The Hub of Being (54) Belief


Belief is the central problem in the analysis of mind. The whole intellectual life consists of beliefs, and of the passage from one belief to another by what is called “reasoning.” Beliefs give knowledge and error; they are the vehicles of truth and falsehood. Psychology, theory of knowledge, and metaphysics revolve about belief, and on the view we take of belief, our philosophical outlook largely depends. ~ Bertrand Russell

The world each of us creates is a mental fabrication created through social intercourse. Most beliefs are based upon hearsay.

Belief is a trick of the mind that is not easily discarded, yet that is exactly what enlightenment requires: a disposal of belief and careful reexamination of actuality, away from how it is understood by the Collective.

Don’t try to think your way through anything. Assign the mind to do the work for you, quietly, and come back only when it has the answer sought.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away. ~ American science fiction writer Philip K. Dick

There is a strong inclination to accept sensory perception as reality, but what is taken as objective fact is instead a symbolic representation that has been subconsciously categorized and cross-checked to previous experience for consistency. Perception is an act of abstraction with an infusion of assigned meaning. All that we ever experience are nothing more than symbols and concepts to which we give credence.

As perception construes objects, so cognition construes ideas. In both cases, the representation is believed – empowered as it were true – prior to analysis of the representation’s accuracy. ~ American social psychologist Daniel Gilbert

Belief comes easy. In contrast, doubt takes effort.

The way to truth lies through destruction of the false. To destroy the false, you must question your most inveterate beliefs. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

The mind is prone to tidy compartmentalization. Something that does not make sense must be reconciled: either fit within an existing framework, a new schema created, or the datum is discarded as anomalous nonsense. As we age, we increasingly resist new schemas, as they may disrupt the existing worldview which took decades to construct and refine, and which may have become a fortress of certitude; that, and the eagerness of learning has rubbed off.

Create a concept and reality leaves the room. ~ Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset

As mental processing is symbolic manipulation, there is scant difference between experiential perception and imagination. Both are constructs of the mind. Belief is nothing more than a mental fabrication oriented toward a concept, aimed at comfortable reconciliation with what is already considered known.

Indeed, the world is ruled by little else than ideas. ~ English economist John Maynard Keynes

Acceptance of a perception or an idea is gated by a sense of rightness. The mind’s calibration device derives from 3 sources: personal psychology, biological disposition, and inculcated culture.

Part of the process of making sense of life experiences is building a mental edifice which crystallizes character and outlook. The contribution to belief of personal psychology is inextricable from the influences of biology and culture, as the 3 entangle.

Men believe what they want to. ~ Roman playwright Terence

Much of one’s belief system has a biological bent. For instance, the inclination of political belief is principally innate, premised upon a disposed degree of desire for uncertainty avoidance. Liberalism is a somewhat relaxed state of tolerance. In contrast, conservatism is an outgrowth of fear, with a strong preference for the certitude of the status quo and tradition.

Disgust plays a significant role in shaping conservative responses. Whereas liberals often perceive social issues relatively pragmatically, conservatives see them as matters of morality, with especial revulsion toward out-groups.

What we believe is based on perceptions. What we perceive depends on what we look for. What we look for depends on what we think. What we think depends on what we perceive. So what we perceive determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality. ~ American spiritual teacher Gary Zukav

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Reality is socially constructed. ~ Austrian American sociologists Peter Berger & Thomas Luckmann

We are social beings. Most of our beliefs are imbibed from the people we are closest to and the culture in which we grew up. Our gregarious nature involves adopting beliefs as badges of tribal identity. All this is pursuit of ignorance, as it attaches importance to ideas.

To be free in the world you must be free of the world. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Understanding existence as it really is, rather than how it appears, or how we wish it to appear, is contrary to what the biology of the mind inclines, what personal experience one has encountered, and counter-intuitive to the belief systems of the Collective. Hence, the path to enlightenment is a solitary one: an alienation from cognitive habits and cultural norms.

Clear your mind of dogmatic debris. Let in direct perception. ~ Indian yogi Lahiri Mahasaya

To understand your true nature, and so edge toward enlightenment, discard your mental baggage and make a fresh start. Do not accept the valuation your mind places upon anything. Concepts are merely a convenience for navigating through life. They are not real.

Truth only reveals itself when one gives up all preconceived ideas. ~ Japanese Zen Buddhist monk Gido Shoseki

Only by relinquishing your grip on thoughts as having any intrinsic value can you understand that the mind is the obstacle to inner peace.