Thursday, April 29, 2010

118 / Believing

Did Buddha really say, "believe nothing...," just like this graphic says? I am just not that familiar with the actual texts.

According to a company that sells posters, this is what Buddha said (but that poster is out of stock, right now). You can click the image to get the source of the quote.

"Believing" in things is a common phenomenon. I tend to believe in things a lot, myself. Or, I tend to say, a lot, "I believe in....." things. And I say it about a lot of things, too.

When I think about it, as I am trying to do right now, I am not really clear what I mean when I say "I believe in...." whatever. Does that phrase mean, "I think it's a fact that...?" Or does it mean "I wish it were a fact that...?" When I start thinking about "believing in...." things, I start believing that I don't really know what that means, at all.

If you believe in looking up words in Eric Partridge's A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English when you want to know more about what a word means (and I do believe in that), then looking up "believe" sends you to "leave," which in Old English is leaf, and yet the definition of that word has nothing to do with trees.

According to Partridge, the word "believe" is directly related to the word "leave," in the sense that "leave" means "give permission to," and especially "give permission to be absent." As, for instance, "when my ship came in, I got 24 hours leave." This research hasn't helped me too much in deciding what it is I think I mean when I say, "I believe in..."

I think I will go read some more Mark Twain.

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