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09 November 2004 @ 05:16 pm
What I believe (a mutating, mutable entry)  
From blackthornglade, who got it from munin.

The assignment is simple. Write a statement of what you believe. Stream of consciousness stuff, just write down whatever comes to you. A leads to B leads to Q leads to D. Don't just concentrate on one thing, like abortion or politics. Write about anything and everything that comes to you. The only restriction is that whatever it is you write it must be what you believe. You believe that little green men visit your bedroom every Tuesday at 3:15 AM? Write it down. As long as you believe it.

Note: This piece of writing will evolve. Some comments may refer to earlier versions, and the text in the comment may not match the current text in the essay. This is not an error on the commenter's part.




I am so tempted to write,
I believe in love.
Yes, I believe in music.
I believe in promises
and I believe in you.
but that would be silly.

However.

I believe in the Big Bang and in evolution. I believe that there might be one or more deities, who might or might not be individual entities, aspects of the same entity, or reflections of human thought/desire/need. I believe that it does me no harm to conduct my life as if those deities are real. I generally believe that "God created physics, chemistry, and biology; the rest is left as an exercise for the student". I believe that Sol 3 is not unique, and that life exists in more than one place in the universe. I believe that intelligent life need not be upright and bipedal, but that it's a hell of a lot easier to costume the aliens if it is.

I believe in the golden rule as formulated by Hillel ("Do not unto others what you yourself find hateful") and as modified by someone, somewhere ("Do unto others as you believe, in your best judgment, they would wish to be done unto").

I believe in science and the scientific method. I believe in magic, by which I mean "affecting reality by force of will and/or by appealing to deities," and which some people call prayer.

I believe a lot of things that are so ingrained that I don't see them until I run into them.

I sometimes believe in reincarnation and sometimes in oblivion after death. It depends on my mood.

I believe in Ugol's Law as formulated by Spectrum ("You are not the only one") and in Murphy's Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will"). I knock on wood to avert disaster, and have been known to recite the invocation "St. Vidicon of Cathode, protect us from Murphy and Finagle" -- and mean it.

I believe in the existence of Good and Evil as forces, and that some people are just plain Evil. Some people are just plain Good, too, but they're harder to spot.

I believe that most varieties of "mental illness" are at least as much physiological as psychological, and that treating something like ongoing depression or OCD with drugs is no different from treating diabetes or Parkinson's with drugs. I also believe that many illnesses, both mental and physical, respond well to coping therapy, either alone or in conjunction with other therapies.

I believe in holistic health care/treatment, by which I mean approaching a problem from all possible useful directions, including but not limited to allopathic medicine, various cultures' traditional medicine, emotional support, and magic/prayer.

I believe that gun control means hitting your target.

I believe in approaching life from a perspective of SSC (Safe: The risks are known and minimized as far as possible consistent with the desired results; Sane: The parties are legal and mental adults capable of understanding the risks and making an informed decision; and Consensual). and YKIOK,IJNMK (Your Kink Is Okay, It's Just Not My Kink). Beyond that, I believe that "it ain't nobody's business if you do".

I believe some contradictory things: that government should regulate business and, WITHIN REASON, reduce risk to its citizens from business and each other; at the same time, I believe that government should stay out of my personal life. I like the formulation that "it is not the government's business to prevent me from being stupid, but it is the government's business to prevent me from being cheated". So, for example, I think it is appropriate for the law to require that food producers include nutritional labelling and to require that I turn on my car's headlights after dark or in the rain, but not to require that I marry no more than one person of the physical sex opposite mine.

I do not believe there are exactly two sexes in humans.

I believe that government should provide a social safety net, I believe this is constitutionally valid ("promote the general welfare"), and I am willing to pay taxes for that safety net. I believe that public health and education are common goods.

I believe that democracy is good, but that minority civil rights should not be subject to majority vote. I believe that it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

I believe in moderation. I believe that I am a moderate.

I don't believe that love conquers all, but I do believe that having love is generally a good thing. I believe in love at first sight, in love that develops slowly from friendship, and in love that suddenly blossoms. I believe in romantic love, sexual love, brotherly love, parental love, familial love, and friendly love. I believe that many people can love more than one other person at a time, honestly and honorably, and that relationship configuration is no one's business but those involved.

I believe that all vast knowledge is contained in fandom.

I believe that people should be equal in the eyes of the law. I believe in individual responsibility, within reason (for example, children and the severely mentally disabled should not be held to the same standards as adults of normal intelligence). I believe in the insanity defense, although not always in the way in which it is applied. I believe in making society as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. I believe in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

I do not believe that equal is the same as identical.

