Isn’t Believing Itself The Weirdest Thing?

There is something in the air, watching us. It is always there if we pay attention or not. When we push, it retracts. When we retract, it pushes. I call it the presence. Have you ever noticed it?

 

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I think life is ridiculous. If you are really present and look at it, at everything you feel, at all the things around you and at all the way’s in which we humans interact. All that just seems so imperfect, so flawed, so chaotic and at the same time so complete. The universe is hard to believe but we accept it, it’s basically an non-issue for most of us. Think about it: An infinite universe? Everything that happens is basically accidental? Chaos? You can’t make this stuff up. Or maybe you can. Alright, if we were actually part of some advanced computer game I would believe it. I mean why not? Given enough time, technology is not an issue. We couldn’t find out anyway or could we? A long time ago I read this book, which was the third volume in The Ring Saga (you might remember that girl right here). I don’t know why I actually read all three but somehow I plowed through them. In the third book *spoiler-begins* the protagonist finds out that he is in a huge computer simulation and all the fuzz about the ring girl is some kind of computer virus and the way he does, is by finding a text note in a dead body. *spoiler-end*

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Maybe Elon Musk got that message. It’s not that hard to imagine right? Then again, it’s not hard to imagine for us, for a donkey this might be significantly harder to believe. So I guess that’s just us. Reading the book Sapiens blew me away because I thought I knew all these little anthropological facts that make you wonder but who knew that there were multiple homo whatever species on this planet simultaneously and that there were huge kangaroos and koala bears in australia! Imagine a giant wombat with a weight of over 2000 kg! It is curious why we have become the domineering species on this planet especially with so many other human species as competition. The conclusion of Sapiens fascinated me because the author suggests that the reason for our success is the fact that we can imagine things that don’t exist …yet. This makes us able to trust people we don’t know yet but who believe in what we believe in. Two christians don’t need to know each other to hit it off instantly! A christian and a pirate might have a harder time.

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Robert Sapolsky talks about how all the things that make us unique can actually also be found in other species. Bees have language, baboons use tools, sheep learn techniques from each other and every primate species has a social structure. But believing in things that don’t exist, that makes a huge difference. I mean, if we could use the power of our minds to start floating in the air and fly around, we would be doing it by now. Why am I so sure about that? Because with about 7.4 Billion people on the planet right now there are definitely a few adventurous pioneers trying it at this very moment. And I bet it’s not the first time they have. That’s what makes us different, we just don’t know that things are impossible until we try. Funny enough, that’s exactly how Neil Gaiman described the artist in his commencement address:

“People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not. And you should not. The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them. And you can. If you don’t know it’s impossible it’s easier to do. And because nobody’s done it before, they haven’t made up rules to stop anyone doing that again, yet.”

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We are that curious animal that can believe whatever it wants to believe and as a result -we do. Everybody has an opinion and people get offended when you criticize their belief, but on the other hand we follow and admire people who have a strong belief. Belief is what makes us human and it is what gives us power, personally and as a species. So my advice for today: Don’t hold on to your beliefs if they’ve stopped serving you and don’t be so stingy with your imagination. The more you can believe that things are possible, the more you will be able to do. What do I believe? Actually nothing too strange, the first few lines of this article pretty much summarize it. Life’s strange! Until next time.

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