I believe it is important that my ethics and actions be based on reality, on what IS, rather than on pretending, denying and trying to control reality. I am inspired by the Brights organization and by Taoism as reflected in Alan Watts’ book, THE WATERCOURSE WAY. Like most children in our society, I was exposed to pretending, denying and trying to control early in life when presented with Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Jesus, Sandman, Boogeyman and the Devil. That was when I was just beginning to experience the world. I learned to accept impossibilities such as a fat man coming down the chimney with gifts and a rabbit laying colored eggs. Accepting unreality continued as a way to deny what IS. Braces denied crooked teeth while lip-gloss, blush and face powder denied skin blemishes.
I saw that silicon implants and plastic surgery enabled some to deny their physical realities. Drugs deny moods and feelings; diet pills deny hunger; stimulants deny fatigue; movie and television drama and adventure deny real experiences; treadmills and weight equipment deny the benefits of a walk in the environment or real work. Denials and pretending extend into the environment. Food with no nutrition, such as soda pop, non-dairy creamer and packaged cookies, pretend to nourish us but deny the urge for vitamins and minerals. Artificial flavors deny the enjoyment of real tastes. Chemical preservatiaves deny the natural process of spoilage and allow us to pretend that things can last forever.
Plastic flowers that never wilt and sculpted geese, ducks and white-tailed deer pretend to live in our yards. Little electric bulbs pretend to be dewdrops or ice crystals catching sunlight while street lights deny darkness so we can pretend it can always be daytime. Irrigation systems deny that some areas are too dry for farming. Levees and dams deny the dangers of living below sea level and let us pretend we can control what IS. When we cannot control reality, there is a tendency to call upon a supernatural power for help. I believe the call is futile and the supernatural power is pretend. I believe I am Bright enough to accept what really IS and this reality can be the guide to good ethics and actions.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.