Love for chocolate is a complicated sort of love.
It’s a constant struggle between belief and desire—and whatever comes in between that.
Chocolate, after all, in excess makes a person fat—as does any food in excess, really, but for some reason, though I can stop myself from eating rice or pancakes or (arguably) sushi, it’s much harder for me to stop myself from eating chocolate.
Don’t get me wrong. This has nothing to do with vanity. I’m all for healthy people who do not have gaps between their thighs, but I am against fat lined arteries, and cholesterol circles around the iris. I’d like to keep myself off the IV drip, thank you very much.
And yet, this rational becomes less of a priority when confronted with that delectable block of rich, dark chocolate.
How could I resist?
Does that mean that I have ignored the significant fact that chocolate will make me fat? Or does it mean I just don’t believe it will? Or am I just a glutton for chocolate?
Which brings me to a completely different, but obscurely related topic: why is there a cognitive dissonance (cognitive dissonance is just a fancy way of saying that my mind and my body do not want to cooperate) between what I do and what I believe?
I don’t have a definitive answer for this just yet, but I do have multiple theories.
The one that’s winning out at the moment is a pretty strange theory. Here it is: believing is a process and, as a human, so am I.
As a human, I admit that I’m currently undergoing this constant process of metamorphosis. Some days, I feel completely myself. I feel like I’ve arrived at that point where my beliefs drive my thoughts and my thoughts somehow translate themselves into actions and everything goes according to planned. Other days, and I suppose these days are more common, I feel like I am lost within my own life—as if the day has robbed me of my consciousness and my body and my thoughts are acting on their own accord, conspiring against all I hold dear. I would fall asleep and dream of myself, but wake and find that I was still trapped in a being devoid of me. And when I would finally feel my thoughts and actions cease their rebellion, I would be so repulsed by all they have done.
If belief is supposed to drive my thoughts and actions, but I am not always entirely myself—if I find myself falling back into old beliefs and old habits—it does not mean I believe any less. I suppose it just means that I’m just not very good at believing just yet. Faith is a difficult concept precisely because we’re all undergoing our own sort of metamorphic process, and a person’s faith, though present, isn’t always perfect.
It’s not even toying with the idea of ‘long term’ versus ‘short term’ gratification or what’s good or bad. It’s about what drives me to even consider those types of situations because believing in something—really believing in something—is more than just what I fill out on an application form. Believing that the earth is round, for example, drives the fear of falling off the non-existent edge away.
And maybe that’s the trouble of believing: it’s different from knowing. There’s a sort of knowing that comes from being in that moment and just knowing in that moment. Gravity is not this kind of knowing. I know gravity exists because it’s right here, every second of every day. In contrast, believing in God is not knowing per se because I’ve never physically seen God. I can argue that I’ve encountered Him, and in that moment, I knew but I can’t say that I’ve actually seen him in the flesh.
Which is why I adore this elvish word Tolkien came up with (which I cannot type in English). The elves do not have an elvish word for the word ‘believe’ which we often use interchangeably with the word ‘faith.’ Tolkien never meant for the elves to even require the word. In elvish tradition, the elves need not have faith because they were faithful to what they always knew to be true—that they were Children of the One (basically, this phrase means they’re elves). I’ll keep from explaining the intricacies of Tolkien’s world, because it would take far too many words and would be besides the point.
The elves have a word for that—for remaining faithful to what they always knew to be true, even if that truth was not before their eyes at that very moment.
In some ways, I wish I was more like Tolkien’s elves who did not waiver in what they knew to be true: so much so that they did not require the word faith in their vocabulary.
I suppose this is the reason it’s more difficult to connect beliefs to thoughts to actions. Doubt exists—and that doesn’t make belief disappear. It doesn’t negate the presence of belief altogether either. It just means that sometimes, it’s not so easy to believe in things.