This I Believe

Breanna - Manhattan Beach, California
Entered on March 12, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: question

I believe in the Socratic method. Question everything until every possibility has been discussed and a reasonable conclusion can be drawn. Leave no doubt or lurking hesitation unexplored. I have realized over the past few years of my life that these constant evaluations and reassessments have not always led me to the outcome that I had determined to be certain.

As a young child, my thoughts equaled my actions, which in turn equaled the expected outcome. Thought to action to result. It was a simple formula that worked in every situation without fail. That is obviously the mentality of a child, but why is it that the formula suddenly stops working as we grow older? My constant search for understanding has not brought me any closer to answering this enigma.

Unfortunately, in my relatively short life, I have been forced to endure several tragedies that have torn my life apart and left me dangling above a pit of bottomless sorrow, devoid of all hope. Throughout this drawn-out torture, I continually asked myself, “Why me? Why us? What did we do or think that warranted this result? What happened to the formula ?” I tried to convince myself that if I ran a new, better, scenario through my head enough times and believed that it was true, it would happen. That way, thought and logic created an outcome-not some indeterminate cause that could not be held responsible or punished. I tried to convince myself, and others, that everything was all right. Nothing was all right. My attempt to reason my way out of my biggest problem had failed. And why? Because there was a breakdown in a formula that I was taught to trust.

After so much sorrow had overwhelmed my life, I soon found myself in rural Africa, away from those who wished so much to protect me from the self-doubt and feelings of confusion and desperation that had been nagging at my mind for several months. I suddenly found myself flooded by these emotions once more. I asked myself, “What is your life goal? What are you really working toward? How long can you go on working with no specific goals? Thought does NOT equal action, action does NOT equal results. WHAT IS THE POINT?”

On the verge of even more mental distress, I reached a conclusion that I could believe in- ironically through more of my mental Socratic method. I decided that living a life dominated by anguish didn’t really get me anywhere. It might actually be O.K. not to have my entire life planned out in front of me. So within my chaos, I found my own reason, reached through careful weighing of my choices between sorrow and hope. So I guess my Socratic method worked when I needed it most. In my all-time favorite children’s book, Santa Calls, Santa says, “Some secrets are best left untold.” Although I am sure that I will continue to seek out reasoned truths of life, I’m inclined to believe him.