This I Believe

Samantha - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on December 21, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: humanism, science

• In a moment of insobriety, a.k.a. an acid trip, often considered an impaired mental state, Francis Crick and his co-worker James Watson had their greatest moment of clarity: the discovery of DNA.

• Many times, a war is fought to ensure peace unto the people.

• A good lawyer validates an argument through inconsistent premises.

• Juliet’s “only love” had “sprung from [her] only hate.”

Like a serpent who finds merriment in sinister light, I find conviction in contradiction and refuge in paradox; the seamless blend of opposition. You could say my faith lies within such variance, because I am an advocate of loopholes and a victim of twisted logic. As an expert of self-sabotage, I rely greatly upon hypocritical claims to weasel out of uncomfortable situations; thus the paradox as my refuge. For instance, if I were caught making slight alterations upon retelling a story (we all do it) and accused of performing unnecessary theatrics, I could claim to have left things out during the previous telling in act of modesty. If my prosecutor were then to indict me of stretching the truth, I could simply reply; “What if the truth does not exist?” Therefore, my opponent stunned and window of opportunity flung open, I would make my escape knowing that prosecution would have a hell of a time contemplating that riddle. How can I be so sure? Well, by making a statement such as “the truth does not exist,” is making a truthful claim, thereby negating the statement itself. Putting such an incongruity into question form is all I need for a final besiege.

Aside from trickery and self-defense, the paradox provides reassurance that there truly can be “beauty in break down” or that love can spring from hate, an oxymoronic reality that has proved essential to my sanity. In my adolescence I have become well acquainted with the anxieties and animosities that haunt the teenage soul. I’ve dealt with all the stereotypes of childhood highlighted on prime time TV, but my trials and tribulations are limited by my age. Friends I have lost and black marks I have gained, but I figure if I must fall victim to life’s pains and punishments in the future I might as well make an art of them; these literary conundrums do just that. They remind me that good can come from evil, ergo harrowing my negativity and creating cerebral reservoirs of hope in times of mental drought.

It was a paradox that quenched a thirst for romance worldwide through Shakespeare’s timeless love story and another that created an outlet for some great scientific minds. Through hypocrisy I can laugh at the inconsistencies of human beliefs about war and prosecution. To this I hold steadfast; it allows me elasticity in my morally ambiguous youth. I have my whole life ahead of me. By embracing life’s contradictions I will keep an open mind and hopeful heart. Besides, beliefs are said to be formed by our pasts and if I have my whole life ahead of me, what lies behind me but a paradox in itself.