If you are ever uncertain of your ability to change the world, know this:
Some people believe they can survive from sunlight and air alone.
A Flat Earth is one thing, but Breatharianism is another thing entirely.
You would think the evidence is pretty sound on the whole sustenance thing. You know, from millennia of struggling to survive.
Nevertheless, some people believe that they can get by on sunlight and atmospheric absorption, or some such guff.
At least, that’s what they tell people.
That means every time they eat or drink — and they do — they are then able to convince themselves that it didn’t happen.
Some people’s ability to delude themselves was so strong it killed them.
That is why arguing with people on the internet is a waste of time.
People don’t believe facts. They believe stories. That leaves pretty much everything up for debate — a debate that nobody ever wins.
Even if we’re going to argue about what we eat, you would think we could all agree that eating some food is necessary.
I guess that’s humans for you.
Limitlessly, psychotically creative
The words “Jesus is coming” are scrawled across the grimy cardboard hung over his chest.
Passers-by squeeze themselves around his eager cries and shaking fists, intent on shutting this loud, dirty intrusion out of their day.
Nobody wants to listen because whether they realize it or not, deep down, we all already know that “the end is nigh,” at least on an individual level.
And whether we’re expecting to meet St. Paul on a cloud or slip into a blissful eternal nothingness, the reality is the same. That unignorable, unknowable finality is what drives us to do anything — or prevents us from doing anything.
The fear of it drives us to survive on a physiological level. When that’s covered, we devote our efforts to surviving beyond the grave, in whatever way we like. Most often, we survive through other people.
As my turn comes to squeeze past the pavement prophet, I get lucky. He spins and leaps away to berate those walking in the other direction. One young woman lets out a small yelp of surprise.
As I barrel away I glimpse the other piece of cardboard, slung over his shoulders with a knotted rag.
It reads, “Look busy.”
The human eye is a remarkably poor tool for observing the world.
We can look but often do not see. And seeing certainly doesn’t result in believing.
We can focus with great skill but at the risk of blinkering ourselves.
Best of all, we can hold such a strong belief in our brains that it determines what we see and what we focus on — what’s real.
It’s funny how easy it is to ignore what’s right in front of us — and terrifying how we can focus on what isn’t there at all.
Seeing is rarely believing.
But when we really believe in something, that’s all we can see.
Most people don’t speak for themselves.
It’s not that we can’t. It’s just easier to trot off someone else’s line. And just as easy to drop it if it doesn’t fit.
We see something in the news that sounds good and seems to align with what we believe, so we start repeating it. That’s just human.
The danger is when this happens unconsciously. When those alien thoughts trickle into our brain and start to pool without our noticing.
Then something comes out of our mouth that we don’t recognize. Something that surprises us.
And we think, “Whose line is that?”
Because that sure as hell wasn’t me.