Reason to Believe
In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, “At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.” What’s your reason to believe?
Well no, people don’t always find some reason to believe at all. This is one of those gooey, sentimental, all-purpose platitudes that keeps our complacency intact, lest we be forced to face the unpalatable truth that for a lot of people, life is nothing but a sick joke and a cruel endurance test that they happen to be stuck with until kindly fate decides otherwise: that while they may have the odd moment of pleasure and fulfilment, on the whole, they’d be just as happy to give up the unequal struggle and embrace the peace of eternal oblivion.
Tragically, increasing numbers in modern society take that option. Society has fed them a glossy myth of perpetual happiness and boundless abundance all theirs for the taking, setting up unrealistic expectations that only the golden few are likely to fulfil – and hang onto like pit bulls.
The rain it raineth all day long
Upon the just and unjust fella,
But mainly on the just because
The unjust has the just’s umbrella.
And if you’re rained on long enough and hard enough, is it any wonder that you feel a failure in this fantasy of equality and unlimited opportunity, and become disillusioned to the point of bitter hopelessness?
For some, faith – in God, the Universe, Science, or Whatever – is enough to keep them going. They are comforted by the belief that whatever happens is part of some all-encompassing plan. I find it hard to reconcile this with their attitude to those who see things differently – all-encompassing apparently doesn’t encompass non-believers – but nevertheless, it works for them, and who am I to argue?
But for most of us, reasons to believe that it’s all worthwhile are nebulous, ephemeral, and change daily: something to look forward to, something to be grateful for, a bunch of daffodils, an autumn leaf, a goal achieved. Life is interesting. We hang in. We enjoy ourselves.