Believer – Prologue

You’re not going to believe me.  And that’s fine.  It’s fine because a lot of people don’t believe me.  There’s a lot of things a lot of people don’t believe, I guess.  I’m used to it by now.  I don’t mind it so much anymore, really; you learn to just accept these sorts of things after a while.  But I’m not crazy.  And I’d like you to believe that I’m not crazy.  A lot of people think I’m crazy.  And that’s not fine.  Not really at all.

It’s not that what I say is so very unbelievable.  That’s not why you’re not going to believe me.  You’re not going to believe me because I think just a little ways after I said you wouldn’t, your brain starts saying to you maybe something like, “Oh look, another one of these people who thinks their story is so crazy, thinks they’re so special, that nobody’s going to believe them.  Using the ol’ reverse psychology trick right out of the gate, even; yeah, I’m not buying it.  This lady needs to take herself down a few pegs.  Don’t listen to her, body.  Listen to me; I’m your brain.  I’m really smart.  I can see these things coming a kilometer away.  I’m so smart I just used the Metric system in that colloquialism, because it’s a lot more efficient than the Imperial system.  I also spelled colloquialism correctly on the first try.”  And then maybe I think this is the part of the conversation where I’m supposed to tell you that I’m not special; you know, to try and relate to you, convince you that I’m an everyman, just like you.  And your brain will probably tell you that you’ve heard that one before too.

You won’t believe me because no matter what I try to tell you, or how I try to tell it, you’ve heard it before, or you’ve heard of someone who’s heard it before.  And sometimes you believe it, or sometimes you don’t, but after the first time, I think it gets a little harder to believe.  You’d think it’d be easier, since you already heard it once before, but the problem is you can only believe so much.  The universe only has so many rules.  Sometimes reality only works one way.  And after about the seventeenth giant monster animal story, all of which are different and profess themselves to operate under the same sturdy black golf umbrella of the real world, you can’t help but ask yourself if any of them are actually believable, and even then, how much from the believable ones can you really believe?

I didn’t spell colloquialism correctly on the first try, by the way.  I put a Y in after the U instead of the I.

I don’t need you to believe me.  This story is about believing, but it’s about other things, too, so if you don’t believe me there’s still the other things.  I want you to believe me. But I don’t want you to believe me if you don’t want to believe me.  That’s not how believing works.  You believe in something because you know it’s real, even if you don’t have any proof.  You know in ways that are sometimes hard to explain to other people, and sometimes in ways that are hard to explain to yourself.  That’s why I can’t make you believe what I believe.  And that’s why you can’t make yourself believe what I believe.  You can’t even make yourself believe what you believe.  It just sort of happens when you’re not expecting it, or it doesn’t.  But the problem with believing is that, sometimes, we end up believing in something that isn’t real.  And the other problem with believing is how do we know if we are?

This story is not real.  This story isn’t real because it doesn’t matter if it’s real or not.  It didn’t happen to you, and it didn’t happen to anyone you know about.  You will never meet any of the people in this story, and nothing that happens in it will ever affect the world you live in.  I could have made it all up.  Or I could be disguising the truth.  Or, maybe I’m telling it exactly like it happened.  But it doesn’t matter.  I can’t prove anything one way or the other.  And for something to be real, you need proof, right?

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this one before:  If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?  I’d just like you to know that I have the answer.  The answer is yes. It makes a sound because the science that all of us believe in says it makes a sound.  It’s just that the sound isn’t real, because there’s no proof.  And if anyone starts trying to cheat with things like, “Well maybe an animal heard it,” or, “Well we can put a microphone there”, or “Well with the most modern equipment we can detect infinitesimal changes in air particles, and with a practical application of Chaos Theory we can engineer an algorithm to backtrack from those particles and prove that a sound was made,” you need to not listen to those people.  Those people don’t understand why that question is important.  It’s important because despite how badly we want to know that what we believe in is really real, we can’t know that what we believe in is really real.  That’s not how believing works.  Sometimes, you just have to believe that it’s really real.

This story is not real.  Sometimes we end up believing in things that aren’t real.

But you’re not going to believe me.

 

{First draft of the prologue to my new book.  Currently nameless, but I’m using the working title of “Believer” for now.}

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