The Power of Believing

Robert - Coto de Caza, California
Entered on September 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe.

We can be six billion strong or six billion weak. The incredible majority of the problems that plague the modern world can be reduced to a single misconception. It is a virus that has spread from a single cell, and we, as humans, dreamers, feelers, dancers, and people, have continued to propagate it both actively and passively. Truth lies not in what one believes, but rather in that they truly believe it; that they hold it as their own and shield it from the harsh elements of everyday life. We inhabit a society fueled by competition; a community divided by “my hat is more tasteful than your hat” types who have yet to realize that the cause of their agitation is the head beneath it.

As six billion weak, we struggle against each other to solve political issues, obtain career and educational opportunities, get record deals- even art, in all of its majesty, succumbs to this ‘human nature’. Take writing for instance. Can one piece of writing be better than another? Can one even attempt to evaluate a piece of writing? The appreciation of art is only possible through belief, not scrutiny. Any given narrative can be more entertaining, or more specific, or more grammatically or politically correct. We fail to realize that correctness does not always equate to greatness; one need not be limited by the canvas in order to produce a masterpiece. The past has plenty of evidence for that.

Rather, we, as the human race, need a little paradigm shift. There exists a dearth of respect for the phenomena of belief. There is a certain character and constitution associated with a person who possesses the capacity to believe. Belief implies trust, courage, independence, and a penchant for discovery in an individual, initially on a personal scale and eventually onto even greater issues than one’s self. We tend to classify each other on the basis of the object of our fidelity; perhaps, however, there is something to be learned about all of us from examining the fidelity itself. The story of the human condition is certainly not a fairy tale; it is not ripe with rainbows, or decadent chocolate cakes, or hoards of smiling, lederhosen-clad baton-twirlers all named J-rgen and Heinfried. As six billion strong, we are able to consciously decipher that certain element that unites every single one of us; that one universal ideal that compelled us all to depart the safety and security of our cave and go start a fire. We must harbor belief in each other, belief in a better tomorrow, and belief in our ability, both as six billion strong and as individuals, to influence the condition of our species. We cannot achieve absolute perfection, but this is certainly no reason to keep us from trying. Such is the spirit of the human race; such is the power of belief.

James Russell Lowell observed that ‘toward no crime have men shown themselves as cold-bloodedly cruel as in punishing differences of belief.’ John Stuart Mill noted that ‘one person with a true belief has power equivalent to 99 people who have only interests’. But it is none other than myself, a fledgling, sheltered teenager without any real experience with anything, who is reminding you that there is more to fidelity than leaning back and reading about it. Isn’t it time you started believing?

My name is Robert, and I believe.