Interview on March 8, 2022, with Jailen, who is studying kinesiology, outside the Math Lab at Gavilan College in Gilroy, California.

Do you consider yourself religious?

Jailen: To an extent. I believe there is a higher power and I think there’s more to life than just us. But I’m not a traditional kind of guy; I don’t believe there is only one God. I believe there are many gods for different things. Every god plays a role. I don’t think there’s just one higher power. If there were, I would think it was the universe. Whatever we’re existing in, that would be the high power. That’s why I think phrases like “speaking things into existence” would be a thing, because matter can’t be created or destroyed and they say all things are living in some way, so I guess words are powerful in that sense, if you put it out there into the universe, which is a higher power, then it will hear you, and if you work toward something, it will happen.


Were you raised religious?

Jailen: Yeah, I was, and I had a lot of questions but I didn’t get answers for those questions because it was like, “Oh, be quiet, don’t say that,” but as a kid, growing up, you have a lot of questions because you’re very curious. So I just started thinking for myself. I didn’t let outside influences directly impact what I believe. I went to a Christian church and a Catholic school.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Jailen: I do believe in an afterlife, mostly because I don’t think that it’s just this, that this is where it ends. They do say that matter can’t be created or destroyed, so we all have to come from somewhere. I don’t know whether that’s physical or spiritual, that’s for us to find out, that kind of interests me, but the thought of just dying one day and that’s it, doesn’t sit right with me. That just can’t be it. If it is, then I’ll just have to accept it, but I don’t believe it. I think there’s more to it. There are ghosts and everything like that; you see the clips, so there has to be more. That kind of intrigues me; so watching that gives me a little bit of hope. I don’t want to be a ghost, but I believe that everyone has a spirit so I think our physical bodies stop, but our spirits live on. I think that’s something that’s eternal.

Do you think what we do in this life makes a difference in the afterlife?

Jailen: Yeah. Most people think if you have a good life you go to heaven and if you have a bad life you go to hell, but I don’t think it’s that black and white. I think it’s more of a gray area. If you have a good life, that’s cool, but if you have a bad life, if you have regrets or something, I feel like you don’t move on. I feel like there are stages to it. I’ve seen people who have theories like, if you messed up and you didn’t really learn what you were destined to learn in your life, then you just reincarnate. And then other people have regrets so they spiritually can’t move on because that’s what’s holding them back. It’s like a chain. There are a lot of ideologies and philosophies behind it, but I think it’s more of a gray scale thing, more of a wider spectrum thing, rather than just good and bad, which is the immature way to look at it. There’s always more to something.

What do you study in order to form your beliefs?

Jailen: There was this whole outbreak of people becoming spiritual. I was looking into different religions, because I think every religion has some truth to it. Most people believe in one and say the others are wrong, but I believe that all of them have some truth. So anything that made sense to me, I was like, “Okay, that makes sense.” I was trying to bring it all full circle. Rather than it being tunnel vision with one and that ties back into the black and white. I think it’s bigger than that.

How did you study these religions? 

Jailen: Whatever book I could actually get into, I would do that or I would watch people who have studied it. I know that’s not really credible and you can’t take their stuff at face value, so that’s why you have to look at the actual book and read it. And a lot of the shows I watch, I don’t really just watch American stuff. I watch Japanese stuff; I watch stuff that’s into Hinduism and their philosophy. I watch the show and I’m like, “That’s really cool,” and then find out it’s based off something and then that propels me to go even further into it so that’s what got me into looking into that kind of stuff. That’s what opened my eyes. Before I was more of a closed minded person.