One week ago that eminent physicist Stephen Hawking asked us all, or at least those of us connected to the digital sphere, “How can the human race survive the next hundred years?” I read a few responses from people, and a few more responses to those responses, and in the end I realized that whatever answer J. Q. Blogger could come up with, his or her answer to the question has far less to do with any reason and far more to do with faith. Do I believe the human race has overreached itself? Do I believe God will sort things out, for better or for worse?
I believe that the salvation of our kind is not based on our tenuous hold on civilization, or the powers that be, whether they be political, technological, or divine. I believe that communication will save us, as it has always saved us, when we have been willing to listen to those who have the least chance to speak, and when we have been willing to speak out, rightly or wrongly, about any and all things we feel strongly about.
I believe that humankind’s greatest failing is our blind acceptance of authority, whether it be our parents, our teachers, our leaders, our priests, or our doctors.
I firmly believe that the refusal to listen is a crime.
I believe that if you aren’t seriously offended every day, you aren’t listening closely enough, and I believe that to offend someone by words alone is the greatest gift you can offer them.
“Why?” You might ask, and I certainly hope you do- “Because,” I reply, “what offends us is only ever the closed walls of our own expectations, and expectations will damn us all.”
I believe in communication: in our ability to express ourselves, and even more in having those expressions reduced and manipulated and reinterpreted and even misunderstood in an infinite number of ways, because it is the only way we will ever learn anything for ourselves, the only way we will ever learn to think for ourselves, and perhaps one day break free of that subtle servitude to ‘people who know more than we do.’
So I believe in the internet, and I believe in blogs, as I believe in that marvelous device the telephone, and magazines, and graffiti, and conversations with strangers on a train. I believe in rumours, and I believe in speeches of the heart.
I do not believe that we ever need to understand each other, but I believe that it is enough that we try.
I believe in stories most of all, because to paraphrase Neil Gaiman, whom I rarely believe, but can often agree with, when they never happened, they can still be true.
This is what communication means to me, and this I believe.
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