This I Believe

Chai - Strafford, Pennsylvania
Entered on February 26, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in nothing. Not hippies, rednecks, Buddhism, communism, nihilism, fascism, anarchy, punk rock, smooth jazz, going with the flow, planning your future, motivation, boredom, war, peace, diplomacy, democracy, yoga, French fries, transcendentalism, opera, family reunions, and certainly not the Rolling Stones. No one philosophy, ideal, or movement, can account for all the different aspects that I like to believe I possess.

Looking back at my childhood, I realize that I wasted many years trying to become something I’m not. Peer pressure is present for everyone, but the extent to which we let it affect us is self-determined, and I had let it run through me. At some point, I had an existential crisis. Afterwards, I’m ashamed to admit, I thought I was special, or that I had discovered some secret knowledge that put me above everyone else. I became some sort of cynical monster, self-righteously criticizing everything around me. Taking on my position of Andy Rooney bred with George Carlin, I thought that I alone was in the right, and everyone else was wrong.

But I was most definitely wrong. It doesn’t take a deep, thoughtful genius to have an existential breakdown and whine, “What’s the difference? We’re all just going to die in the end.” It’s useless to live on phantom eggshells; calling people corporate sellouts and criticizing everything, just for some vaguely defined purpose of a fulfilling life. Of course, the other extreme of subverting yourself to popular opinion can’t be too healthy either, but extremes are never a good thing. So, basically, I had twice contradicted the person who I was living as every day, and evolved as a person. That is, naturally selected as a person.

Such is my erratic, advanced ADD-state of mind that no one day are my beliefs exactly the same as the day before. One day I could fawn over the melodic destruction of Nirvana and then the next morning, declare that Cobain was just a whiny bastard after all. If you want me to, then I’ll criticize the war-mongering, racist government for you, but I can just as easily divert my anger to pompous liberal elitists.

Of course, such an insecure and unstable mindframe can be unnerving and frightening, because you never really know who you are. But, perhaps I am still slightly cynical, or more likely just lazy, because I don’t really care about who I am. At least not right now. If my mind wants to waver dangerously between opinions then I’m not going to sit down and force it to decide what I should believe in. Moreover, I realize that I’m not always going to be like this. Eventually, through this process of flip-flopping, I’ll settle down to the concepts that I really have faith in, and commit myself to them.

Considering all of this, if I could boil my thesis down to an aphorism then it would be this: I believe that there’s no need to worry about how to live your life, or force yourself to live in a certain way, because it’ll happen by itself. So, I suppose I do believe in something after all.