MAKE BELIEVE

This little essay is like a cat that got out the back door by mistake.  It won’t come home till it’s good and ready no matter how many times you call.  What a pain in the ass.

It’s out wandering about the back yard, poking around investigating the local goings on and trying to see what it can see.  It smells something.  It doesn’t know what quite, but, it must investigate.   That is what cats do.

The term Make Believe started bouncing around inside my head this morning out of nowhere.  The more I tried not to think about it the more I did.  Make Love not War… Make Hay while the sun shines… Make Believe…

The more I considered the term the more I realized that “Making Believe” was, in fact, as essential to my existence as breathing.   Without the ability to “Make Believe” I am convinced that human beings, any so called sentient beings, could not exist.  Our land, it seems to me, where ever we may physically reside, is always The Land of Make Believe.  

All this began with me asking myself what matters without me believing it does?  The answer is nothing.  Before I was born I wasn’t there to believe that anything at all was important, or, true, or… anything else.  When I’m dead the universe will, once again, have to find another way to demonstrate its importance.  It will have to rely on others to Make Believe importance into existence.  Importance is entirely a product of human existence, as is beauty, wonder, love and just about everything else.  We are each called upon by our natures to manufacture our own reality.  With the help of other human beings, all doing their part as best they can, we are schooled from an early age as to what we should make believe is important.  Continuity is everything and the more we can agree the easier it all becomes.  Because we are not identical we can never ALL agree… as a result, conflict comes into existence.

The fly in the ointment here is knowing that you have the ability to pull the plug on the whole show any time you please.

When you are dead… nothing matters.   Nothing can be of any importance unless you are there to make believe that it is, and if you are not… it isn’t.  At least as far as you are concerned.   The burden of all the making believe falls to others of your kind.  Good luck.

Isn’t it curious how suicide is such a taboo unless it is intimately connected with something that many other people Make Believe is terribly important?  Throwing yourself on a live grenade is suicide, but, it is viewed as a totally different “kind” of suicide than throwing yourself off a bridge is.  The grenade kind of suicide makes you a hero and the bridge kind a chump.  This is what we teach our children.  In the end, of course, it’s all Make Believe.

In the end EVERYTHING is Make Believe.  In the beginning and in the middle it is too.

THAT my gentle readers is the thing we can’t let get out.  It’s the fact, the one fact, that, if it got out and were widely recognized as the truth would bring down the whole circus, tent and all.

The Universe, what ever that is, doesn’t seem to want us to stop the show.  It has built into human beings (and I will conjecture all other sentient forms of life) mechanisms, both physical and mental, to preclude the outright stopping of the show for personal reasons like boredom, misfortune and even intractable pain.   Yes, at times these “mechanisms” can be overridden, but, only as the exception that proves the rule… Life MUST go on!

Suicide is only acceptable to us if it somehow emphasizes the importance of… Life going on.

If this were not the case the Universe would find itself in danger.

So remember to muddle on!  Set a good example for others in spite of any facts that may be making your continued existence unbearable.  The Universe is counting on you to do your part.

Make Believe it’s not all Make Believe because, in the end, it’s all we got.

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

p.s.  Except, of course, the knowledge that the cord that goes to the plug is always in our hand.  Which is nice.

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One response to “MAKE BELIEVE

  1. Excellent summary. You are right to say that when a person dies, there is no longer the person sustaining the invented value, so in a sense “belief” dies with them, though you acknowledge that it might also be carried by the sustained belief and related actions of others. Your example of suicide (to escape emotional pain) versus dying for a ’cause’ is a perfect example of how we can justify a death in the same way we might justify a life. In a sense, that justification is based on human invention, but it is I think also important to point out, that if a value is consistent with the absurdity of the human condition, then it arguably has legitimate meaning. That is to say, some illusions are more ‘authentic’ or ‘consistent’ with the reality of our shared condition than others. In addition, structuring a life in such a way that one is prepared to defend certain man-made values (e.g. freedom, justice), can be a real way of meeting the absurdity with both consistency and courage, versus succumbing, as often as the rest, to arbitrary illusion. That’s how I think about it anyway. And insofar as the ‘person’ is only reified through symbolic embodiment within the community of other minds, after our death, meaning might be said to endure without illusion or inconsistency. While I would estimate that 99.9% of human ‘meaning’ does serve to conceal more than it reveals, and is mostly of arbitrary significance, I would nonetheless argue that man-made values that are consistent with the absurdity of our human condition, can justify a life, and conversely a ‘good death.’ Sadly, it seems that individuals capable of living this way are too few.

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