This I Believe

Irene - Sanford, North Carolina
Entered on June 13, 2008
Age Group: 65+

THIS I BELIEVE

That splendid phrase in the Declaration of Independence: “… that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” has always bothered me. I believe happiness is a byproduct of the way we live our lives. We get interest on what we invest. I was given two priceless gifts at birth, curiosity and the ability to find immense joy in small things. I believe the use of these gifts throughout my life has given me much pleasure and genuine happiness.

I believe that a spark of divinity lies hidden within every human being. It is the source of hope, energy, courage and creativity, but many people go through life without ever connecting to their personal power source. The conventional ideas of existence after death — heaven, paradise, nirvana — strike me as uninteresting and even boring prospects. I know that matter and energy never die, so I believe we experience some kind of immortality. I believe it is far, far more interesting than anything organized religions have devised. Raymond Davis, Jr., who won the Nobel Prize in 2002 for his work in astrophysics, said that the subatomic particles in our bodies are recycled matter from stars that existed more than 14 million years ago. That may not be the conventional perception of immortality, but it is an idea that delights me. It pleases me to believe that we are the products of celestial recycling on a monumental scale.

I believe that human beings are on the brink of causing their own extinction. I believe our planet will be better off when we are gone. I grieve that man’s greatest achievements will be lost for all eternity, but I fear that our single-minded greed and selfishness, our exploitation of our beautiful Earth, will be our undoing. I believe our greatest weakness is that we do not live long enough to achieve true wisdom. Our fatal flaw is that we do not seem to be able to learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before. We have no collective race memory and our instincts have atrophied. There are too many of us, a plague upon the land. I believe homo sapiens is a failed species, inadequate in the long term to meet the challenges of evolution.

See you at the Great Recycling Plant in the Sky.