Sunday, November 7, 2010

magical thinking

I have never been religious. I have never been able to outright say that I believe in God. I don't consider myself to be a person of faith, but I've found that I do hold certain beliefs that are just as illogical as religious faith. I think the main one is that I am not original; there are other people in this world who are very much like me. Because of this, I find it easy to imagine that if I make a decision to do something, someone somewhere in the world will make that same decision.

I use this rationale all the time, particularly when I'm doing something I think is a good or right thing to do.I used it at the Stumptown Comics Festival, when I got to talking to a part-time comics artist and decided to buy her printed comic for a couple of dollars, even though normally I might not have spent money on it otherwise. I figured that if I was supporting someone doing the thing they loved, then there would be other people who would do the same thing. Maybe one day someone would be willing to come along and help support me.

I also used it when I went to the Rally to Restore Sanity in D.C. In a lot of ways, going to the rally was a crazy decision. It meant driving a total of almost twenty hours, eschewing all schoolwork responsibilities, and then being lost in a sea of literally hundreds of thousands of people. But do you know how I felt while I was standing there? My friends and I three people in the vast multitude? I felt that if we hadn't come, there would have been other people just like us who would have made the decision to come, but just didn't. I know that 250,000 people did not show up just because I did, but if I hadn't found a way to justify the trip, there would have been others like me who would have done the same thing, and less of us would have gone. The event wouldn't have been as spectacular, because the coolest thing about that rally was that each of us who went finally knew that we were not alone in our voices and opinions, in our dissatisfactions and disappointments, and in our hopes that things would be okay.

It doesn't really make any sense, but I find it comforting all the same. Do you believe in anything irrational?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Ana said...

i thought i'd be able to answer easily, but...hm.

11/7/10, 11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I have a few strange mini-belief systems.
First, and most irreverent, I believe (or at least practice a belief) in a God of Petty Things. I curse at this God when I stub my toe, or spill tea on myself, and I thank him when it's a nice day out, or someone is kind to me. I would never hold this God responsible for world-wide problems, only my own small ones.

Second, I have a quasi Catholic-like relationship with Freud. I can't stand a lot of his ideas, but I also find myself using them to explain things in my life. And I respect him as a person. Freud, more than any other psychologist or philosopher, has taken a firm hold in my mind, something that I will forever wrestle with.

Thirdly, and most cosmically, I suppose, is my belief in Fate. A lot of people are really opposed to the idea of Fate, because they think it means that you don't have free will. But I think that every move, every atom that changes place in time, was destined to do so. So if you decide to do something, you were always going to make the decision, but more importantly, you HAVE TO DECIDE ANYWAYS. And if you think "Oh, I don't have a free will, guess I'm just going to never make a decision again", then that was fated to be as well. Fate doesn't operate on the level of human consciousness, it doesn't care what you're thinking about, only that things progress through time. It also doesn't operate with reason; you can't say "oh, that was fated, so it happened for a reason". No no, it just happened because of it's place in the continuum of time, because of the placement of atoms before and then after.
It's hard to explain, sometimes, because people want to give Fate human qualities, but that's not how I see it. Fate existed long before people, and will continue to exist long after there aren't any people.

Sorry for the long comment, but you did ask :)

3/7/11, 12:34 PM  

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