Scientific-Gnosticism Memetic-Shamanism

Belief: What it’s for

Published by under Uncategorized on September 10, 2008

While belief, as most people understand it, is usually a horrible force of destruction, it has a reason to exist, and when it’s the right kind, can actually be useful.

Believe in yourself. Don’t believe yourself.

The distinction between these two is huge. Believing in yourself can be most one of the most important things in the world and nearly as important is not believing yourself. Believing yourself is all about thinking that your current configuration is correct and the information you’ve been given throughout your life is flawless. This sounds absurd but most people become angry and feel attacked when you question their beliefs. They cannot separate themselves from the information they were given. They cannot see their own innocence in aquiring incorrect beliefs.

Believing in yourself is knowing that you are capable. That you can change and adapt. Seeing your potential as valuable. When you are full of fear you think you must believe yourself or you somehow are not valuable. You lack the ability to see potential as value. You fear that being wrong or being fooled somehow proves you are bad. Mistakes become proof that you are less valuable instead of simply one less step on the road to success.

Belief is what we use to deal with infinity. When your belief system becomes dysfunctional in one direction or another you become either OCD: Flip that switch or check that lock one more time, can’t be too sure! Or you become schizophrenic: It occurs to me that it is possible that someone is following me, therefore they must be!

Why is belief part of our brain then? Because we must be able to assume X to continue to calculate Y and Z. The world is more uncertain than ‘believers’ think; there are more possibilities. Additionally there is a point at which consideration of the possibilities can become cumbersome and consume more time than the value produced by the consideration of those scenarios.

When we consider probabilities and create possible scenarios for dealing with the future we make certain assumptions. We plan our day at work considering that we won’t have a blowout on the way there. Every plan has a variety of hidden assumptions; these are beliefs. The further we plan into the future the more we are presuming a stable environment. The further we plan, the more belief we have.

Belief is a limiting factor. It limits consideration to a few ‘likely’ sets of data. This is necessary to keep us from becoming locked in infinite consideration of the possibilities. This is a presumption based upon a specific context. If people have stolen from you at every opportunity throughout your life, you will plan you life around securing things most people would never consider. If you’ve left extremely valuable goods unprotected all throughout your life and never had them stolen, you will take risks that most people would balk at. You can see how your mind and those around you are balanced either towards consideration of posibilities or reliance upon probabilities. This is typically a left/right brain balance. It can be seen when considering the mindset of mathematicians and artists, republicans/conservatives and democrats/liberals. Most arguments that occur between people can be broken down to two sides: the rule (51+%) versus the exceptions or simply which context is the rule and which is the exception.

With this consideration you begin to see that probability is not real but context driven and dependent upon a stable environment. It is a guess because stable environments are not very common. Given enough time all things change. In addition to this, if your belief in your context is ironclad you may see changes in environment as simply exceptions unworthy of consideration or may see them as so threatening that an exception may cause an entire re-write of expectations. (for instance: totally losing belief in god if alien life is detected)

Each one of us has a context. We have a set of beliefs about the world around us and even ourselves. If we believe in our context we are bound by it. If we instead believe in our own ability to change and adapt then we have no fear of mistakes or being wrong. We see mistakes as a failure of our context not ourselves. We see the error of belief as a simple problem of misinformation. Only through a separation of our beliefs from our value can we have the boldness required to take on an ever-changing landscape.

When you consider your place in the blanace of rules versus exceptions remember the flaws of each side of the argument. ‘The rule’ is expedient and has proven to be useful but may be fundamentally flawed because of an innacurate context. The exception may herald a coming change to ‘the rule’ or may even prove ‘the rule’ as a skewed context but it is usually unproven and may hinder progress because of the infinite mutability of exceptions.

Belief and skepticism both have their values but it is more important to simply try your best to have the best context possible (through education) and then believe in it as necessary to develop theory. But when your best theories fail or even have some problem you must also be aware of the possible flaws in your knowledge and be eager to fix them. You must have balance, and consider that even your idea of balance may be unbalanced!

Your value is your potential not your knowledge or context. If you believe in yourself your potential is unlimited. Never believe in your ‘limitations’.

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