According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a belief is defined as follows: the mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something. In light of these criteria I can only believe in the power reason. Reason, by the same book, is the basis or motive for an action, decision, or conviction. If reasons are sound, or logical, then rational human beings can do nothing other than helplessly believe them.
One of my father’s favorite sayings reads something like “if you aren’t paranoid, then you aren’t thinking straight.” As a child this notion of living — if one would call a paranoid life “living” — was repeated to me on a regular basis with one underlying point: every action I take and every idea that I propagate must be guided by solid reasons; if they are not I am left open to attack by those eager to see me fail. Everything about and associated with me must be above criticism and suspicion, or as Dad would put it, “as pure as Caesar’s wife.” There can be no inconsistency, only masochistic perfection.
There’s a room I spend most, if not all, of my time in. The space is black like the darkness found beyond Stephen Hawking’s event horizon, a place where not even light can escape. In the center there’s a teak roundtable with clawed feet and on either side two similar matching chairs. In one sits a man with long, unruly red hair pulled into a pony tail. A well trimmed beard outlines his jaw. Tortoise shell frames provide his pale blue eyes with proper vision. On his left index finger is a hand beaten yellow gold ring encasing a hunk of fire opal, one of two Berkman rings. He wears an electric blue, collared shirt with mother of pearl buttons tucked into white jeans. In his reclining, cross-legged position one can catch a glimpse of his feet sheathed in buckled alligator loafers. There’s a matching belt. The buckle deflects the dim light of the blown glass chandelier above the table into my eyes. I sit in the opposite chair. My features are darker, covered in stubble, and bear little resemblance to my father’s. I am wearing the usual tight black sweater and flat-front, low-rise, slim-fit slacks. Matching black shoes and belt hold it all together. Pushing the hair from my face, the chandelier illuminates the hand beaten white gold ring, an amethyst mounted in its center, on the index finger of my left hand. I lean over the table, hands now clasped and resting on its surface. He looks smug, I look defensive. And Dad and I debate.
This I have reason to believe.
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