This I Believe

Darryl - Kernersville, North Carolina
Entered on November 17, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: citizenship

I believe in the personhood of every individual. That is to say each person has their own rights and responsibilities, and within the scope of those rights and responsibilities each individual must make their own decisions for which they alone bear responsibility.

I believe what and who we are is a product of our physical being. Our sense of self derives from the function of our physical organism. Our brain’s sense of consciousness creates the delusion of self. We did not exist before our brain began to function nor will we continue to exist after it stops.

I believe it is the interaction between individuals and all other life forms which constitutes the stuff of Life. The Earth is, after all, a living life form as are all living things residing upon it. Whatever is worthy of reverence and awe comes from the aura created by those interactions.

The interaction between individuals is where the richness of Life may be experienced in its fullest. Love, honor, respect, joy, laughter, sorrow, longing, and loss are all emotional realities created and sustained by our encounters with others. I believe we hold no social obligation to interact with everyone within our reach, but we do, I believe, hold a responsibility to respect the basic rights of all people and all things. Conflict and disagreement are as natural for these interactions as are harmony and love. Rights are to be respected as well as protected whenever necessary. We are to protect our own rights as willingly and enthusiastically as we grant the same rights to others.

I believe everyone bears the responsibility to protect those who are innocent or unable to protect themselves. And we must do this with all due respect for the individuality of those whom we seek to protect.

I believe that there is no order or plan behind the timing and sequence of events in Life. Good and bad things happen without purpose or meaning. It is for all of us to render the best possible outcome from whatever happens within the scope of our influence. It is incumbent upon each person to act whenever possible in a way intended to provide the optimal circumstances for the best and most fair outcome of events, doing so while accepting the reality that not all outcomes are necessarily fair and evenhanded.

I believe that order is provided society by both laws and common sense. But while laws are fundamentally good, some of them are and remain a product of political interests oftentimes serving particular groups and agendas. Not all laws are the result of common sense or common good, nor do they functionally respect the right of individuals to decide their own lives. When such laws come in conflict with individual choice, it is the right of the individual to decide if they will honor such laws, but acting upon such rights does not exclude the individual from lawful penalty. Even bad laws remain the laws until they are changed or eliminated.