This I Believe

Eric - Marion, New York
Entered on May 5, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the power of disbelieving. That person in the crowd that says, “wait, this can’t be right!” The people that rise up and shout “we don’t believe in oppression!” That sometimes barley audible voice in our soul that screams “I won’t believe that this is all there is.”

Disbelieving the might of the British Empire allowed farmers to win the American Revolution. Disbelieving that man would never fly has led to the Concord. Disbelieving that men cannot survive in space landed a man on the moon the in year I was born. Disbelieving the limits of my senses allows me to believe that there is a higher power and purpose in life. Without these disbeliefs, these accomplishments would never have happened. Disbelief reaches in to us and provides us with energy, purpose, direction, and conviction.

I do not believe that there is no magic in the world. Just watch a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis and you will be a disbeliever, too. I do not believe that there is no joy in the world. To see a mother cradle her newborn child will dispel that belief. I do not believe that there is no hope for a brighter future. Look at anyone who has endured hardship and fought for a better life and you will see them shaking their heads in disbelief.

It is through the power of disbelief that our beliefs become meaningful. The Socratic Method, foundation of the modern Scientific Method, is based on asking questions that disprove something, not prove it. It is, fundamentally, about giving power to our disbeliefs. Socrates himself once said, “I know you won’t believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question one’s self and others.” Disproving something you do not believe is more challenging than proving what you believe in. Proving your beliefs is nothing more than a disbelief in disbelieving. And I can’t believe that there are people who don’t believe in not believing.