The fact that a single act can have innumerable opinions attached to it means the opinion actually means nothing. The opinion is not a matter of fact, it is simply a single perspective and it does not constitute truth. So I urge you to not consider your opinions as truth, but only as fleeting, momentary expressions.
Do not place judgment, do not hold too firmly onto your beliefs. Your beliefs are fleeting, ever changing, transitory. You yourself can recognise how your own opinions on a matter have changed over the course of time. That which you placed your opinion on has not changed, and yet your opinion has. Therefore, your opinion means nothing, whether it be regarding your own self or another. It is simply a belief you carried for a certain period of time, until which point experience led you to believe something else.
And yet it seems what we believe is all we have. This is the paradox. The fact that a certain act or situation can result in an infinite number of opinions renders the opinion worthless and proves that we have not seen the reality of the matter. So if we cannot see the reality of any matter, and we never truly know something for what it is, then all we are left with is what we believe it is. But how can one say they have understood the essence of anything if an opposing or varying opinion exists? How am I to know that my belief or belief system at any point in time has any relationship with the truth if another, contradictory belief exists? It seems it is only by the superposition of beliefs that we gain any faith in them.
This is why we form communities. This is why we form cliques. This is how we fend off the uncertainty and angst; by finding others who agree with what we believe. It is not the opinion that we are most passionate about, it is not the belief or faith that we live for and die for, for we can recognise how these things change over time. It is the sense of certainty that holding onto it, while others are also holding onto it, that we yearn for. The conflict, the violence, the aggression, the wars which have been fought over belief systems actually have nothing to do with people’s conviction in that belief system. Rather, it is human beings fighting for their tenuous grip on a fragile and threatened identity. It is only in numbers that we feel safe. It is terrifying and testing to hold an opinion or belief that no one else does. But the larger the group who believe that same thing, the safer we feel, the more convinced we become of our closeness to truth. It is in fact truth that we are seeking.
We are not fighting over which direction we should face when we are praying, or what we should call this God; we are not fighting to defend whether God exists or not; we are fighting each other for our sense of sanity. It’s as if, at our core, we recognise the nothingness of it all. It is as if, deep down, we realise there is nothing here that is real. And so, we dig in, we cling to ideas and opinions and belief systems that are in themselves meaningless, but somehow gain weight by virtue of the number of people who share it. We trick ourselves into thinking that we have laid hold onto something that is real and all others are false. Like weights, like anchors, these opinions, these beliefs, hold us in place. They weigh us down, and make us feel connected to this earth, to this reality, and give us a reason to remain here.
For the nothingness that surrounds us is terrifying. And like gravity, our nationalism, our religions, our political affiliations, and the sporting teams for which we barrack, give us a sense of stability. We cling on so tight, we kill each other over them, we kill ourselves over them because we are afraid of flying. We are afraid of free fall. We are afraid of the infinite. We are afraid of God, and so we construct an infinitely smaller and limited concept in our minds, failing to recognise that we could never fathom the extent of such a thing through our thoughts, story or art.
How heart-wrenching, that we hold onto such tiny things. How heartbreaking, that the extent of our nobility terrifies us into belittling ourselves and each other. We draw lines, we draw boxes, we create boundaries and build walls, and then squeeze ourselves into them. It’s as if the infinite nature of our existence is unfathomable, and as such, we cut the infinite up into pieces so that we may come to terms with it, digest it, piece by piece. We make ourselves into drops because the ocean terrifies us. We become grains of sand because we are afraid of the desert. If only we ceased our attempts to understand everything. If only we stopped trying to make sense of it. We might have just realised the beauty of all of it.
If only we could find one thing that we all believed in. If only we could extend the walls of our belief systems further and further apart until which point we found something we all believed in with all of our heart and soul. If only we could let go of culture and creed, forget of the nation-state, look beyond religion, colour and gender. Perhaps if we were to remove ourselves from these categories, these shelters, if we could step out of these clay huts we’ve built ourselves, and we found one thing, just one thing that we all believed in, then we wouldn’t have to argue about right or wrong.
Perhaps then we wouldn’t have to kill, degrade, denigrate, abuse, in order to defend our limited beliefs and defend fragile and ever-changing identities. Is there not one thing we can all agree on? Beyond our creation stories that differ, beyond our languages that vary, beyond our opinions that are fleeting, can we not find one thing that every single being on this earth can believe in? Can we not step out of these stories that we have crafted in order to fend off the angst that we found ourselves born into?
It seems it has been our refusal to let go of these stories, these identities, that has withheld us from witnessing the truth that is. It seems these anchors of certainty that we’ve crafted in times when we did not know of others and other ways of being, are potentially withholding us from recognising an even greater identity that exists; one that encompasses all of humanity and becomes the cause of our unity and solidarity.
As these older and limited identities came into contact with others in years gone by, we felt impelled to fight and defend them because we believed them to be related to truth, and the existence of an alternative belief system caused us to question the validity of our own.
As the conflicts edged towards unbearable, as the mindlessness of the bloodshed became apparent, alliances formed, and communities became tribes, tribes became nation-states, nation-states were usurped by religious belief systems. Smaller belief systems merged and coalesced for the sake of peacefulness. Larger battles were fought between larger groups until again either one ideology was victorious, or the mindlessness became apparent and the establishment of a treaty or broader understanding brought peace to a region.
Again, it seems, we have reached a point where the mindlessness of the bloodshed is becoming ever more apparent, and the grief ever more unbearable, and as such, a greater, all-encompassing, singular belief must be found in order to bring peace to humanity.
Can we not find one thing that we all agree on, and place our faith and trust in that? Can we let go of tradition, culture, creed, and outdated belief systems and place our attention on a point of unity and solidarity that resonates with one and all? Can we agree on the exquisite beauty of a few simple truths that cut across all boundaries and borders and leave the discord creating minutia aside? I guess it depends on what we feel is more important to us, our stories of the past, our ancestors, our faded memories of someone else’s limited perspective of something they once believed in? …Or the story that we are co-creating right now. Which side of history do you want to be on
The question is, which side of history do you want to be on? The one that fought tooth and nail to uphold the past, or will you be one of those who lived, worked, and died for the evolution and betterment of humanity?
Erfan Daliri 27/5/2017