This I Believe

Cayenne - San Diego, California
Entered on August 28, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

In my darkest moments, I believe in nothing and believe nothing is tangibly valuable, for “truth” is shifting and slippery… more so than even a good postmodernist would ever have thought. But I believe in intangible greatness, which can only be experienced on a very visceral level. True greatness, I believe can only be sensed…not known on a strictly cognitive level. Greatness isn’t achieved by being able to check off certain boxes ear-marking specific qualities – greatness is felt by those who encounter it. No ONE person is “great.” We achieve pieces of greatness, and it’s in recognizing these pieces that we enable ourselves to stay engaged with humanity.

There are two voices in me, and I believe in both of them equally, as much as I’m able to believe in anything.

The first voice, and the most primordial one, is that of an objectivist who believes in the nobility of humanity. That, even though we are basically nothing more than clever primates (whose cleverness is debatable), we build interesting lives for ourselves. And damn, we’ve seen some awe-inspiring feats of engineering, pieces of art, complex political scenarios, and we’ve erected some tremendous pieces of architecture. We write poetry, we make computer chips that hold 3 gazillion pieces of information on the head of a pin, we laugh, we cry, we give birth, we put people in the grave, we shed a tear or two then get on with our day…we go through this grand tradition of living, yet very few seem to really embrace both the upside and the smelly-underbelly. This is it. This is all we have, and it would seem that we, in fact, have it all.

This just in: this existence is deliriously delicious. If anyone fails to taste the tangy sweet bitterness of this ridiculous chaos, I fear they’re failing to embrace what it means to be.

Because we’re fearful monkeys, we’ve created insular societies incapable of rational communication with other insular societies of dissimilar monkeys. We need to explain everything because, after all, we’re thoughtful monkeys. Enter Religion. Now irrational arguments. Now fists full of monkey poop fly. Now rocks flying. Now fists flying. Now bombs dropping. Now Hatred, just because. Now it’s one god against another. Now war. Now death, lots of it…for Allah, for Jesus, for Yahweh. It’s so much easier to hate than to accept. Hey, what about Krishna? Who left HIM out of the game? Gimme the blue god. He’s kind of likable, as gods go.

None of the clever monkeys really want to drill down into the impetus for building religion(s), because they don’t want to let go of their collective metaphysical binky. It is said that 90 % of humanity has a god concept.

I believe this is because 90% of people are afraid to live without direction, which tells me they don’t trust themselves to behave ethically unless they suffer fear of repercussions. Really, being a good person isn’t that difficult.

Which is where my aforementioned second voice crescendos: we’re all crouched in our corners, defending our delusional beliefs, so afraid that one of us is right and one of us is wrong, that we blindly follow our faith in whatever we’ve been fed as “right.” No one actually steps outside and looks at the silliness of these fabricated systems of belief. Even science comes with its own spatio-temporal delusions. I am not immune. That to which I give my faith is also ever-evolving and shifting. Not one of us is right, yet we can’t all be wrong, right? Right. And when I say “right” I mean “wrong.”

My second voice has been milling around too long amongst humanity to believe in general nobility, but still celebrates the preciously rare iterations of it –they’re the ineffable moments, where one can’t even identify how perfect they are except upon reflection.

We all assume that something matters — because we all seem to be fighting for something. Not fighting the “good fight,” just fighting, because aggression/domination is in our blood…our irreparable genetic code.

What I believe is this: nothing matters. Nothing save how we conduct ourselves in incalculably brief moments, fleeting seconds….recognition of one’s primitive nature and its true relationship to another’s.

Be kind to the next scared monkey. We’re in this together…on a tiny, tiny, ill-fated planet. Nothing is lost by smiling at the old man testing and bruising a head of lettuce at the ghetto Vons, or by complimenting an accessory on the woman who tries your patience by lingering too long over the watermelons when you’re ready to swoop in, get what you want, and get right out. It’s just life. Live it. I promise, you’ve got nothing better to do.

This I believe.