This I Believe

Justin - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on November 20, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: peace, tolerance, war

I believe our world is stuck in a violent cycle, and the only path to permanent resolution is peace. I believe that concepts like revenge are not a solution, but just part of a larger problem.

I began my high school career watching towers crumble on the TV in class. Those crucial years of my young life were meant to prepare me for the “real world,” During those years I began to understand that the world is built by conflict. My teachers and peers took pride in the retaliation. I saw evil men brought to justice, but couldn’t understand: if this is justice, if it is good triumphing over evil, why does it still look so horrible and tragic? Why does our world not feel any safer?

I found my answer in an introductory chemistry class.

As a college freshman, I witnessed the most basic principle of the world in lab: balance. Nothing comes from nothing. If you put sodium into a mix, you get a sodium solution. Likewise, if we put violence and hate into our solution, it stays there in some shape or form.

We have experimented with war, and suffered a chemical burn.

I believe we have so many more beautiful ingredients to experiment with: races, religions, languages, music, literature. The cultures of the earth are as varied as the terrain of the regions from which they hail. I believe in accepting these differences as part of a great balance of life.

I see a world that has become crowded not just with people but with beliefs and ideas. Your neighbor does not have to be the same race as you. Your neighbor does not have to go to the same church as you. Your neighbor does not have to speak the same language as you. The cultural melting pot has become a blender and everyone is getting caught in the blades.

I’m not pretending that I don’t get angry. I can’t say that I agree with everyone, but I know that I have no place trying to change them anymore than they should try to change me.

I think that if I need to defend an idea with violence, then that idea itself becomes destructive and unbeneficial.

To me the use of force is not really a strength at all, it is a weakness because it is so easy to resolve an issue with force. It’s so simple and satisfying to give in to that basic, primal instinct. It requires no thought whatsoever. I think true strength lays in the ability to restrain your muscles whether than to use them. It’s the will power and patience to learn and understand the one you call your enemy. I believe that with discussion and understanding, we don’t need to agree on everything to live in peace.

I believe in fighting fire with water. I believe solving problems with violence has failed us. I believe it is time for a new solution.