What I Believe
(Disclaimer – I do not practice all of my beliefs. I may be able to uncover why that is so in the course of this exercise, but I am a self-avowed hypocrite. Sometimes it’s a tough old world and you’ve got to bend or you’ll break.)
By daring to splash those words across the page as title for this piece I may be labelled with the sin of hubris. The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary 1989 Edition (which I keep at hand here at work at all times – Why a paperback N M-W D? It was a gift from an old friend when I complained of the lack one day in a pre-Wikipedia era) defines hubris as:
“Exaggerated pride or self-confidence”.
That title says I dare to know and understand the nature of what I believe and I further dare to give it form and voice so that others might see and hear.
Humph! If that doesn’t smack of hubris then I’ve misunderstood the definition. But in defence, it may be that I’m not come quite so close to the mark, because at this point I’m not yet certain of my beliefs and I don’t consider for a moment (do I?) that anyone would possibly care, let alone spare time and effort to read this. You can see how damned ambivalent I am about this. Do I write for myself or do I scribble these lines for others and to what purpose? I write for myself as a device to organize my thoughts, but I write as if I suspect that it might fall into other hands and the last thing I would want to do is embarrass myself before others. So there you have it. I’m a closet hubrisite.
Then I’d best be prepared for its bedfellow, Nemesis, for certainly “pride goes before a fall”. If I sincerely examine my beliefs, I may uncover uncomfortable truths. I may pick at scars that were long healed and find them raw again. I may not be the fine fellow I once thought I was. And what if, that which I believe to be my finest qualities, turn out to be my downfall and damnation? My Nemesis? Ah, what the hell. It’s only words on a page.
This is exploratory surgery. I don’t know what’s in there but I want to find out. I want to cut open, get in and root about to see if there’s something there that will warrant some hope of grace. Hold the guts of my beliefs up to the light, peer at them and see if they’re worthy of being stuffed back in. I want to be an 18th century barber/surgeon who practiced their arts with the letting of blood and skilful laying on of leeches. I want to get my hands dirty in the hope of getting them clean. This is going to be a messy business.
Still with me? (see? – there I go again, addressing an audience – hubris, hubris, hubris!)