This I Believe

Loretta - Parlin, New Jersey
Entered on December 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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This I Believe

In its duration, human kind has encountered and defeated many opponents. Sinister creatures endowed with dagger like claws and teeth capable of shredding through muscles and crushing bones were defeated when man became advanced in weaponry. Treacherous elements of nature like hurricanes, tornadoes, and various other storms can now be detected before their advent thus making them less powerful than they once were. The massive and often dangerous forms of land and water like mountains, forests, and oceans are now no match for the technology man has developed to cross any terrain on this planet that gets in its way. Disease has been rendered less powerful than it once was with the discovery of medicines and vaccines. Even the most daunting and devastating opponent, death, will eventually be overpowered by man’s sheer determination to conquer and thrive. Already, human kind has proven itself capable of creating life with cloning, what is to stop it from further playing God and conquering death? I believe that mankind’s greatest and most formidable enemy is not nature, pestilence, or even death but is ironically the self.

The self is the heart, mind, soul, and body—together forming an entity. The mind is the mechanism that controls what actions the body performs. The heart is where the passionate beliefs of the mind are stored and the soul is the spiritual flame that brings the self into being. The human being would be inadequate without all of these parts working together as one.

Why is it that the elements surrounding the self have been rendered either less powerful or have been completely dominated? Is man incapable of conquering the self because in order to do so, one must look deep with in and challenge their thoughts and beliefs? Every person has our own personal beliefs that have been accumulated over time from what they have been taught by their religion, school, society, family, as their own experiences. These beliefs are incredibly powerful and can be seen as positive ideals such as living life with integrity and doing the right things or negative such as holding prejudges or having misconceptions about others due to ignorance. A person’s thoughts and beliefs dictate how they live their lives as well as how they behave and what actions they carry out.

In my seventeen, short years of existence, there are many beliefs I have conjured from the world around me as well as the experiences I have been through which I hold to be true. If you were to read all of my beliefs, I’m sure that there would be some that you would disagree with. I’m sure that the same would result if I were to find out about your personal beliefs. The reason this is so is because people are too quick in criticizing the beliefs of others but not their own. They are afraid of what would occur if they were to vigorously analyze their personal ideals. They are afraid of which beliefs would stand and which would fall due to rigorous testing or examination. They are afraid of the possibility of loosing the beliefs they have formed which have become the basis of who they are more than anything else.

Although there is a possibility of loosing the ideals that make a person who they are, I believe that only the good can stay after all beliefs are examined. The best way for me to summarize what I believe is by quoting Walt Whitman when he said, “Reexamine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your flesh shall be a great poem.” With out examining their beliefs, and living life solely on the good ones, man will never truly conquer the self.