This I Believe

Justin - east lansing, Michigan
Entered on March 22, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in the innate desire and human obligation to obtain knowledge. I believe that all people should have the chance to learn and, therefore, the chance to fulfill this relentless need. In modern times, scientific innovation and the desire to learn are smothered by authoritarian regulations. In a society that preaches about looks, money, and religion rather than wisdom, curiosity, and discovery, I believe that it is important for everyone to explore science and philosophize separate from the pressures of their surroundings.

In the 9th grade, my biology teacher taught us briefly about evolution and even more briefly about the beginning of the universe. However, as soon as elementary questions began to evolve into elementary debates, the teacher quieted the arguments and segued to a new topic. Later in high school, I engaged in similar debates with my peers outside of school. One girl in particular had an interesting contribution to the conversation, one that has changed my relationship with authority from unquestioning acceptance to skeptical analysis. She attended a private, catholic school where she was forced to write in a way that conformed to the beliefs of the church. Evolution was non existent in their curriculum, and if she mentioned any alleged “blasphemous” ideas in a school related body of work she faced the possibility of being expelled. Since then, I have attempted to view all sides of every argument in order to create my own opinions. To use Frost’s poem turned cliché, I have attempted to take “the road less traveled.”

In everyday life, I face obstacles and constantly have to clear hurtles in order to pursue my curiosity and attempt to discover the unknown. However, if I were to conform to the wishes of authority, I would be forced into acceptance, into a religious, political, and scientific pawn. In order to avoid this, I strive daily to expand my knowledge and question my surroundings.

I believe that in order to succeed in the world, I must learn as much as possible. However, I also believe that many authorities discourage the quest for knowledge by emplacing rules and warnings that condemn curiosity. I believe that it is impossible to learn everything there is to be learnt, but it is natural, even necessary, to try. I believe that with this learning comes the power to communicate, the power to teach, and the power to help.