We would all be dead if we believed in parallel universes. If we take the idea that every action that could possibly happen happens in another universe and truly embrace it and live life by it, all the human ambition that has brought us this far would die. If you truly believe that an outcome is certain, why work towards it? The saying that actions speak louder than words has long been recognized by humanity, but do actions speak louder than beliefs?
It’s the small things in life that make me questions the premises on which my beliefs are founded. The kindness and patience I am proud to possess are painfully tested in the way I spoke to that poor customer service representative who was just trying to help me. This belief is tested in my unexplainable bouts of anger, in the stab of the pen that had left a scar on my desk, in the way I almost broke my computer from smashing the keyboard, in all the ways that I can not discount to the normal ways of getting by in life. I’ve always known that I was weak, but I believed that I was too strong to cry. Yet I was surprised when the tears that fell from my eyes the other day had felt foreign to my eyes but so familiar to my soul. I believe so many things about myself and the world, but a reminder seems to always slip in: I can’t be sure that I believe in anything.
I can dedicate the entire rest of my life looking at cells through a microscope, searching for a new discovery, yet I could never truly imagine that that is what I am made up of. I can study the clock, waiting for it to stop, waiting to experience the first ripple of time, yet I would know that I am wasting my time, growing old chasing a fantasy while my friends mindlessly celebrate their youth. I can pretend that free will does not exist, yet still agonize over choices not made, regret those that were, anticipate those that will be. I can believe that wisdom comes with old age, yet the only thing I would be noticing as my years fly by is the stiffness of my joints, the whiteness of my hair, the fogginess of my memory: the promise of truth forgotten. It’s like watching the procession of reality through a glass window: the possibilities and truths appear tantalizing, yet my mind cannot seem to reach out and embrace them. It can only watch and pretend to understand.
I think that there is a fundamental difference between beliefs and knowledge. Knowledge is a transient being: always susceptible to change, always ready to pushed into the back of one’s mind when a wave of reality comes crashing down out of nowhere, and so easy to shove into a neuron in our brain and then disregarded or forgotten. In this analogy, knowledge includes opinions as well, since it has the same amount of permanence in our minds as a fact does. Belief is a much more powerful being within us, if it’s even there at all. Defined as “an acceptance that a statement is true,” belief requires an immense devotion and no room for doubt. It’s the difference between knowing that humans are made up of atoms and 99% empty space as opposed to actually seeing yourself that way. It’s the difference between knowing that the sky is blue and being able to touch it. It’s the difference between seeing and feeling.
I doubt that humans can ever accept anything as an unquestionable truth; our brains just can’t embrace such an omnipresent commitment. Though we see ourselves as powerful and intelligent creatures, I think our brains are still wired toward survival, anything beyond our five senses are our fleeting attempts to use this thing called consciousness. Thoughts that seem to appear out of nowhere are treated as unwanted guests by the perfect and clean circuitry of our brains; they have no foundation to grow, so they quickly die.
So we remain, animals with embarrassingly short attention spans that will only ever get shorter with each passing generation. Our ancient survival instincts, trying to make sense of the flashing lights of the TV, become like scared children who have lost their parents in a crowd. We go against all primitive instinct to sell ourselves to giant machines. We surround ourselves with useless luxuries, further disassociating ourselves from our minds. We start to fade away. We become mindless animals. We will never be able to believe.
Originally posted on The Literati Mafia