Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Beggaring belief - part I

This post started out as a short piece about belief but I let it roll and now its going to be a series examining belief, the resultant cognitions and how we work on a basic neuro - chemical level. I promise you it is not complicated. In fact it is spelled out pretty simply and there is nothing amazing here for anyone already liberated however, this is for the layman. We have discovered at the core of reality, there is an illusion of self that actually does not exist in reality. On observing this, it becomes quite simple to explain away some simple phenomena.

So if there is no self, how is it a human is able to form core beliefs?

Well first of all we already know that life lives itself. If there is to be no self, “you”, “I” or whatever label you want to give it, the core of liberation, is seeing that it is just not there in real life.

For starters we know that “I” is a fictional reference in subjective thought. Thought just happens anyway, it always has done it always will, whilst you are alive. Without delving in to the origins of self awareness, we know that at some point the functionality of the human brain in conjunction with the origins of language and our evolutionary psychology gave rise to an “I” function.

This not only facilitated communication but was also responsible for giving us massive scope for the brain analysing its own cognitions.

Now this human is simply an organism living, it just so happens that this “I” function gave rise to an idea of a thinker eventually, which as we already know, is exactly what “you” is; a fictional idea in subjective thought. We know thought happens, we have already seen evidence of thought and planning in other creatures. Check out monkeys making spears in National Geographica as a great example of this. Obviously they don't speak language, so there is no internal dialogue going on but there is the capacity for the brain to function in a coherent planning capacity, without language.

So animals have cognitions, so do humans but it is our arrogance that assumes we are so special. We are biological organisms as it happens and whilst our cognitive capabilities far surpasses other creatures, we are still biological organisms and as far as the earth is concerned we might be the smartest but we are still biological organisms existing on earth. There is no mystery there really but we have advanced to have a cohesive and co operative society (I use this loosely :)) and show many more traits other animals do not seem to have.

So what exactly is a belief? A belief is simply a part of the subjective map the brain has made of reality. Our existential experience dictates any beliefs we hold. People can say I choose to believe in god but quite simply it is part of human nature to follow others. If we look at what can cause someone not to believe in god, it is usually the direct experience of not seeing evidence to prove its existence and the societal conditionings of others, who would claim the god squad were silly etc...

In other words the brain does not form a cogent model of reality through this belief structure that
a) satisfies its survival and replication prospects and
b) does not tie in with existential experience.

The brain is strictly only able to form its model from what can be observed in reality. That is why you can be tricked in to believing something but once it is seen for fallacy, it is not possible to hold this belief again. This is why you can not logically convince people of some things, because a map is formed of reality and any deviation from this construct is seen as something that will affect our survival and replication prospects in a cognitive psychological capacity.

People who believe in god may well be ostracised by their non believing peers somewhat and they will often align themselves with others, who believe the same story. In other words people will seek to align themselves with people who hold common beliefs and values. This is merely human nature and is self explanatory of course.

So lets look at where this belief arises. Often religious people are born in to religious families and are conditioned in to believing in god. Also take many schools that have school prayers etc... From this point in life, religion is seen to be a normal thing, religion is at home in the school, it is pretty much all you would know and you would just accept it as your reality. As time goes on the belief would be called in to question numerous times and people would have to cling hard to this belief but as long as you had your little clan of believers to keep you in this reinforcing circle, as long as you found solace in your beliefs, you thought hey I'm a good person and I will have an afterlife, you have a nice little model of reality. The threat of oblivion which the false concept of self fears, plays nicely in to this model. Whenever the going gets tough, you can pray to this entity upstairs and hey, if you genuinely believe it is in your head looking out for you, you have the equivalent of an imaginary friend helping you.

This model of reality has it perks, it may be insular and requires a lot of belief but it does tie up all the loose ends. There is a definite attraction with this model of reality and if it was imposed on you from a young age and you never found reason to question it, then why would you?

You can turn round and say I choose to believe but if you had already been conditioned in to it, then it is not your belief. New converts etc... are often introduced to this model, get to meet nice people and have a good time doing the whole thing, the attraction is there, there is no denying this.

 However, most rational people will not entertain this model and as such you find born again christians, are often people who have had many problems in life and find a convenient escapism and stability in the idea of religion. I am just generalising here but my point is they don't get people to convert by rational thought alone, this simply does not happen.

They could hold the belief that this was their decision but you can not choose your beliefs. That is right, you can not choose your beliefs. Core beliefs are arbitrary givens, of an organisms experience. They are not your beliefs in any way shape or form because there is no you to own the beliefs or influence them. Life lives itself, it always has done. You don't get to choose what is worthy of believing there is just a model of reality that the brain accepts or rejects.

In other words, you do not choose what is believable or not, it just simply IS believed or it is not. We know this because we only have to take newspaper stories that are simply repeated enough times and unless there is some threshold of belief in the opposite camp, it is usually taken on as a belief among the population. This belief is not some decision we actually sat and thought about it is simply conditioning through repetition. We only need listen to all the crap they spew about immigrants in the UK coming over taking all our money and jobs for instance.

Whilst religion is a wishy washy subject anyway, it is well intentioned core belief, even if it is grounded in nothing substantiating.

Whilst people harp on about how the bible is the most accurate document ever and all that carry on, we can simply see within the circle that a belief is self-reinforcing. Any belief that is held by an organism, will cause the brain to look for evidence to reinforce that belief. So you get these people stating these things they have heard elsewhere and all the time they ignore the fact that some parts of the bible were repressed, the overwhelming evidence of evolution and of course physics.

We have proven the earth is older than 8,000 years old, just by simply measuring light wavelengths from the far reaches of other galaxies. However, they just ignore the stark facts and their belief is still staked in the bible. How can this be? The truth is already there and yet, the belief still remains. Take evolution, you can go on Conservapedia's evolution page and don't forget they tout it as “the reliable encyclopedia” and it is merely a collection of anti evolution propaganda. Why would they go to such lengths to deny reality?


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