This I Believe

Jacob - Richmond, Virginia
Entered on March 27, 2007

I, both as a unique individual and a product of the society in which I was raised, believe in the strength of one’s perceptions. The world around us is a shifting medley of colors and sounds with no discernable purpose, no focus, and no apparent reason. When a person is born they are circumstantially forced to take in and comprehend a terrifying deluge of ethical, social, and religious concepts, through which they sculpt the insubstantial clay of their beliefs into a single poignant code.

I believe this process takes years. No man or woman can truly become cognizant of the world around them in the few short years that constitute our childhood – as a young child, one’s focus is entirely upon what they immediately recognize around them, considering the world only as they see it; a vast, insubstantial mass of confusing messages. Through early adulthood we begin to process and understand the enormous web that is even the simple aspects of our lives. When we mature and grow, the manner in which we view the environment forms the very essence of our existence. To live without context cannot truly be considered living.

In my position, writing this, I’ve come to understand that I have no concrete social, spiritual, or legal convictions. In a time when information is relayed to us immediately, one cannot draw conclusions. When at first you begin to understand the legitimate human repercussions of a single act – perhaps something momentous across the globe, or perhaps some frivolity in the course of existence – you are immediately assaulted with a thousand more.

Had I been raised in a different home, with a different family and in a foreign country, I do not doubt that my intrinsic personality would be vastly different, and that I would indeed believe very different things. I find that it is difficult to understand or, occasionally, respect wildly alien cultures because of their very nature; if a person understands all the infinite nuances and tiny facets entailed by life in a completely different fashion, the manner in which they live tends to mystify me.

What we take in and process composes our very life; how we view the world and draw conclusions is the essence of humanity. If an individual succumbs solely to the pressure of the society around them, they collapse into a mess of unsubstantiated convictions and vague celestial concepts; I believe that life is truly how we, as individuals and as nations, view the world around us, and nothing more.