Emily - Briarcliff Manor, New York
Entered on June 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Life is not a puzzling math question resulting in a definite answer. No matter how hard I may seek to find what “x” equals, in life, the answer is never a constant and can never be found from the mere information at hand. Indeed, the “given” only serves to further complicate the resultant. I believe in this complexity; this unwavering doubt that allows me to stray from all constants and seek understanding of the intricate. By accepting there are no strict borders of right versus wrong or black versus white, I have learned to see the limit as nonexistent, and the answer, infinite. With this acceptance of doubt, I have gained life altering knowledge.

To know is easy. It is the feeling of safely going to bed behind a double locked door. It is spreading my father’s ancient wool blankets over my cold body. It is carelessly falling into a deep slumber while a snow storm rages outside. For certainty is indeed the false sentiment of security. And I have learned just this. The closer I am to certainty, to thinking I know a situation compendiously, the farther away I am from just that. Certainty stops the brain from exercising free thought and forces uncontested food into its synapses. This ends the journey to true knowledge and in this, lays the true tragedy of certainty.

To doubt is far less commodious; It is continuing to run when I feel sharp pains in my side, feel my heat pumping out of my chest, and see my opponent far ahead; It is turning off the lights unable to see anything that may be in my way but continuing to hold my hands out front with eyes open to the darkness, hoping I either find my way or finally adjust to see a faint object in the darkness. Yet I believe that I must voyage through the darkness to ever find my light.

Doubting brings enlightment. Not knowing, not assuming, and not believing is what opens the doors to my education. With this sentiment, I have heard one thing yet researched to learn another. I have seen the horrors of our world, the wrongs of people on others, the things that I am meant to be shielded from. And from this I take away as much as I see. I learn to live grateful for my life; I learn to give back, to help others. I discover the condition of mankind, the sickening nature of evil and the importance of knowledge, knowledge to prevent the homicides, the tortures, the wars. I see the importance of history, of true history, and not a politically favorable history. I learn to see the wrongs in other countries, but also to see the wrongs in my own country. Comparably, I learn to see my own wrongs. I doubt to learn, I doubt to see outside the lines, and I doubt to appreciate what I may find that falls so far from what I may expect.