Why Do You Believe?
“At the core of all well-founded belief, lies belief that is unfounded.”
– Ludwig Wittgenstein
A certain holy book states that if you seek the truth, it will set you free. Why would a holy book that is “the truth”, according to some, tell you to go seek the truth? Perhaps, here’s why.
Our belief systems are what we believe to be the truth. That is, you believe you know, even when you don’t. Of course, belief systems change every generation or so. Therefore, what we believe is the truth is constantly changing. Even science has but one certainty – and that is that scientific theory is always changing. That’s why they refer to it as theory, as opposed to the term “scientific truth.”
Most of us are married to our beliefs, unable to see other perspectives. In fact, most people won’t even consider that they might be wrong. So, whether it’s politics, religion or simply where to get the best Polish sausage in Chicago, everyone has an opinion and they’re absolutely convinced that they are right. Just go ask Ashley Judd, for example. Stuart Chase put it this way, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”
Strangely enough, though, our beliefs are based on what other people have told us and their beliefs are based on what other people have told them…and so on. We are always living someone else’s beliefs. For most, we believe in what we believe because we want to fit in (in our culture, that is). Our culture dictates our beliefs.
However, to truly believe means that you must decide for yourselves. Try this little experiment. Start with a clean sheet of paper. This represents your mind, with no beliefs whatsoever. Then write down what you believe in, but only those things that you can honestly tell yourself that you absolutely know are true. When you’re finished, how many beliefs have you written down? It might surprise you to know that many of those beliefs are not true.
In the end, it’s not so much about what you believe in, but how it is that you have decided to believe. You have the power to choose. Life is always about choices. To truly choose, though, requires that you overcome fear – the fear of being rejected by others. That’s why so many people compromise and choose other people’s belief systems. They consider it “safer.” After all, why be an individual when you can be safe in the hive mind?
However, choices have consequences – frequently ones that are life-changing. If you live your life based on other peoples’ beliefs you will never become the person that you were meant to be. Rather, you’ll simply be a clone reiterating what you’ve been brainwashed to believe. As Kevin Michel said, “Every conscious thought you have, every moment you spend on an idea, is a commitment to be stuck with that idea and with aspects of that level of thinking, for the rest of your life.”
There are a few reasons why humans are unable to ascertain the truth. First of all, their physical senses are woefully limited; their most important sense, intuition, is rarely even used. Further, the virtual reality matrix that we exist in is designed in such a way as to obscure the truth. We have become a dumbed-down species which is often incapable of processing information, let alone determining if it is accurate or not. Accordingly, you need to consider if anything you have been taught to believe is really true.
“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” – David Bohm