The Faithful

I do not believe in heresy. No surprise there, perhaps, but this belief runs deeper than you might think. One of my qualms with organized religions is how they deal with contradictory truths. The very concept of contradictory truths might seem like an oxymoron, for if one thing is true, wouldn’t that cancel out the truth of its opposite? Yes, and no – which is where the concept of heresy arose. For instance, Stephen King is both scary and not scary. And I don’t mean some books are scary and some books are not scary, I mean the same book is both scary and not scary. If I read Cujo and I am not scared, then the truth for me is that Cujo is not a scary book, and there is nothing I or anyone else can do about it. And yet, in a mild way, for some people calling Cujo “not scary” is a kind of heresy, like saying Mozart could not write a decent tune.

And then there’s this: Let’s say you believe one thing, like, “I am going to write what I want to write and publish these writings and be paid well for it.” That is one truth. Here is another truth: “The publishing world is impossible to break into and no one is interested in what I write and I will never make any money off it.” That is another truth, or it is a truth if you believe it. Which is to say, if you follow the truth of you cannot make money off of what you write, and you follow it faithfully, you will never make money off of what you write and so that belief will be absolutely true.

On the other hand, if you follow the first truth faithfully and exclusively it will become the truth – perhaps not immediately, but eventually. The trouble is, that other truth, the one where you don’t make any money, still exists in theory if you should ever choose to believe it. You cannot remove it from the world of possibility because the beauty and the horror of the world is that all things are possible if you choose to believe them.

And so we have heresy. It’s an understandable response. Banish the unwanted truth from the pews, from the village, and we will be safe. But you cannot kill an idea. The idea of your failure will always exist as a possibility, just as the idea of your success will always exists as a possibility. Life is not about banishing what you do not want, it is about focusing on what you do want. Do not wait for what you don’t want to disappear – it will always be there for you if you should choose it. But if you follow what you do want, faithfully, every day, soon what you do not want will recede to a speck on the horizon, where it will be too small draw your attention again.

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