This I Believe

CoCo - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 21, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in the importance of wonder, of being able to ponder and ask oneself the Big Questions: Who are we, what is our purpose in life, what is life’s meaning, who made you the boss of me?

As humans, we place a high importance on being the only animals existing on Earth that have the capacity and the higher consciousness to ask these questions. Yet the only way to do so is to think about them. I am a huge proponent of staring out the window, eyes glazed, mind spaced out, and, as a student, one of my biggest complaints with the school system is that it so often cuts into my time and minimizes my window of opportunity to stare out of it. Wonder, for me, enriches and opens up my world. And not only do I wonder, but I engage in wonderment, in awe for the unanswerable wonders in life. I take pleasure in knowing there will always be something for me to wonder about.

I believe in the necessity of questioning. Having grown up in the 60s, my parents taught me on many occasions to question authority, to take nothing at face value. Another thing we value as humans and especially as Americans is our right to choose, our liberty to determine our lives. There is no one size fits all way to live, just as there is no definitive answer to our questions. I, myself, am a naturally curious person, constantly wanting know and gain insight into the lives of others, if nothing more than for the pure “wow” of it. I inherited this trait from my mother, who after talking to someone for five minutes, can tell me about their childhood, how many times they’ve been married and what their children plan to be when they grow up. I hope I never lose my interest and curiosity in things. I hope always to question and seek my answers.

I believe in the importance of searching for answers. We cannot afford to take ourselves at face value. The only way to get what we want out of life is to know what we want and thus, know who we are. In the world we live in, almost everything is uncertain. Therefore, we must be able to immerse ourselves in such uncertainty, to wonder where wondering will produce no answer or an answer that may cause discomfort or disturbance. We cannot fear to feel uncertain in ourselves or fear looking for our own answers. We cannot fear who we are or who we may turn out to be

I’ve always been a spacey person, the flip side of which means that I often find myself in “Oh my God, I forgot my________ (fill in the important item)” situations. Throughout Elementary and Middle School, teachers would report, only half laughing, that though I was sitting right in front of them, I was sometimes nowhere near the classroom. I put much effort into emulating my cat, who can sit for hours, curled up on her favorite spot on the couch, basking in the sun, staring out the window and I appear to be a natural. One summer, my parents sent me to sports camp in order to increase my hand-eye coordination level of zero. Upon picking me up, my mother asked how I’d enjoyed it. Looking at her balefully, I told her that I just wished they’d let me lie on the grass and wonder. She told me to stick the knife in a little further and give it a good twist.

Socrates pictured the mind as a dark cave containing a fire whose flames cast images and ideas upon the walls of the cave. This idea has always appealed to me as how I’d like to see myself and my mind. We are in constant flux, constantly in a state of having ideas projected into our brains. These ideas are worth our wonder. And this, I believe.