Thank You for the Need To Believe

Beliefs are negated by scientists and skeptics.

Believing is based in and on “faith” or acceptance of something as true without any data whatsoever to prove a damn thing.

But it is an amazing phenomena that seems to occur among humans who have needs beyond the mundane existence of chopping wood and carrying water.

I consider myself a member of the former as well as a member of the latter and have no difficulty integrating these divisive segments of humanity into my personal experience of viewing the world.

Now, I’m not talking about organized religion as a placating placebo for disappointment or fear in regard to mortality.

Nor am I speaking of the kind of magical thinking that gets one killed because they “believed” in the power of their minds to create a force field that was impermeable to lightning and oncoming semi-trucks.

I don’t adhere to the kind of believing that encourages anyone to follow someone else into an abyss of mindless propaganda or mouse traps loaded with false hope.

But I like believing. I like trusting.

I like thinking that nobody knows everything so maybe there’s something more than we can see with our eyes or measure with instruments that we created in all our scientific glory.

It makes chopping wood go faster and carrying water more effortless.

Believing makes us creative.

It nudges us into exploration, makes us feel, imagine, look up, try harder, and wonder at the wonders all around us.

I am capable of dissecting a “miracle” until it turns to sawdust on my work bench.

I am also capable of accepting (or even making meaning of) a random event or a found object in a synchronistic moment.

Coincidence encourages me.

Believing guides my natural curiosity.

I believe in people. I believe in potential.

I believe in the need to believe as a catalyst to personal growth and ignitor of passion toward understanding.

And believe me, this can get me into trouble, but believe this too, I have never accomplished anything that was not supported by someone believing in me or me believing that I could do it.

Ironic miracles?

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~ by leakelley on May 20, 2011.

3 Responses to “Thank You for the Need To Believe”

  1. A thoughtful, valuable post, Ms. Kelley. But of course more must be said 🙂

    “To believe” is a verb, & therefore is incomplete without a predicate. One cannot assert anything without at least implying belief. “I went to see Ralph” implies the beliefs that a) motion is possible, b) somewhere other than just here exists, & c) someone or something (a bird, a dog, a building?) named Ralph exists.

    “Belief,” then, is a precondition of the making of a sentence (as in, for instance, “I believe that what I just wrote is true.”). All statements imply one or more beliefs.

    One cannot not possess beliefs.

    But – & this is the important thing in this discussion – there exist different classes of those predicates in which beliefs are transmitted. Not all classes are equal. Some refer to external referents, as in “That is a vase.” Some to internal ones, such as emotions or intentions. Some refer to delusions: “Joseph Stalin Neepers is in my underwear drawer” (such statements arise & are common when one’s experience of something ceases to be largely the same from moment to moment, as occurs in psychotic states). Some refer to desires: “I want to own a stereo.” Others refer to desires unhinged: “I sent a dollar to Pastor Crook because Jesus will give me a Mercedes-Benz.” A large class of other predicates refer to words for which the only observable referents are the words themselves: “I believe in gods, eternally & absolutely True prophets & holy books, angels, devils, etc.. etc.).

    So … I suspect it is an error to say humans are possessed of a “need” to believe. Instead, I propose that beliefs are as necessary to sentience as are oceans to fish, & that beliefs, like oceans, are made of very complex chemicals, some of which are suitable & others unsuitable for good health. We wisely try to clean rivers we poisoned. Minds are just as precious.

  2. Absolutely beautiful, timely, welcomed. Thank you Lea!

  3. You have no idea how much I needed to see a sexy, lil’ dancing mouse! I believe…

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