Ten Things I Believe

We are all equals

We all come into the world the same. Every single one of us – regardless of sex, colour, creed or means – is born helpless, relying on others to keep us alive. It is years before we can survive on our own, much longer still before we can thrive. Being born into a rich family does not make you better, just lucky.

We are all unique

Even so-called identical twins are not. The variations between us are less than we like to believe but we are all different. This incarnation, this collection of atoms is a one-off. And that makes all of us valuable and special. Not more valuable than anyone else, but not less either.

We are all sexual beings

This is how our species survives: we reproduce sexually. We’ve learned how to assist and control that process but that doesn’t change the fact. And, miraculously, we are equipped to get pleasure from sex, unlike some other species.  We should enjoy this.

We all want the same thing

At base, we all want more joy and less pain. We want our loved ones, especially our children, to have better lives than our own. We want to be treated as though we matter. Somehow we get suckered into believing that we can only get this if someone else doesn’t. I don’t believe that’s true.

We are angels and demons

We all have capacity for great good and great evil. All of us are selfish and greedy and venal and mean and spiteful (and so on) at one time or another. Likewise: generous, selfless, loving, giving, helpful, considerate. Most of us believe we are good, often even when we are being bad. We let ourselves believe the reverse of others.

Without education, we know nothing

Knowledge is not passed on through genes. No matter how wealthy or high status the parents might be, all children learn the same way: they are taught. Some of these lessons are formal and explicit. Others get absorbed almost by osmosis, through observation and experience.

Nobody knows the meaning

Anybody who claims to, is lying. At best, they have a theory, probably one that serves their interests and those of the people most like them. Yes, that includes all religions.

Life sucks, but it’s the only one we’ve got.

No matter what, life involves pain and suffering. The longer you live, the more people you love will die and you will suffer that loss. Even if somehow you escape other horrors, and most of us don’t, this is inevitable. But it’s also the only one we’ve got. It really doesn’t matter whether there is an after-life or whether we are just worm food. What happens next matters much less than what we are doing now.

There’s only so much time

And you don’t know how much you’ve got, so make the most of it. Being good at anything requires practice and you’ll be good at the things you spend most time doing. That includes how you treat other people and how you treat yourself.

Technology will never be the answer

When the first cave dweller hit upon the idea of using a sharp stone as an axe, he or she probably thought ‘that’s it, my life is going to be so much better now’. At best, it enables us to have more time for things that matter. At worst, it distracts us from that which really matters: each other.

5 thoughts on “Ten Things I Believe

  1. A Manifesto I can really adhere to – brilliant.

    Can I add one, though? … Education (in it’s truest sense i.e. learning about the world we live in) is the foundation of the solutions to all the biggest problems. If we all had a deep understanding about where we live and who we’re living with, we’d unite to create the best possible world in which to live.

    And a twist on “Technology will never be the answer” … Beyond the meeting of basic needs – hunger, security, good health – material things don’t matter.

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    1. I agree completely, and I’m glad you felt moved to respond! In MY utopia, education – which promoted critical thinking AND tangible skills – would be free for all and it would be your duty as a citizen to dedicate yourself to learning and to teaching others. And this bullshit where it’s OK for creationists to teach that the world has only existed for a few thousands years would NOT BE ALLOWED. Science doesn’t have all the answers but that doesn’t mean we know nothing about how things work and it limits our capacity to provide dignity for all when we allow any crackpot belief to be taught as fact. And material things don’t matter but on the other hand our creative capacity as humans should be celebrated. Instead of madly consuming cheap crap, we should appreciate great craft.

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  2. You are in your flow when you wrote this and I can feel you through your words. If I may, I would like to add We are all One. We are 97% space, i.e. energy. It’s the three percent we define our identity through our Ego and live by in the duality you have so eloquently described. To give a metaphor. We think we are the drop and that’s all there is, but we are all the ocean and we are the One.

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