This I Believe

Andrew - Briarcliff Manor, New York
Entered on June 30, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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I stand here at the cusp of great change in my life. Soon I will enter college, progress to graduate school, have a career, make money, and achieve success. A wise man once said, “You make your own luck,” and I have every intention of making a great deal of the stuff.

I know there are others like me: movers and shakers in training, perhaps listening to “This I Believe” and pondering the great questions of life, the universe, and everything. What do we believe? Well, it goes without saying that we believe in ourselves. But, it would be sheer arrogance to write a treatise on mere self-confidence; no, what I have in mind is actually the opposite.

I believe in other people.

Descartes said, “Cogito ergo sum; I think, therefore I am.” I think, and know that I exist; but I don’t know if other people exist; I believe they exist. I realized as a child that I cannot prove the existence of other people. They may be robots, aliens, hallucinations, or any manner of fanciful construct. As a skeptical naturalist atheist, I rarely believe anything without solid evidence. There is no evidence that other people are not mere figments of my imagination, but I believe, with the very core of my being, in other people.

I believe in partnership. I believe that other people and I can work together to achieve a goal. Lewis and Clark, Ben and Jerry, Simon and Garfunkel, Jobs and Wozniak… the list of great partnerships in history is nearly endless, and endlessly varied. Already my friends and I have formed many partnerships, my brother often joins me in my projects, and one day I hope to find a woman with whom I can form a lifelong partnership of a more serious nature. I believe that other people have something to offer me, and I believe that they have the capacity to work with what I have to offer them.

I believe in inspiration. I believe that other people can inform and change my life. Even in my short time here on Earth, I have been inspired by many great individuals: my parents and grandparents, mentors, friends, teachers, and others. I’ve also admired many people from afar; they too have inspired me with their words, thoughts, and actions. I have also been inspired by the creativity of artists, writers, architects, and others – what is inspiring to me is not natural, but ‘artificial’: the great works produced by humankind. Though they stimulate my mind, I do not believe they were produced by my mind. I believe they were made by other people.

I believe in other people. Life can be strange and convoluted, and other people make life more fun, varied, interesting, productive, and just generally more tolerable.