Belief and Psychology
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14-07-2014, 09:05 AM
Belief and Psychology
I think the most important question we can ask is why do we ask? Or why do we believe? When we start asking these questions and start finding real answers then we no longer have to deal with the beliefs of others because rather than dealing with What they believe we can focus on Why they believe it.

Ultimately we are beings that are subject to impulses, such as fears and desires, but our minds also have the capacity for reason and formulating potential scenarios in our minds, creative thought and the imagination, and as such our old animal features of impulse are now subject to a new variable, and so can be provoked in new ways, hence our behaviour can be notably more erratic than our animal contemporaries.

Understanding a phenomena the likes of Mortality introduces us to a new fear, a new way impulse can manifest in our behaviour, whereas an animal may hold the self preservation instinct and respond accordingly to observed threats, they do not have a profound conceptual understanding of what death actually means or implies. So as human beings we have this existential thorn in our brains that we need to come to terms with lest it niggle us and manifest in potentially irrational ways in our behaviour. Granted the fear of death may well prove advantageous in a range of circumstances but it could also make things much worse and we require an adequate discipline over it in order to make the determination.

This is one way in which Religion can become attractive to people; the idea that death isn't really real, it is some kind of transitional phase to a next level or stage of life. This can deal with the initial fear of death, so in itself isn't all that bad an idea, but when we start to introduce terms that stipulate the quality of that 'afterlife' depend on the way we exist now, then you reintroduce fear, in so making the very point of belief in an afterlife redundant. Now what happens is a Religion tends to place morals, ethics and virtues as those stipulations, as long as you are "good" or obey what they define as 'Righteousness' then the fear should alleviate.

So there is one reason for believing that Religion exploits, but the idea in itself is not all that corrupt, it is in what defines morality and how obedience is enforced that the issue arises.

Another fear we encounter, inherent existentially, is what I call 'Surreal Aloneness' which is the fact that although we may be in a crowded room, or married with children, we exist ultimately isolated in our own head-space detached from other minds and, as I see it, even detached from reality as it truly is, we see an interpretation of it that our minds are capable of, and with our intellectual capacity we forge an approximation of it and how it works, and this goes on to help us analyse what we observe or imagine potential scenarios. So this fear or aloneness inspires things like communication and intimacy but it also has its dangers, such as being needy or insecure, not to mention it can manifest in beliefs; we seek a sense of belonging to others and/or something greater than ourselves, a connection to the world/universe/reality, hence God becomes the epitome for such a common thread.

Then there is God as a vision of the person we want to be; we have this idea of what greatness is, this isn't God in the classical sense but it is what we want to be, the perfect embodiment of ourselves, flawless in all ways, incorruptible and devoid of weakness, often benevolent and wise but not necessarily. This is not what I'd consider a bad thing either; having a goal to strive for, even if unrealistic, this can drive our improvement and as long as we keep it in perspective for what it is it should be okay. However in success our ego tends to develop the Superiority Complex, which can harden into ignorance and stagnate due to a sense we are at some kind of pinnacle we are unable to grow beyond, but this is a defect in itself, much like the opposite "shame" can withdraw us into weak esteem, crippling both our will and ability, losing respect or confidence in our own goodness or strength.

So here is a general rundown of some ideas I play around with when I ask why we believe, I hope people can glean something from them and I welcome comments, thanks.
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14-07-2014, 01:42 PM
RE: Belief and Psychology
Well thanks for your article. I find my self drifting to the same conclusions. However, I am thankful that you are articulating what I have only been thinking! Thanks again!!

K:

Arguing with a zealot is only slightly easier than tunneling through a mountain with your forehead!
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