This I Believe

Devin - Farmington Hills, Michigan
Entered on December 15, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: question

I don’t know what I believe. I don’t know if handguns should be banned. I don’t know how to solve the social security crisis. Does a government have the responsibility to provide its citizens with affordable health care? Can military action put an end to human rights violations? How should we fix our public school systems, and do they even need fixing? I don’t know.

I don’t know if there’s a God. I don’t know why we’re here. Does life begin at conception or birth or somewhere in-between? Is love finding the perfect soul mate or a chemical reaction to the proper pheromone? Why should we consider bacteria to be alive but not a virus? How about computers with artificial intelligence? How about stars? I don’t know.

I don’t know why some relationships work and others don’t. I don’t know why a picture of a Campbell’s Soup can is art but a commercial for Campbell’s Soup is marketing. Is golf a sport? Is Pluto a planet? Is Godfather II better than the original? I don’t know.

Every time I turn on the television or pick up a newspaper I’m greeted with such self-satisfied certainty. Everyone thinks they know. Everyone thinks they have the answer. Well I don’t know. I don’t have the answer.

Because I believe that most questions aren’t simple. I believe that an answer worth having usually isn’t easy to find. I believe that life is too complicated for sound bite logic.

I believe that anyone who says they know what to do about social security it either stupid or lying. I believe that education and gun control are complex problems that can’t be solved with two word answers. I believe that abortions aren’t as simple as Pro-Life or Pro-Choice.

I believe that the nature of God and our existence are too complex to be captured in the words Christian or Muslim or Buddhist. I believe that what it means for something to be alive will be a question we grapple with for centuries. I believe that love can’t be explained in a self-help book by Dr. Phil.

But I don’t believe that we should stop looking for answers just because they’re hard to find. I don’t believe that just because one group says ‘black’ and another says ‘white’ that the answer is necessarily ‘gray’. I don’t believe that not having the truth means the truth doesn’t exist.

I believe that it’s okay not to know the answer, so long as you keep asking the question. I believe that struggling with the unknown is far nobler than accepting the easy explanation. I believe that impassioned debate between intelligent people is the best source of knowledge, and I believe that disagreeing doesn’t have to mean not listening.

I believe that most answers aren’t obvious. I believe that most questions aren’t easy. I believe that I don’t know very much. And I believe that’s alright.