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Youthful Apprehensions, Cont.

Not amongst the bon mots common to our merry band of youthful chums, but nonetheless known to us from the chatter of older types, was the phrase, “pipe dream”, in such usage as this example: “don’t endear yourself to the splendid plans you’ve heard for the new playing area; these plans, I’m afraid, are something of a pipe dream”.
Naturally I presumed that there was a metaphorical pipe, through which one’s projects must progress before achieving completion. By reference to this metaphorical pipe, and invoking the word ‘dream’ one could create the suggestion that something much desired would, in fact, not exist at all, but be something merely wished or “dreamed” to be in the pipe – and of course, wishing is not sufficient to award existence, and by this same rule, a “pipe dream” would be a project that would never come to fruition. Properly, it belongs in the same general category as the (perhaps apocryphal) hallucinatory oasis.
This interpretation of course gained much greater credence when our school studies of philosophy led to long discussions of Cartesian dualism, and the trenchant response of Gilbert Ryles and his derisive coinage, “the ghost in the machine”; indeed many happy hours were spent lingering after school caught up in vigorous argument, taking up one position or another in this engaging problem.
And to this day, while long since disabused of my youthful misconception, I retain a certain fondness for my interpretation; for I’m sure you’ll agree, all projects and assignments do progress in a fashion akin to matter along a pipe; and all that matters is the type of pipe it may be!
Ah, the naivete of youth!

{ 2 } Comments

  1. mundens | April 28, 2008 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Does this mean you’ve been chatting with a caterpillar? 🙂

  2. Joey | April 28, 2008 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, so stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it! 😉