This I Believe

Matthew - Eureka, Missouri
Entered on December 15, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: love

Throughout our lives, there is much uncertainty and difficulty in finding the truth. One idea that I hold strongly is that of self-preservation. I have seen it exemplified in my own life and in others’ as well, and I believe in the power that self-preservation has on all people. It affects us in many aspects of our lives and also causes us to act in our best interest. Some people call it “selfish,” but I call it logic—the foundation of human existence and survival. People don’t want to be hurt and want to avoid conflict, with good reason. It is much easier to move through life if we go unchallenged; however, this lifestyle may not be the most fruitful. The event which most thoroughly cemented this belief in my mind was when I watched a fellow student lie to a girl about his plans for the weekend; I was aware of the lie and I proceeded to question him as to the reason for doing so. He responded, “I just didn’t want to deal with it.” Like most people, he looked out for himself and side-stepped a problem.

One extremely important contradiction to the idea of self-preservation is love. Love will lead people to do things that they, otherwise, would not do; their reasoning abilities are clouded by this infatuation. The well-being of others then comes before mine, and I have placed another before myself. I find it very difficult to understand why one would consider another person and his/her desires more pertinent than one’s own. I do admit that my ignorance in this matter could be the result of never having been in love with another person—the most obvious reason for someone to act in a manner contradictory to self-preservation. I believe that self-preservation is logical and that acting against it is illogical; therefore, since love frequently contradicts self-preservation, love is illogical. However, as my friend adequately put it, “Love is an illogical necessity.” Many people find fulfillment in it, but the means to an end often varies with each person. Some may choose love, and others may choose themselves; but no matter what, self-preservation is present everywhere in our lives if we can look deep enough to see it.