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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.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 22nd, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)
Well. First of all, I don't think anyone can condense their entire belief system into a small, bite sized morsel. And I think that we are seldom totally consistent when it comes right down to it. But there is one thing that I have learned about people the world over:

Most of the time, people really do get what they want in life.
Jun. 22nd, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
I love this segment on NPR! I too have tried to define my beliefs, asking myself over and over what is it I believe to be a Universal Truth, something I live my every day life exemplifying. It's hard! But I will try to come up with something, right after I do my letter meme.
Jun. 22nd, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
Short Version
"I'd rather have a few moments of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special."
Jun. 22nd, 2006 08:20 pm (UTC)
Life manages somehow to simultaneously be:

  • Inconveniently long

  • Inconveniently short

  • Conveniently short

  • Conveniently long

It's weird.
Jun. 22nd, 2006 08:21 pm (UTC)
It's this whole big thing!

(In an amusing aside - I originally typoe'd that sentence as "it's this whole being thing" which is perhaps even more appropriate, albeit unintentional.)
Jun. 22nd, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
First there is a mountain.
Then there is no mountain.
Then there is.

And that's what bugs me...
Jun. 22nd, 2006 11:00 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking about this all day.
I just came back to it, and saw the last line in a whole new way.
You see, I don't think the last line is referring to a mountain at all.
Jun. 23rd, 2006 01:19 pm (UTC)
My view is similar: I don't think the line refers to the mountain exclusively.

I'd be very curious to know how the verse comes across in its original language though. Sanskrit? Mandarin? Welsh? FORTRAN?
Jun. 22nd, 2006 10:49 pm (UTC)
Well this should be an interesting endeavor - keep us posted on how your condensed beliefs turn out.
Jun. 22nd, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
Well I'd love for anyone to articulate ANY belief, condensed or no, complete or no.
Jun. 23rd, 2006 01:19 pm (UTC)
I'll check back & will try to formulate my own. I think my problem is that I don't hold any belief long enough for it to become a conviction - I already know that my beliefs change with time and/or extra insight, clarity, experience, etc.

So far I haven't come up with a single thing that I can strongly state "I believe" about. I'm not so flaky as to one day believe one thing & the next day believe the opposite, but...ah well, I'm not saying this very well.

I'm very curious to see what you come up with, though.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 22nd, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC)
As is my response. :)
Jun. 23rd, 2006 03:31 am (UTC)
The ground is too steep
the soil too loose to construct
solid foundations
Jun. 23rd, 2006 03:35 am (UTC)
The winter may seem
endless and impossible
but ah, Spring ... and hope.
Jun. 23rd, 2006 04:40 am (UTC)
Life Philosophy:
Everything is either boring or hard.

Context is Everything.
Jun. 23rd, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC)
I believe that everyone has a Destiny. But if you don't like it, you can use Will to Change it. But the the cost for using Will is receiving Karma.
Jun. 23rd, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC)
My favorite of the NPR series was the chap who compared all of existence to barbeque.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )