Belief

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Belief

Postby DavidB » Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:11 am

One of the most common threads of general popular culture, is this notion, "you must believe".

I tend to find this whole notion of belief to be restrictive and delusional. I wonder what others think?
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: Belief

Postby Enlightened2B » Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:38 pm

As I often say....it's all about context.

So, what context are you referring to? Believe in what? How do you define belief?
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Re: Belief

Postby Webwanderer » Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:44 pm

No one can escape having beliefs. What matters is that one recognize the beliefs one personally holds as well as those of others, and choose, whenever possible, those that work best in navigating life. Beliefs create the experience of reality. Knowing this, and how to re-create beliefs, is power.

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Re: Belief

Postby ashley72 » Fri Aug 28, 2015 4:51 am

This diagram provides a simple visual understanding of how belief fits in with relative to truth.

Image

To really understand belief, you first need to have a well define understanding of "truth".

Let's define "truth" as a process by which a perceiver accurately copies what is known as "objective reality" and then representing it in thoughts, words and other symbols.

"Belief" then represents the distance or gap between the symbolic representation of human knowledge and actual objective reality (truth).

I agree with WW... You can't escape belief its simply a consequence of human perception. In other words, you don't get any closer to the truth by not adopting any beliefs.
Last edited by ashley72 on Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Belief

Postby ashley72 » Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:15 am

Another question worth exploring is what is a "Concept"?

Take for example the concept "tree"..... what is a tree?

If you look at this illustration below you can see that a tree isn't just derived from one mental representation... its intrinsic structure is defined by a group of symbolic mental representations that all share some loose similarity which is hard to extract or define in absolute terms.

Image

Douglas Hofstadter defines a "concept" as being preceded by a group of analogies. What is analogy? This could be defined as an abstract mental representation being defined by a more familiar concrete mental representation. So there is a kind of transferring of meaning from a primary domain to target domain.

Our physical space is our primary domain, and this concrete mental representation gets used in abstract ideas like our "Mind space". This is why we use terms like "Narrow minded", "Broad minded", "Open minded", "Closed minded" .... to describe different introspective features of our mind space. Because our mind space is an abstract concept, the best we can do to define this abstract idea....is merely draw from our concrete mental representation of physical space around us & transfer or borrow meaning from one domain to another.
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Re: Belief

Postby Rob X » Fri Aug 28, 2015 4:18 pm

DavidB wrote:One of the most common threads of general popular culture, is this notion, "you must believe".

I tend to find this whole notion of belief to be restrictive and delusional. I wonder what others think?


In terms of spiritual/nondual teachings, I would agree that belief is restrictive. On his deathbed the Buddha is reported to have said 'be a light unto yourself'. By this he meant you must see this for yourself - don't take it on anyone else's authority.

As to belief in everyday affairs, yes, I would agree that beliefs are unavoidable but there is a spectrum on which belief becomes delusion. I would think that most of us here believe that the earth is a sphere (at this end of the spectrum belief is known as knowledge) but I'm guessing that few of us believe that water can be turned into wine or, indeed, that the earth is flat.
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Re: Belief

Postby Webwanderer » Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:13 pm

Rob X wrote:In terms of spiritual/nondual teachings, I would agree that belief is restrictive.

So, you 'believe' that belief is restrictive? That seems self-fulfilling. I'm not suggesting that such a perception is necessarily wrong, only that there is a larger context through which to see the nature of beliefs.

The word 'restrictive' is itself restrictive suggesting a negative. I get a better sense of it through seeing belief as creative to experience. And I would suggest that all experience has value even though some experience is a lot more enjoyable than others. Knowing that our belief structures are key to how we perceive events opens the door to being more intentionally creative in our experience.

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Re: Belief

Postby Rob X » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:17 pm

Webwanderer wrote:
Rob X wrote:In terms of spiritual/nondual teachings, I would agree that belief is restrictive.

So, you 'believe' that belief is restrictive? That seems self-fulfilling. I'm not suggesting that such a perception is necessarily wrong, only that there is a larger context through which to see the nature of beliefs.

The word 'restrictive' is itself restrictive suggesting a negative. I get a better sense of it through seeing belief as creative to experience. And I would suggest that all experience has value even though some experience is a lot more enjoyable than others. Knowing that our belief structures are key to how we perceive events opens the door to being more intentionally creative in our experience.

WW


I would say that in terms of self enquiry/nonduality etc., belief is not only restrictive, it's completely missing the point.

But as I acknowledged, beliefs are unavoidable. But we have to be careful how we use the term - some beliefs amount to common knowledge, some are opinions and some amount to delusion.

I agree that being aware of how our beliefs affect our experience is crucial. And that's where I came in, awareness is key.
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Re: Belief

Postby DavidB » Sat Aug 29, 2015 2:27 am

This is from wikipedia:

Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty. In other words, belief is when someone thinks something is reality, true, when they have no absolute verified foundation for their certainty of the truth or realness of something.[1] Another way of defining belief is, it is a mental representation of an attitude positively orientated towards the likelihood of something being true.[2] In the context of Ancient Greek thought, two related concepts were identified with regards to the concept of belief: pistis and doxa. Simplified, we may say that pistis refers to trust and confidence, while doxa refers to opinion and acceptance. The English word doctrine is derived from doxa.


Something this definition doesn't seem to include, is that all belief, whether true or imagined, is a conceptualization. A concept is a thought form, and therefore is only ever a thought based representation of the object of belief, and never the object itself. Many objects/objectives though, do begin existence as a concept, or as a thought form.

However, I am specifically concerned with the often used concept, "one ought simply believe", as though belief has some magical transformative properties that can transform the believer so long as they believe.

I was watching Kung Fu Panda recently, and was simply enjoying the film and quite surprised by the level of consciousness used in the film. Everything was going along nicely until Shifu comes to Oogway with bad news..


Shifu: I... I... have... it's... it's very bad news.
Oogway: Aah, Shifu. There's just news. There's no good or bad.
Shifu: Master, your vision... your vision was right. Tai Lung has broken out of prison! He's on his way!
Oogway: That is bad news... if you do not believe that the Dragon Warrior can stop him.
Shifu: The panda? Master, that panda is not the Dragon Warrior. He wasn't even meant to be here. It was an accident.
Oogway: There are no accidents.
Shifu: [Sighs] Yes, I know. You said that already... twice.
Oogway: Well, that was no accident either.
Shifu: ... Thrice.
Oogway: My friend, the panda will never fulfill his destiny, nor you yours, until you let go of the illusion of control.
Shifu: Illusion?
Oogway: Yes. Look at this tree, Shifu. I cannot make it blossom when it suits me, nor make it bear fruit before it's time.
Shifu: But there are things we can control. [Kicks the tree causing several peaches to fall] I can control when the fruit will fall. [One hits him on the head. Oogway chuckles] And I can control... [Tosses the peach in the air and chops it in half] ...where to plant the seed. [Punches a hole in the ground and catches the seed] That is no illusion, Master. [Throws the seed into the hole]
Oogway: Ah, yes. But no matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach.
Shifu: But a peach cannot defeat Tai Lung!
Oogway: Maybe it can. [Covers the seed in dirt] If you are willing to guide it, to nurture it. To believe in it.
Shifu: But how? How? I need your help, master.
Oogway: No. You just need to believe. Promise me, Shifu. Promise me you will believe.
Shifu: I... I will try.
Oogway: Good. [Sees petals floating around him] My time has come. You must continue your journey without me. [Hands Shifu his staff]
Shifu: What... What are you...? [Oogway backs into the swirling petals] Master, you can't leave me!
Oogway: [Starts to vanish] You must believe.

Normally I couldn't care less what people believe, however it does concern me somewhat, when belief is represented in this way. What says you all?

Oh and btw, I watched the rest of the film and enjoyed it very much. :)
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Re: Belief

Postby snowheight » Sat Aug 29, 2015 1:18 pm

Webwanderer wrote:
Rob X wrote:In terms of spiritual/nondual teachings, I would agree that belief is restrictive.

So, you 'believe' that belief is restrictive? That seems self-fulfilling. I'm not suggesting that such a perception is necessarily wrong, only that there is a larger context through which to see the nature of beliefs.

The word 'restrictive' is itself restrictive suggesting a negative. I get a better sense of it through seeing belief as creative to experience. And I would suggest that all experience has value even though some experience is a lot more enjoyable than others. Knowing that our belief structures are key to how we perceive events opens the door to being more intentionally creative in our experience.

WW


If belief is simply an idea taken as true or false then it's certainly possible to experience life in suspension of them for at least some time. There are also entire classes of ideas that simply aren't necessary for living. Existential ideas are the ones that the OP was referring to as restrictive, in that any idea one has of themselves, any conceptualized sense they have of their identity, is exactly such a limitation.

What we really are isn't subject to any such limit, certainly not one that can be expressed as a conception of the intellect or even by any emotion, other than perhaps flat-out and speechless awe. :D
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Re: Belief

Postby snowheight » Sat Aug 29, 2015 1:32 pm

DavidB wrote:One of the most common threads of general popular culture, is this notion, "you must believe".

I tend to find this whole notion of belief to be restrictive and delusional. I wonder what others think?


Image
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Re: Belief

Postby Webwanderer » Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:26 pm

snowheight wrote:If belief is simply an idea taken as true or false then it's certainly possible to experience life in suspension of them for at least some time. There are also entire classes of ideas that simply aren't necessary for living. Existential ideas are the ones that the OP was referring to as restrictive, in that any idea one has of themselves, any conceptualized sense they have of their identity, is exactly such a limitation.

What we really are isn't subject to any such limit, certainly not one that can be expressed as a conception of the intellect or even by any emotion, other than perhaps flat-out and speechless awe.

I certainly agree with your perception of our fundamental unlimitedness. That said, perceptual limitation in this human form seems pretty much ubiquitous. What I'm pointing to is that there is purpose in limiting perspective through the mechanism of belief for the opportunity of unique experience.

Beliefs tend to be characterized as only 'limitations' when a broader perception is to see them as creative structures of experience and human interaction. It seems to me that there is a certain beauty to waking up from an adventurous exploratory dream - a dream created by a context of structured beliefs - and awakening back to the clarity of our true nature.

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Re: Belief

Postby snowheight » Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:56 am

Webwanderer wrote:
snowheight wrote:If belief is simply an idea taken as true or false then it's certainly possible to experience life in suspension of them for at least some time. There are also entire classes of ideas that simply aren't necessary for living. Existential ideas are the ones that the OP was referring to as restrictive, in that any idea one has of themselves, any conceptualized sense they have of their identity, is exactly such a limitation.

What we really are isn't subject to any such limit, certainly not one that can be expressed as a conception of the intellect or even by any emotion, other than perhaps flat-out and speechless awe.

I certainly agree with your perception of our fundamental unlimitedness. That said, perceptual limitation in this human form seems pretty much ubiquitous. What I'm pointing to is that there is purpose in limiting perspective through the mechanism of belief for the opportunity of unique experience.

Beliefs tend to be characterized as only 'limitations' when a broader perception is to see them as creative structures of experience and human interaction. It seems to me that there is a certain beauty to waking up from an adventurous exploratory dream - a dream created by a context of structured beliefs - and awakening back to the clarity of our true nature.

WW


The senses are limited but it takes the entirety of eternity to conspire to generate the information that they present. It's in quieting the body and the mind that this becomes apparent. The senses are of what moves, of what comes and goes. Without contrast, there is nothing to sense, so what never changes, what those senses present to, is never presented directly by them.

These creative structures you mention describe the how of creating, and as people moving through the world, the way in which we move is, of course, much more important than where we think we're moving to. The question that the mind can only ever botch is: what is it that is creating? That the mind fumbles there only increases the importance of the question. :)
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Re: Belief

Postby DavidB » Sun Aug 30, 2015 4:37 pm

Webwanderer wrote:I certainly agree with your perception of our fundamental unlimitedness. That said, perceptual limitation in this human form seems pretty much ubiquitous. What I'm pointing to is that there is purpose in limiting perspective through the mechanism of belief for the opportunity of unique experience.

Beliefs tend to be characterized as only 'limitations' when a broader perception is to see them as creative structures of experience and human interaction. It seems to me that there is a certain beauty to waking up from an adventurous exploratory dream - a dream created by a context of structured beliefs - and awakening back to the clarity of our true nature.

WW


Eckhart states in Still Speaks,


Many things in your life matter, but only one thing matters absolutely.

It matters whether you succeed or fail in the eyes of the world. It matters whether you are healthy or not healthy, whether you are educated or not educated. It matter whether you are rich or poor — it certainly makes a difference in your life. Yes, all these things matter, relatively speaking, but they don't matter absolutely.

There is something that matters more than any of those things and that is finding the essence of who you are beyond that short-lived entity, that short-lived personalized sense of self.

Eckhart Tolle


Belief, or not belief, in this or that, can make a difference in our lives, but it can never tell us who we are at the deepest level. It can only ever add to the short-lived personalized sense of self. And that's ok, because we all tend to move through belief for a while, creating temporary selves. It serves its purpose, helping to draw us nearer to the understanding, that nothing we ever believe about ourselves is ever who we truly are.
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Re: Belief

Postby DavidB » Sun Aug 30, 2015 4:41 pm

snowheight wrote:
DavidB wrote:One of the most common threads of general popular culture, is this notion, "you must believe".

I tend to find this whole notion of belief to be restrictive and delusional. I wonder what others think?


Image


Forgive my ignorance snowheight, I have no idea what this represents. Care to elaborate?
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