Streed of Consciousness [Part 2 – My Personal Placebo]

(Reed’s Playlist for the occasion: Born This Way by Lady Gaga)

I smile as I write this title, because it reminds me of my favorite TV show of all time, Scrubs. Almost every episode of the show is titled “My ______”.

I guess this technically isn’t fully stream-of-consciousness, because I know what I want to talk about this time, but hey, let’s see where my strange mind takes us, right?

My dad had many, many sayings and witicisms for us as kids (as dads tend to do). One of them was “You can be right or you can be happy.” I always found that one really resonated for me – well, at least more than, “I pay the bills, I get to choose what we watch on TV.”

So I want to talk a little bit about my philosophy on Truth, and yes, that’s a capital-T Truth. All around me I see people searching for this Truth. Some people do it with religion, others with rationality and logic, and still others just kind of bounce around all over the place in their quest to locate, deduce, and understand this Truth.

If that’s too floaty for you, I guess I could put questions/labels on it. Things like, “What is the purpose of life, or my life specifically?” “Why are we here?” “Do(es) God(s) exist?” It seems like people are addicted to figuring this question out.

I honestly always kind of saw the Truth as overrated. I consider it this way – there are at the very least 7 billion truths out there and expanding – the truths of every single person on this planet, who may be similar 99% of the way through, but all of them different in the exact combination, the minutia of what ties it all together. And there are even more truths we can imagine, but may not hold to – truths like “Killing people is not only okay, but required in all circumstances” and other outlandish things like that.

So we have pretty much an infinite number of potential truths out there – things we believe, things we can imagine, and in all likelihood, truths of other sentient creatures out there we could never even conceive of. And yet, in all of this, there’s supposed to be one Truth, one complete perfect encapsulation of the universe and all the forces in it, that gives us an understanding of our purpose.

Good luck finding a needle in an infinitely large haystack.

But seriously, I see people whose only burning question in their life is, “What is the Truth?” They ask it over and over again, claiming it’s the only important thing we need to find.

I gave up on ever finding that Truth, if it exists. I don’t even know if I sought it out in the first place. Instead, I ask myself, “What is my truth?” It doesn’t have to be perfect for anyone else, just for me, and in that I am both free from others’ truths, and shackled by what think is important, what think my purpose is.

So here’s an example. I believe in God. Why? Because it makes me content to feel there is a force of love in this universe – call it God, call it karma, call it not-so-random coincidence – that loves each and every one of us, and is proud of us when we’re on the right path, and understanding when we’re not.

Does God exist? Who gives a shit? As long as I believe in God, I am happier than when I don’t believe in God. So I really don’t care about the existence of an Almighty in any sense – I only care about my truth, and in my truth, God exists.

I’ve explained it to many of my friends and family in terms of the placebo effect, a psychological effect where, if someone is given a sugar pill and told it’s medicine, they’ll start to feel better because they believe they’ve taken medicine.

Maybe God is a placebo for humankind. Maybe positivity is a placebo against the real, cruel world out there. But shit, if it makes me happy, why would I care whether or not it’s a placebo? In other words, if a placebo gets you to feel better, is it actually a placebo?

Bwaaaaaaam.

Okay, I know I’m not that cool. But it’s worth considering whether we want to be right, or happy. In my case, I’ve given up on that capital-T Truth in order to attain what I see as greater contentment and tranquility in my own life. Maybe I’m bullshitting myself; maybe I could be happier if I obtained that actual Truth and known it for myself.

But all I know is right now, I’m pretty damn happy.

Yours, listening to marimba music to get Lady Gaga out of his head,

-R.R. Buck

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