One Strong Belief by Buster Benson
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?
I had trouble with this one, spent most of the day yesterday thinking that I had completely surrounded myself with people I agreed with. And then I realized that it isn’t true, or at least not exactly. I have these segmented social groups so that on the one hand I can be comfortable with one set of beliefs, and on the other I can espouse positions that are superficially incompatible. (It’s the science/magic dichotomy. I know I’m not the only one.)
Because something I believe is this: the universe is conscious, and has intent, and communicates it to us regularly. Call it god, or gods, or the collective consciousness, what have you. There is something there. I tend to be agnostic in the main, but deep down, I believe in The Mystery.
I don’t go so far as to say that there is one true goal, or purpose, or meaning. I don’t know that this consciousness is universally benevolent, or is watching out for us as individuals (although there probably are parts of it that do). The only thing that I am sure it wants is for there to continue to be life. That’s what we’re all doing in our various ways, trying to make some sense of the universe that allows there to continue to be life.
I think that we’ve spent the last several hundred years trying out a particularly aggressive form of competition, in which the continuance of human life, and particularly human life that we can see in our immediate vicinity, is the only form of life that is to be preserved. I think that we are getting to the point that we are aware that this approach is a mistake. It was a very effective way of making billions of human beings, but it seems likely to be incompatible with the main drive here, which is for there to continue to be life.
This consciousness that is arising in us has been billions of years in the making. It includes competition and consumption, but it also includes cooperation and conservation. At some level, we are collectively telling a story about which of those strategies works better to keep life around. So far, competition and consumption have been winning at making there be lots of life (at least of the human variety), but they don’t look like they’re going to be very good at keeping it alive (since that has come at the expense of enormous varieties of other life).
Actively living it? Well. Trying out the different story. Connecting with others who share the approach of cooperation and conservation, whether they believe there is intent to it or not. Reaching out to others who want to share in the preservation of the life we are blessed with. Seeking those who do share this belief so that the story gains strength. Fanning the flames of passion, blowing little sparks into the universe, letting the love flow through me. Hoping that something I do will help to allow there to continue to be life.