This I Believe

Matthew - San Francisco, California
Entered on July 15, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, family, legacy

“…thinking makes it so…”

I believe that thinking makes it so. Although he was probably not the first to say this– or believe this – Shakespeare’s Hamlet said, “for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” But Hamlet retorts this to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, when they disagree and think differently, as it is a simple philosophical argument:

How do you know something is good?

But really, how do you know?

No, but really, how do you know?

But I am not Hamlet, and I am not a philosopher, but I do believe that thinking makes it so.

When I was young, too young to really remember, my mother Linda died. I don’t remember how my father or aunts and uncles explained it to me, but coming from a very Roman Catholic family, it probably had to do something with heaven. And angels. And whatever else you could come up with to explain life and death to a 2-year-old who just lost his mother. I remember believing that she was an angel, because I thought it, and it was so.

Years later, I tragically lost my older sister Beth in a car accident, and again, I got the heaven and angels talk, from the church and the grief counselors. But as a skeptical teenager who thought he knew everything, I didn’t believe in the angels and the being watched over. Beth wasn’t being watched over that day, or at least it certainly didn’t seem like it. Although, I still didn’t know what to believe and, to my teenage surprise, I certainly didn’t know everything.

But the one thing I do know now, is the philosophers, and Hamlet, had it right the whole time.

I believe that if I think something – if I truly believe something – then it is. It is as I believe it. If I believe in a personal God, then It is for me. If I believe in angels watching over me, then they are for me.

But most importantly, I believe that thinking about people, dead or alive, recent or ancient, near or far, that thinking about them makes them present for me…even if only for that instant of time, they are a thought in the here and now.

It is this, I believe.