Sunday, July 3, 2011

The two kinds of beliefs.

Ultimately, nothing we believe can ever be true, because the entire idea of things being true or not true is a fabrication of our mind. But regardless, within the typical dualistic human paradigm, there are things that “seem” to be true, even though our expression of their truth is just another story. For example, when you say “I am twenty-five years old,” it very likely is true that this planet did circle around our sun twenty-five times since you were born, and each circle is what we call a year, so there is some reality that is in alignment with your story. So, even though nothing we believe can be true in a concrete way, some beliefs are “provable” and are “true” within the typical human paradigm.
Now, within this standard dualistic paradigm of humanity, there are two kinds of beliefs that one can hold in their mind.
The first kind is a belief that is neutrally, emotionlessly, almost reluctantly held by the thinker, in response to a logically convincing amount of evidence. The person holds this belief not because they care if it’s true or not, but because they’ve seen a convincing amount of evidence, and so they say “This seems to be true, so unless a lot of contradictory evidence suddenly shows up, I’ll hold this to be true. I believe it.”
For example, if it’s clearly proven that broccoli is incredibly healthy to eat, and there isn’t any contradictory evidence, I will eat broccoli. And if suddenly it’s discovered that there’s actually something really unhealthy about it, I’ll stop eating broccoli. There are plenty of other foods. Not a problem. I had no attachment to broccoli being healthy or unhealthy. I simply wanted to find out as best I could which it is, so I’m informed about what I should eat.
The second kind of belief is very different. The second kind of belief is something someone needs to believe. Something they have a very strong bias towards, on which their peace of mind is dependent. They don’t care about evidence or logic, they only care about doing whatever they can to prove that belief true, because without it, they can’t find peace, or their identity falls apart, or whatever.
For example, a belief in heaven. People like to believe in heaven, because they wish they could go to such a place after they die. They want to believe that it’s there waiting for them. There isn’t any evidence for it, but nonetheless people firmly believe they’re going to heaven, because it makes them feel good.
So, in summary, the two kinds of beliefs are:
1. A belief held by a person because they have seen substantial convincing evidence for it and have concluded, for now (they are open to any new evidence that may come along), that the claim appears to be true.
2. A belief held by a person, toward which they have a strong bias because their ego wants or needs it to be true for various reasons, usually involving fear or conformity.
Most people hold many beliefs in the second category. Way too many. I myself have a few I’m sure. But I think we all should strive to only believe things in the manner of the first kind of belief. The second kind of belief is useless, and usually hinders our ability to be powerful and productive in life, because it takes us away from reality, and distorts our perception of things. One should never care if their belief is proven false. Beliefs should not be intertwined with ego. A belief should simply be a neutral observation: “That appears to be true, based on the evidence we have so far.”

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