June 22nd, 2006

wwad?

This I believe...

There's a segment on NPR that I hear from time to time. It's called "This I Believe"; various people, some public figures and some just work-a-day listeners, record a brief segment on some distillation of what their personal beliefs are.

Every time I hear it, I realize how hard a thing that is to do. I think about what I would say, were I to encapsulate my personal beliefs in a few paragraphs, and I find it next to impossible. I'd love to say that it's because the scope of my beliefs is so grand and sublime that it would be impossible to express in a sound-bite or short written work - but the truth is much closer to this: I'm not sure what I believe in. Oh, I have certain heuristics for living the good life, some borrowed from philosophers, some a product of my Protestant upbringing, some a product of Buddhist thought and studies - and some just plain ol' gut instincts. But when I get right down to it, I find it very hard to express them in a defensible way that is logically consistent and not based on "Just because" as a rationale.

So I'm mulling this over, and I intend to come up with some actual statement of what I believe in. It would further be interesting to repeat this exercise every few years to see how much or how little my beliefs have changed or are informed by my personal experience. After all, if a belief is based on a universal truth (and oughtn't it be?) should personal experience impact it at all? Or does it?

At any rate, I invite you, my friends, to try and express your beliefs in whatever way you find appropriate. If not here as a comment, then in your own journals. I am very interested to read your thoughts and beliefs; and why you think as you do.