I had a solid talk with a friend at school today. She was sorting through her world views and assessing doubts & beliefs, respectively. This wasn’t simply a matter of what food is best to eat, or whether war is right or not. Rather, it was about the foundation of everything and all time: God, and its place in her Universe.
As an agnostic atheist, I tried to guide her to whatever she deems most suitable by defending either side of the argument, and listening to her working out what she cared to share.
When it came to what I believe, I didn’t sell my value system, but I explained it as being one of open mindedness. Yes, I am a humanist; an existentialist who believes we must construct our own take on the world and form our own selves by the autonomous choices we make throughout our lives. Still, that sounds as if it still contains, within the words I choose, my ego and the affiliated pride thereof. And while that’s good and well for me, my friend needed to look within herself to find what already is there. Suffice to say, I told her that having an open mind is enough to get away from ignorance and move toward a full, beautiful, and enriching existence- whatever that turns out to be. I said this in hoping she would consider her past and the potential futures that await her, in an honest and deeply personal fashion. (Hopefully after I had gotten the hell out of there, as such personal breakthroughs can get real in a hurry.)
From this, she offered a sliver of wisdom that she had once heard. Something to the effect of,
‘One should have a mind open enough, so as to be able to close it around something’.
Here I should note that I am the most pompous of all non theists (and theists alike). I say this because not simply do I take the position that theism isn’t for me, but that even those who say with certainty that ‘there is nothing but this physical world that we see’, to me, also sounds absurd. I discard this position on account of it too stinking of certainty where I do not believe we can know such nonexistence, with an equal disbelief that we would be able to find such answers neatly packaged into books called bibles. Any level of certainty one way or the other, at this ‘teenage’ stage of human development makes me want to roll my eyes, hard.
Indeed, I keep a quote with me which states,
‘Absolute certainty is a privilege of uneducated minds – and fanatics.’
-Cassius J. Keyser
But her quote did move me. It points to a serious ‘flaw’, perhaps one could call it, in my own life. I have interests which include, and are categorically limited to, all things. I thirst for the big picture. And it may be that this open mind of mine may be reinforcing itself in an open position… one which adds value to my life (in accordance to what I value), but at the same time it may limit me as a human-tool. Surely my efficacy as an actor (do-er may be more appropriate) is lessened by a fear of limiting the scope of my thought.
Perhaps in time this will change. Maybe school, when it forces me to choose something specific to study, will fix this for me. Of course, that doesn’t fit with my existentialist view very well.
Anyways, keep an open mind. Also, know when to look closely and act specifically for whatever greater good you subscribe to (even if it is your own.)
Here are some really, really fucking rad links.
Funny & well shot short film on shafted high-fives
Way…way fucking awesome song. A must listen, fo sho.