When I was a child,maybe twelve years old, attending a one-room country school, a group of friends and I got into a discussion of God and how much of our lives he controls. Suiting action to word, I asked if God made me make this mark in the dirt. I was informed, unanimously, that such was indeed the case. I kept my mouth shut and didn’t believe it. I had already read the Bible through twice, finding some good common sense and a very large amount of stuff I could not accept as even remotely possible.
I read a lot and listened when other people talked.
One day in a college book-store I found a two-page plastic-bound set of notes for Mathematics. Close to the top, in lower case letters, was the statement: a=a.
What a blinding revelation! a=a!; A thing is what it is. The first of the five guides for my life had just been found!
Subsequent reading, discussion, listening and simplification have added four more:
1. Nothing is made true by proclamation.
2. Nothing is made true by acclamation.
3. Nothing is made true by believing it to be true.
4. Evidence determines conclusion; not vice-versa.
THIS I BELIEVE
I believe Socrates was correct: The unexamined life is not worth living. I believe Carl Sagan was correct (and someone probably said it before he did): That which you most want to believe is what should be questioned most closely. I believe the old Schlitz beer commercials were correct when they said: You only go around once. I believe the sole purpose of life is to be enjoyed and that you only get one crack at it. I believe there is only one person in the entire Universe who is in charge of keeping scars off your ass and off your psyche and you ought to take good care of that person.
And. finally, I believe the very best way to do that is:
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.