there was a question about where this phrase originated, and i was wondering what it means... maybe its relative to context or interpretation, but i want to assume it means "to dream big" figuratively speaking, of course... any other suggestions or legitimate descriptions?
It means to build an elaborate plan (i.e. a castle) without a solid foundation to rest them on.
It might come from the first novel of Europe, Don Quixote, by Cervantes. There is an early episode where a delirious Don Quixote -- a peasant who thinks he's an Arthurian knight -- looks at a windmill...but sees a dragon and tries to charge it, in spite of warnings from his sidekick, Sancho Panza. The windmill wins that battle handily, I might add. So building castles in the air reflects that kind of grandiose delirium.
It does kind of mean "dream big," but in an unrealistic way. A person who builds castles in the air probably can't even build a doghouse on the ground--know what I mean? If I can track down the entymology, I'll come back and post it here.
to me the phrase describes governments and other organisations whom are in power unlawfully and by the indoctrination of lies upon a countries citizens.
They claim to have all this authority but the when the facts are known they actually have no authority and it is the will of the majority of the citizens that run a country.
now if only the people would express their will upon those despotic tyrants we may once again be a "free country"
Like the answer of blunderbuss ,they have created "laws" and government institutions without proper foundations.
the saying " Building castles in the sky" is originally a metaphor that represents goals and ambitions that society deems as unobtainable.
Skyscrapers are like castles in the sky.
I suppose it relates to creating and achieving a goals. However implausible they sound.
It refers to attempting to create things without the proper foundation. Dreaming without specific concrete plans to execute. Efforts that will ultimately fail.