Perceive or Believe

Peter - Portland, Oregon
Entered on March 9, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: question

This I Believe:

I find belief to be overrated. In science as in religion, espousing a point of view is the same as closing one’s mind to the other possibilities. A belief is expressed in words. Words are flat, paucidimensional. Because of this flatness we formulate verbal riddles like Escher drawings, but overprize their significance. What we call mystery is often simply linguistic inadequacy. We appreciate it but we can’t describe it. Too much faith is the enemy of wonder. Exploration happens when we don’t know the answer. And exploration of our place and our relationships is half of the meaning of life.

A credo may serve as a tribal password. And so a belief can symbolize a commitment, not to the totality of the universe (God) but to a group, or to an enterprise. There is enormous power in doing this, along with enormous potential for illusion. But commitment doesn’t require belief, is cleaner without the words. It is an act of heart. We need to commit ourselves, because commitment and belonging is the other half of life’s meaning.