I believe that Robin Williams is a comic genius, and probably slightly mad.

I believe that sleep is good, and that naps are evidence that the gods love us and want us to be happy. Depending on my mood, I sometimes believe that about beer, too.

I believe that University bureaucracy will eventually drive me completely insane, but that until it does, it's still a pretty damn good place to work.

I believe that anyone who tries to give me shit about any of the above will be cordially ignored.

ETA: Things I believe about marriage.

ETA: Things I believe about feminism and BDSM.
 
 
We're flat broke, but hey - we do it in style....kshandra on November 9th, 2004 02:41 pm (UTC)
I am so tempted to write,

I believe in love.
Yes, I believe in music.
I believe in promises
and I believe in you.

but that would be cheating.


*chuckle* My instinct was to respond with Sam Black Crow's monologue from American Gods. I just might, anyway, because that scene rocks so utterly.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on November 9th, 2004 04:50 pm (UTC)
I have not read American Gods, so I would find that interesting.
We're flat broke, but hey - we do it in style....: Samuraikshandra on November 9th, 2004 05:38 pm (UTC)
I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen -- I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visted by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkledy lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and women. I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone's ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we'll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of the Worlds. I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. I believe that mankind's destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it's aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there's a cat in a box somewhere who's alive and dead at the same time (although if they don't ever open the box to feed it it'll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself. I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn't even know that I'm alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck. I believe that anyone who says that sex is overrated just hasn't done it properly. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman's right to choose, a baby's right to live, that while all human life is sacred there's nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system. I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.

As I noted to jilesa when she posted this in her journal, Samantha Black Crow is my personal savior.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on November 10th, 2004 07:57 am (UTC)
That is fabulous! Thanks.
Angela di Tenebreditenebre on November 9th, 2004 02:41 pm (UTC)
*standing up and applauding*

Brava!!
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on November 9th, 2004 04:50 pm (UTC)
*sweeping bow*

Thank you!
starcat_jewelstarcat_jewel on November 9th, 2004 03:14 pm (UTC)
You rock.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on November 9th, 2004 03:18 pm (UTC)
*I blush*.

Thank you!
piranha @ dreamwidthpir_anha on November 9th, 2004 07:10 pm (UTC)
Re: I believe
yeah. you go! :)

I believe that gun control means hitting your target.

*snicker*. so help me, i like that.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on November 10th, 2004 07:58 am (UTC)
Re: I believe
Thank you! Delighted to have amused you.
Tobietrcabbage on November 9th, 2004 08:05 pm (UTC)
Done.
Seemed important somehow, although looking at both...mine seems flighty to me while yours seems practical.

Ohh well

T
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on November 10th, 2004 07:58 am (UTC)
I'm glad you thought this was worth doing, and as I said, I think yours was just as practical as mine.
Trinkertrinker on November 10th, 2004 09:06 am (UTC)
Ah. Now I know why it is that we manage to agree on so many things, even when we disagree on others -- we believe many of the same things!
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on November 10th, 2004 09:14 am (UTC)
If you wanted to address where our beliefs match and diverge, I'd be curious, but if you'd rather not, I'll understand. I'll also understand if you'd prefer to do so in e-mail, if you want (or not).

I should add that I believe it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. I suspect this may become an ongoing, developing document.
Trinkertrinker on November 10th, 2004 09:35 am (UTC)
Most of the things I was thinking about that you seem to believe that I disagree with are things you didn't put in your list, and which also seem to be evolving things anyway.

I believe that there might be one or more deities, who might or might not be individual entities, aspects of the same entity, or reflections of human thought/desire/need.

I tend to phrase that as "I give reverence to the Ineffable, which is my translation of the Japanese word 'kami', or divine/gods. I believe that the Ineffable, the Divine, is everywhere, everywhere that there is natural beauty, everywhere that there is starkness or lushness, and that humans ought to work to create more things that evoke this."

I generally believe that "God created physics, chemistry, and biology; the rest is left as an exercise for the student". Dunno about "God created". I would probably deal with that as "it appears that physics, chemistry, and biology are the bedrock..."

Dunno about the gun control thing...that's an evolving thing for me. Dunno if I believe in purely Evil and purely Good.

But the rest of it...close enough, yeah.
(Deleted comment)
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on November 10th, 2004 01:15 pm (UTC)
Why, thank you! What a lovely compliment.
Jonathan Schattkewizwom on November 15th, 2006 01:41 pm (UTC)
You do me a disservice. I know all. I am fen. Therefore, by extension, Fandom is all-knowing, but woefully ignorant of this fact.

This piece of outstanding hubris brought to you by the letter 'A' - for arrogant. :-)