Dreamers, they are the ones we depend on to construct our societies and invent the tools we use to survive. Throughout history, the masses have depended on the ideas of these individuals who have helped shape our philosophy and science. Often misunderstood and persecuted, dreamers such as Galileo and Hypatia are responsible for moving us forward.
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We present to you, our list of the top ten greatest dreamers of all time.
The philosopher Plato was born in 427 BC in Athens, Greece and founded the Academy in Athens. It was the philosophy of Plato, along with Aristotle and Socrates which helped to create the ideas and carved out the path of American and European philosophy and science. Plato was a student of the great thinker, Socrates. His compositions “Republic” and “Laws” are considered instrumental in the development of Western political philosophy.
9. Carl Sagan
American astronomer and author Carl Sagan was born on November 9, 1934 in Brooklyn, New York. At an young age, Sagan became interested in astronomy and believed in the possibility of life in the Universe. At the tender age of 9, he became an amateur astronomer, and at 12 announced his decision to become an astronomer to his family. Sagan’s interest in the atmosphere of Venus helped to shape our understanding of the ‘Greenhouse Effect’. His continued research on the solar system and translating science in a way ‘lay people’ could understand, led him to write books and host the PBS series COSMOS.
8. Walt Disney
The name ‘Disney’ is synonymous with entertainment all over the world. Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901. A determined man, who persevered through 7 bankruptcies and at one point, ate dog food to survive, to create an entertainment empire. He was a dreamer and pioneer in the field of entertainment, concentrating on animation and film. In the 1950’s he began development of his now famous theme parks. In 1955 Disneyland was opened to the public and still continues to attract and enthrall people. Even after his death in 1966, his dreams and vision continues to thrive and entertain millions.
7. Jane Goodall
As a young child, Jane Goodall became fascinated with the biodiversity of life around her. Born on April 3, 1934 in London, England, she became a prominent primatologist. Her methods of observation have been adopted by scientists across the globe. She met her mentor, anthropologist Louis Leakey in 1957. Goodalls discoveries and social activism have helped to move humanity in a positive direction, ensuring our own survival by understanding the life that surrounds us, and the planet we live on.
6. John Lennon
John Lennon was born on October 9, 1949 in Liverpool England. He was a singer-songwriter, social activist, author and artist. This icon of modern culture began his life in humble surroundings, and rose to fame as a member of the rock band, the Beatles. His controversial lifestyle advocated peace, love and creativity for all humankind. His composition ‘Imagine’ centers on his philosophy of a world free from hatred and war.
5. Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr was a Baptist minister, born January 15, 1929. He became a social activist and became the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, beginning in the mid 1950’s. He believed in nonviolence as a method to achieve great goals, inspired by Ghandi. He worked toward ending segregation of black American citizens. His 1963 speech, “I have a dream”, became synonymous with freedom of people everywhere. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and his activism contributed to the development of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.
4. Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi’s name is synonymous with peaceful revolution, and was the model Martin Luther King, Jr. chose in his fight for civil rights. Gandhi was a strong believer in the rights of the Indian people, and did so by employing peaceful disobedience. He is known as the “Father of the Nation’ in India. Born in 1869 in Porbandar, India Gandhi’s method of protest irritated Britain, who sought to outlaw it, without success. Part of his success was to encourage Indians to show they were worthy of independence and self rule, rather than engage in violent acts.
3. Gautama Buddha
Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was born in Kapilavastu, India in 563 B.C.E. He is the founder of Buddhism. Gautama spent seven years exploring different philosophical and religious beliefs. None of them were to his liking. He then performed a deep meditation and achieved ‘enlightenment’, which he became the Buddha. The wisdom of the Buddha is sound and offers many people a way to center themselves on the path to enlightenment.
Albert Einstein was born March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Wurttemberg, Germany. He was a physicist who developed the theory of relativity, published over 300 scientific papers, and is known as the top physicist of the 20th century, winning the Nobel Prize in 1921. After being targeted by Nazis, Einstein immigrated to the U.S. Unable to find employment in the academic field, he settled for work in a patent office, which gave him time to consolidate his thoughts and formulate his theorems regarding the principle of relativity. In 1945 bombing of Hiroshima, he become an activist against the use of such weapons.
Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856 and died January 7 1943. Tesla was a scientific genius and visionary who made huge contributions to the advancement of civilization, including his work and belief in wireless technologies, where he demonstrated a radio controlled boat in 1898. Tesla patented the AC induction motor, which involved a ‘War of Currents’ with Thomas Edison. His numerous patents garnered him money to support his experiments, and he became fondly known at the time, as a ‘mad scientist’.
Whether it’s the sciences, social activism, arts, invention of philosophy, dreamers will continue to move us forward in society. Indeed, without the vision and dreams of a select few, humanity would be forever foraging among rocks and caves, and never experiencing life as we know it today.