Beliefs


hope Beliefs are notions that humans use, yet which are often seen to compete. The function of "belief" itself (believing) is quite different from the content of beliefs.

Beliefs are common to all people, some beliefs provide a measure of survival value for people where there is some threat to existence, though other/different beliefs could also ensure survival if they had been chosen instead. Other beliefs seem to mediate only a need to believe something, whether that is dependent on survival in terms of physical survival, or psychological survival, or whether the beliefs merely mediate the normative behavior of a group and give the group
a shared identity - for example - allows a group to identify itself and to say "this is who we are and
this is how we live."

Much violence has been done throughout history in the name of, or on behalf of competing beliefs however. For example, there have been religious wars, political wars,and any number of other types of war or violence that all shared the feature of being justified on the basis of a set of beliefs and whose beliefs are right or wrong.

Throughout history, none of these competing beliefs has "won" out over another, none
has succeeded another, none has been so substantial as to have appealed to all humanity
as being a most substantial and fulsome belief set that all people ascribe to it and it satisfies the human craving for beliefs that are substantive.

What compels people to create and hold on to beliefs with such vigor, and makes them
so terribly afraid to change or relinquish beliefs once established?

It begs the question as to the nature of belief itself - and not the particular beliefs
that people hold.

So what can we learn by examining the nature and need to believe? If the beliefs are not
necessary for survival, it seems that there is less at stake to hold on to those beliefs that are merely
a consensus?

Fundamentally, beliefs serve the need and function of creating stasis - a type of normative behavior by which people organize their social constructs create their social consensus, and maintain themselves in a state that attempts to deny the chaos that they fear will overtake them in life. Somehow, beliefs transmute into 'absolutes' which may cause severe disruption were they to fail, or be challenged in a way that destabilizes the social net.

The stasis of beliefs is a powerfully compelling force for those who have seen no alternative, and who are unused to significant change. Even when beliefs limit life, or worse, deny or destroy life humans are loathe to relinquish those beliefs which on close reflection can be shown to pose a serious threat to their own existences owing to the essentially unstable nature of many beliefs.



More to come.
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