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"Belief, O Cursed Blessing!", an Essay
<DR.TURNER'SSCIENCESHOW> Okay kids, ready for our next demonstration? Here we have one of those Web page authors, the kind you can find in any computer store these days. But it's slightly different. Do you see that? It's well-rounded. Observe this square hole. Rigid little thing, isn't it? We call it society. And in this experiment here...*struggles a bit*...we see that we cannot stick a round object inside a square hole. </DR.TURNER'SSCIENCESHOW>
I don't fit in anywhere. I don't hobnob with the elite. I don't hang around the 'in' crowds. I don't fuck around. I don't wear these clothes, listen to this music, or comb my hair the way I do because I'm trying to fit in anywhere. Why is that so hard to understand?
I think the main reason I'm radically different from most of my peers and fellow human beings is because I still believe in things. Did I hear the word 'idealist' roll off your tongue? I thought I did. How sad. Our society has been reduced to a disarrayed Rolling Stone Magazine-ish mash of confusion, mayhem, and disillusionment. And I cannot admit that society has ended up this way honestly -- in fact it's actually rather hollow.
Take the latest presidential vote, for example. The U.S. population has shown to the world just how pathetic it is. Lowest turn-out rates for the largest democratic nation in the world. As far as I know, I'm the only one of my friends who even had the motivation to go out and vote. Whether I did vote or not is something I really shouldn't discuss, but I will. Turns out you need one of those absentee ballots to vote if you're not in the same county you're registered in. I suppose I should've checked before the voting week, but it was too late. Maybe they'll make voting a little more convenient for people in the future. But anyway, friends I talked to had no inclination to vote because "the system had forgotten about us." "It wouldn't make a difference who I vote for." "I don't believe in the system anymore." "I never did believe in the system." Spoiled brats. It's cool to say things like that. It's cool to think the world's out to get you. It's cool to make excuses for your laziness.
Listen up kids, it's not cool.
I believe the government works, in its own little bureaucratic way. I'm a realist, but probably influenced by my dad's optimism a bit more than society's pessimism. I believe voting still makes a difference, if not in the number games. I knew Clinton would win, but I was planning to vote anyway. My vote stood for my right to speak out for the government of the United States of America. It stood for the principles of democracy. It did not stand for my complete acceptance of President Clinton. Too bad people I knew never got past that part. They only voted for the figures, plastic as they were, not the ideals behind the right to vote.
Many people these days slumber through their whole lives shunning everything which doesn't work perfectly. They have no concept of how things should work ideally, and have no motivation to try to fix things which have been covered up by red tape. They have no foresight and they have no potential to pass their next intellectual plateaus. They spend their days slaughtering the visionaries of the world, as I've written about before. Their days consist of waking up, not reading the paper, shambling about in a daze, and ignoring the people who create. They might as well sleep, eat, defecate, and breed. Simple animals. Pigs, to be precise.
Just because I believe in things doesn't mean I've actually found them in the real world. I hadn't noticed it before, but I can probably attribute trying things as they come out to my quest to find something which operates successfully. I joined the 'Net two years ago, before the big bandwagons started arriving. I knew "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand" by Primitive Radio Gods was going to be a hit, two months before it hit the stations. I saw Matt Groening's work before he started The Simpsons. I hear about things long before they become concrete, such as political maneuvers, corporate rumors, and so on. By the way, that's why I'm going into marketing. But my point is that I am willing to explore this world we live in, while many others are not. I want to believe, as Mulder's poster says, while others just shrug it off. Mental suicide.
And you may be curious about this...yes, I believe in the Internet and I believe in love. The Internet will work itself out in time, as will our "dying" planet. We were waiting for a new world where our "gods", or the sysadmins, could be living, breathing human beings who worked together to provide readily-accessible information and ideas. We wanted to be able to pass information and words of love, fury, or apathy to people somewhere else on the globe. We have it now. Likewise, we will always have our world. That does not mean, however, that the world will always have us. The earth will make it through the poison we unleash on the lands, but we won't. Humans aren't part of the long-run equation. And some people, again, are too ignorant to accept that.
"So Ben, you believe in The Bible too, right?" No, at least, not in the way it's taught. I know evolution to be a fact, yet I openly admit I have no idea what started the whole process. Without expanding (digressing?) into another subject, I'll just say that my beliefs are unset as far as religion goes. I am not an agnostic, though. I know something is influencing how our universe works. But I cannot subscribe to the insecure, ignorant, and blatantly separatist philosophies which are taught these days.
And as much smack as I talk about love in general, I can't imagine experiencing a world without it. Love is held in such high regard by me, to be honest, that I wish not to take part in it until I am ready to dedicate a lot of time to it. When that time will come, I do not know. I am like Aeneas, unsure of his actual destination and unsure of when or how he will get there (hopefully my girlfriends won't construct huge funeral pyres on the beach and torch themselves alive, only to meet me again in the Underworld...). If, however, I did not believe in love, I would have nothing. The greatest works of literature, filled with love of even the most trivial things, would not exist. There would be no such thing as a family. Oh who am I kidding? There wouldn't be any higher-order life. Love is that much a part of any sentient being.
It is popular to distrust and avoid. It is popular to do what others do in an attempt to appease your guilts and insecurities.
I trust. I do not avoid. I do what I do because I love it and it is me.
I believe, therefore I am not popular.
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