An irrational belief

“You’d be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t believe in some kind of magic. They may not call it by that name. But what drives people’s lives, I mean it’s not logic. That’s for sure.”

“… We’re magicians. That’s what I’m beginning to think. In our hearts we believe the unbelievable. We seek to master the natural world. It’s crazy, but it’s got us this far. Why give it up?” (Steven Sidor, in The Mirror’s Edge)

Jase (the narrator) argues that we survive as a species because we’re scared. “Fear’s the motor,” he says. “But not fear alone. Fear coupled with an irrational belief that we can beat the toothy beast hiding in the dark. We don’t stay in the cave. We go out. Why? What’s pushing us? Where does the need to conquer come from?” (ibid)

I know we tend to see what we’re looking for; but again and again, the words of various authors and thinkers keep popping up like luminous signposts on a dark highway:  

“I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible.” (Oscar Wilde, in The Picture of Dorian Gray)

“The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on truth.” (Edith Sitwell)

“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” (Lewis Carroll, in Alice in Wonderland

“I never cease being dumbfounded by the unbelievable things people believe.” (Leo Rosten)

“One of the greatest superstitions of our time is the belief that it has none.” (Celia Green)

“Reality is merely an illusion. Albeit a very persistent one.” (Albert Einstein)

“The fact that something is far-fetched is no reason why it should not be true; it cannot be as far-fetched as the fact that something exists.” (Celia Green)


Sidor, Steven. 2008. The mirror’s edge. New York: St Martin’s Minotaur. [p122])


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