I believe that Luffy’s dream is more fundamental than these popular theories, but essentially achieves the same effects. Also, we need to consider a few things about the dream itself:
- The dream is something a child with almost no worldly knowledge could think up.
- The dream is so absurd it stuns those who hear it, and makes them laugh.
- The dream is very difficult if not almost impossible to achieve.
- Roger had the same dream, so it needs to be something not unique to Luffy’s lived experience.
- Being the Pirate King would help in achieving the dream.
We now need to briefly dive into Luffy’s character. What motivates Luffy at a basic level in every arc throughout the story? Friendships.
Luffy liberates an island, or solves the central conflict of an arc because his friends are tied up in it. Luffy is selfish by nature, and has even claimed he does not want to be considered a hero. He inadvertently becomes a hero because he wants to save/protect/help his personal friends. Luffy does not think about liberation or justice when he’s defeating the antagonists; it’s ALWAYS more personal to him. When defeating Crocodile, he’s doing it for Vivi and old man Toto. In Dressrosa, he’s thinking about Rebecca. In Wano, he’s thinking about Tama, Momonosuke, and Kin’emon. He thinks about the well-being of HIS friends first and foremost.
The point I’m making here is Luffy’s dream must also have a tinge of selfishness to it, but at the same time inspires pure joy/shock in those who hear it. What type of dream could fulfill the criteria of being a childish fantasy and be so in line with Luffy’s character?
“I want to be friends with everyone in the world!”
I believe this is Luffy’s true dream. It lines up so perfectly with Luffy’s character, and with the reactions from the crew, Ace, Sabo, Whitebeard, and Oden. In Luffy’s mind being the Pirate King would help him, because he would be the freest man on the seas, and “who wouldn’t want to be friends with the Pirate King?” The prevailing theories about uniting marines and pirates, throwing a gigantic party, and achieving world peace naturally result from this dream too. Wanting to be friends with everyone in world just strikes me as pure, raw, distilled Luffy.
*Theory by Blurnsball