowing what it was about. In this case it is sensation rather than recollection that acts. The dream has given us some sense of pain or trouble, and we feel it as a hurt, rather than remember it as vision.
As this is the state of the mind in a dream, it may rationally be said that every person is mad once in twenty-four hours, for were he to act in the day as he dreams in the night, he would be confined for a lunatic. In a state of wakefulness, those three faculties being all active, and acting in unison, constitute the rational man. In dream it is otherwise, and, therefore, that state which is called insanity appears to be no other than a dismission of those faculties, and a cessation of the judgment during wakefulness, that we so often experience during sleep; and idiocity, into which some persons have fallen, is that cessation of all the faculties of which we can be sensible when we happen to wake before our memory.
That the judgment soon goes to sleep may be perceived by our sometimes beginning to dream before we are fully asleep ourselves. Some random thought runs in the mind, and we start, as it were, into recollection that we are dreaming between sleeping and waking. [If a pendulum of a watch by any accident becomes displaced, that it can no longer control and regulate the elastic force of the spring, the works are instantly thrown into confusion, and continue so as long as the spring continues to have force. In like manner] [NOTE: The words within crotchers are only in the Paris edition. In the New York edition (1807) the next word "If" begins a new paragraph. -- Editor.] if the judgment sleeps whilst the imagination keeps awake, the dream will be a riotous assemblage of misshapen images and ranting ideas, and the more active the imagination is the wilder the dream will be. The most inconsistent and the most impossible things will appear right; because that faculty whose province it is to keep order is in a state of absence. The master of the school is gone out and the boys are in an uproar.
In this view of the mind, how absurd it is to place reliance upon dreams, and how much more absurd to make them a foundation for religion; yet the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten by the Holy Ghost, a being never heard of before, stands on the foolish story of an old man's dream. "And behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not thou to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." -- Matt. 1. 20.