This I Believe

Alexander - Washington, District of Columbia
Entered on September 15, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in me. I believe in my capability of individual to do the impossible. I extend my belief far beyond a student passing a hard class and into the realm of a Zen Buddhist who makes his body impenetrable through mere willpower. I can’t exactly balance myself on the sharp side of a sword, but I can defy gravity in other ways, like in an airplane or a helicopter. Is making a several ton hunk of metal float any less impossible? After all, now I can float at fifty thousand feet over an ocean.

What I am suggesting is that the impossible, the magical, and the fantastic are within the realm of the individual. The powerful potions of ancient fairy tales are realized in pharmaceuticals and the horrific wands of evil wizards are called guns. The difference between the impossible things and the real is the means by which they take place. Both a witch’s potion and a drug can make you live, die, or hallucinate, but the witch’s powers come from Pagan gods while the pharmacist’s comes from an in depth understanding of chemistry. Both have the same effect, only their means of achieving it differ.

The idea that the impossible can be solved by simply changing the method of achieving it is the ultimate individual empowerment, assuming that one is capable finding the correct method. All I need to achieve the impossible is a brain that is capable of finding the correct method. If I want to read your mind, I can either force you to think something I determine or develop a brain scanner that can read it for me. Either way, I would be disclosing the contents of your thoughts, just not in the way one might expect me to try.

There are limitations to what I can do, referred to as the Laws of Nature, but perhaps even those are becoming arbitrary. After all, according to quantum physics, nothing is impossible. If I pushed on a brick wall, the molecules in my body and the wall may align in such a way that I pass straight through it. Unfortunately, that alignment is incalculably rare.

There is no limit to what I can do, but there is a point where the odds of success need be weighed against the importance of the goal. Spending the rest of my life pushing against a wall or pursuing world peace may result in the desired outcomes, but the amount of time and effort spent would not be practical because the first serves no purpose while the later is far too improbable.