This I Believe

I believe that humans live in a constructed world composed of myths, propaganda, lies, half-truths, ideas, social relationships, and the individual itself. 

I believe that I will disappear without a trace.  I suppose I might leave some ashes but ashes get discarded and monuments eventually are reused for their stone.

Perhaps I’ll leave behind some art.  But paintings, sculpture, and literature are mostly thrown away.

I’d like to be exceptional but given the few famous historical figures and their works that come to my mind compared to all who have ever been, the odds on fame are low.  I will be one of 9 billion contemporaries, at least some of whom are very creative and interesting people.  None of them know me and I really don’t know any of them except through the news, which generates myth.

Whatever I believe about myself and the world will disappear when I disappear.

Perhaps science will save me, make me live longer, but sooner or later fatal accidents happen.  If I’m careful, I’ll die of boredom.

Even if I have a genius for life, who I am now is not likely to be who I am a thousand years from now any more than I now resemble myself as a baby.

I suppose I might make some anonymous contribution to my culture but cultures come and go, leaving crumbling ruins and undecipherable scripts.  Most folks now don’t care much about the past.  History will dissolve me.

Even the earth, that cracked crust covering a ball of molten rock, even that will disappear as the sun grows.

Even in some science-fiction imagination whereby future generations carry my name etched in golden plates beyond the death of the sun, beyond the heat-death of the universe, even if they were so incredibly devoted to my memory of my reputation, I couldn’t possibly know any of that now.  And after all, how could they possibly get it right?

Perhaps I’m wrong about the gods; I don’t think I’m right about very much.  But even so, why would a god of all of space and time and matter and energy care about me or us or even our own plain little corner of the universe?

That’s what I believe but that’s not how I live.

I believe I am stuck in the present with dreams of the future and nightmares of the past.

I live in a world of beliefs, expectations, words, ideas, dreams, plans, conversations, memories, fantasies, histories, scientific theories, nightmares, moon rises, parties, families, phobias, injuries, pleasures, musicians, paintings, movies, enemies, jokes, and paradoxes that evolve too fast to be analyzed.  My life contains beliefs and is not contained by them.

A belief is one of the many props of personality, one of the weapons with which the person defends the emptiness of the inner being hungering for dominance over the Other.