We as humans need to believe. It’s what drives us, shapes us, and makes us who we are. Show me a human that believes in nothing, and well, they at least believe in nihilism. Hence, believing in nothing is believing in something; you see, we ultimately need to believe.
The thing that intrigues me most about belief is not just what we choose to believe in (although that can be surreal, amusing and absurd all in itself), but whom we choose to believe. The importance and credence we give certain people, almost exalting them to idol status, just to uphold our beliefs. It happens all the time, with religious figures, politicians, governments, people in authority (although these are the exact people I do NOT believe in, but then again, that’s me). Some people can hear something all day from one source and not take the fact on board and then said from the mouth of the ‘right’ person (right to them of course), and suddenly this statement becomes gospel. Think of the faith we put in doctors. We go to them with a problem, often ignoring our own intuition, listen to their advice, which we gather is steeped in experience and education (let’s hope so, or hello malpractice), and then take their advice without a second thought. Then again, the Internet has made us all bit more skeptical in regards to the medical realm and made us all think we can diagnose ourselves. Which at times is useful and at times dangerous at best…according to Google at any one point, one can either have restless leg syndrome, meningitis or a rare blood disorder.
When you look at belief on a widespread scale, you can truly get a sense of its importance on society. Humans believe in religion, the intangible, things they can’t necessarily touch but nonetheless hold a formidable power…love, hope, faith, a moral code. They believe in aliens, conspiracies, advertising companies and the fact that kale and super foods will make them live longer. Hell, we’ll believe just about anything if the source is inspiring enough. Just flip through the channels on your television and you can find a hundred different people trying to convince you to believe in something. Believe in their product, their manifesto, their politics, their juicing techniques, and their method to make your butt look like a 19 year old. It really doesn’t matter what it is, they just want you to believe, and yes, often belief begets buying their beliefs in a literal sense. For some belief can be a costly thing.
The problem for me is not only the importance we place on those spouting this information (I mean let’s be honest, one human spouting truth and knowledge is just that, a human ripe with error and agenda. It’s their truth that they want to be our truth), but the transience of our beliefs. I have always respected those that believe in organized religion. It’s not for me, and never will be, but the steadfast commitment of their beliefs certainly earns my admiration. But saying this, things get less delightful in my world when those same believers try to force me to believe, or at least tell me that my beliefs are less than theirs because they’re not one in the same. It’s also fascinating to me when beliefs quickly wade into that murky water of convenience. You know how that goes, ‘I believe as so long as the circumstances suit me.’ Or as I call it, the pick and mix of belief systems, e.g. 'I believe we should all love one another as the bible says, but let’s not love that guy over there cause he believes and behaves not to my liking.' Ah humans, we’re an amusing and hypocritical sort.
So what do you believe? And more importantly, why do you believe it? Is it in fashion, or so people think you're moral, upstanding, intelligent? Or is it fundamentally impossible for you to believe anything else? It is an interesting question to ask oneself and you just may realize that things you thought you believed in were leftover from childhood or were things you were always told you must believe in from the powers that be. Merely having children forces one to reexamine their beliefs. On a daily basis with the King I am forced to question my beliefs, or at least find myself examining them (Now why on earth am I telling him to believe in that?? I gave up believing in that years ago!). And you suddenly realize that like it or not, you’re handing down your own (often ever-evolving) beliefs to your children, but also hoping upon hope they’ll find their own way to establish a belief system…ahem, in the hope that their beliefs will make you proud of course and not utterly terrified.
Here's to believing.