The Bookshelf

Ian - Pleasanton, California
Entered on April 21, 2009

I don’t know what I believe in. I don’t know if I even do believe in anything. It is complicated to explain. If you ever look in a book, or at an inspirational poster, or something you sometimes see quotes that tell you things like to try harder or be more respectful or stuff like that. This is what I used to base everything I ever did on. Every time I read a new quote I would take it and put on a sort of quote bookshelf next to all the other quotes I have jotted down in my brain. Whenever I had to make a decision I would pull out the proper quote and make my final choice based on what it said. This sounds like a good way to live your life, but it isn’t. It is completely maddening and will drive you to insanity.

The problem seemed to arise when I would have two quotes on my bookshelf that involved the same topic and yet be polar opposites about their message. A good example would be “Don’t procrastinate; just get the job done,” and “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” They both sound equally promising, and yet they both seemed wrong. What was I to do when I needed to decide one or the other? I didn’t know? I couldn’t think for myself. I had no independent thoughts. All I had was a bookshelf of other people’s ideas, other peoples’ independent thoughts. That is why I burned the bookcase. I lit every quote on fire and just started over. I don’t need other people to make my decisions for me.

From that day on I was free. The chains were detached, all the locks broken, all the doors unlocked. I took a vow to never go back to my previous ways. You do not have to be limited other people trying to convince you that their message is the right one. We can all make choices on our own beliefs, and do not always have to follow the beliefs of others if we don’t want to. However if you do follow the beliefs of others, and follow them willingly, by all means continue. That is part of the magic of making you own decisions. Your decision can be to follow that of others if that is what you choose, but for me personally that stage is over. I will do what I think is right, what I believe is right in the problems I know I will have to overcome. I do not have to be held back by a single little bookcase of meaningless ideas.

Looking back I guess I do have a belief but it is like I am almost afraid to say it because I do not want to influence your thoughts. By now you can already figure out my belief by the content of this essay, but whether you want to store it in your bookcase or not is completely up to you.