Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
romansh

How We Form Beliefs

Recommended Posts

18 hours ago, JosephM said:

Paul

I think Rom believes we have choice just not free choice.

It seems to me, The mind makes the choice. I have a mind but I am not the mind. It is a tool and when i do identify with it it is the small i or ego. I have a story and a mind but i know it isn't I. The I is bigger than my story or mind and not subject to decay. It is in dualistic terms eternal. The conundrum is that the mind is created but not separate from the I.

Joseph

So if your mind isn't you, but that mind is making the choices, then 'you' are not choosing your beliefs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, PaulS said:

But belief isn't a decision, it's a recognition of what you now think is the truth.

Quote

You recognize, as choice, the process that goes into making decisions and then zero in on the supposed very 'moment' of decision or choice and say it is not a choice. I am saying it is a process that one chooses to enter into (agreeing with you), after an initial belief has been challenged and that leads to a new belief: it is all a piece; it is all part and parcel of choice.

 

3 hours ago, PaulS said:

Again, I challenge this and ask you "can you, right now, believe that Jesus was born of a virgin?  Are you able to choose that belief now, knowing what you do?  No.  Of course if something was introduced that change your mind, you may believe once again, but not by choice IMO.

Quote

This has been answered: you are setting up an artificial experiment rather than how choices are made real time in real life. Belief 'decisions' are not made in a void.

3 hours ago, PaulS said:

I just tried to keep it simple by using Santa.  But let's use real life.  I believe that I cannot fly.  Can I choose to believe I can fly?  Of course not, because I 'know' the truth.  Now if new experiences/observations convinced me otherwise, my belief might change.  Yet not by choice, but simply by conclusion of the new information.

Quote

This is a different thing. We know people cannot fly unaided. It is not a question of belief. Believing in Santa, virgin birth, Joseph's point about minds, etc.  - these are subjects of belief.  However, if for argument sake, we want to throw flying unaided in, then if you belief you can't, nothing gets done, that is your belief. If somehow this belief were legitimately (?) challenged, then one would investigate, question, consult experts, read, study, etc and, in the end, as part of the process (see above) his initial belief would be confirmed. 

 

3 hours ago, PaulS said:

I presume you 'believe' your wife was a suitable life partner and hence why you selected her as your wife.  You didn't have a choice, your experience told you that she was the one for you.  Now if you believed that there were two women whom you identically thought either could be your life partners, then you'd have a choice to make.

Actually I did have a choice: and, believing, we might have something, we investigated (dated), questioned and studied (got to know one another and know stuff about one another) and having lived this process: Poof, the choice was made (again not an artificial lab experiment, not a single moment but the entire, lived process of moving to belief. 

It's been fun but we obviously disagree and you have made the choice to believe what you think (after challenges, investigations, study, reflection, discussion, etc.) is right. Me too :+}

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, JosephM said:

It seems to me, The mind makes the choice. I have a mind but I am not the mind. It is a tool and when i do identify with it it is the small i or ego. I have a story and a mind but i know it isn't I. The I is bigger than my story or mind and not subject to decay. It is in dualistic terms eternal. The conundrum is that the mind is created but not separate from the I.

This is interesting and perhaps a topic for another thread but:

What is the small i, in this belief? One assumes the i is an illusion but in dualistic terms, what is the i and what is the I? And, why is there the i, why did I created or manifest this way? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK here are a couple of examples of how I think I formed my beliefs.

The Earth is sphere like floating in space around the sun.  Despite the apparent simple intuitive observation the sun rising and setting being told in early childhood that the Earth rotates like a spinning ball and being taught in school that it is so was enough to form my belief. Later photos from space man going to the moon etc was enough to convince me. The model of the Earth being a sphere today explains way too much for me to give up on this belief.

Regarding things like gods etc I don't recall having any sort literal belief. Never believed in the miracles or the virgin birth etc, even when I would not know what a virgin was. In my teens when I was confirmed I tried to believe and any "Father like beliefs I may have tried to believe were not strong a deistic wishy-washy type affair. Almost immediately after confirmation went to university. This was an a-religious time. Was not difficult to become increasingly agnostic. By the time I finished my second bout of university I was a devout agnostic. Looking back on this I can't help but think my beliefs were a reflection of the company I kept.

But today, in a slightly more philosophical bent, I find at times just having beliefs and then confabulating reasons to have them. Obviously I have come across the reasons before but then there is perhaps, unconsciously initially, a point where the belief crystallizes. So when what has been a discussion about choice of belief so far has pointed to conscious choice and unconscious choice. Paul early said he decided to do some research. I can't help wondering how much of a confabulation this was. Was Paul researching and and then "decided" to do more.

And regarding how I came to lose my belief in free will. It was simply pointed out if I believed in cause and effect then free will is an illusion. If I believed in indeterminacy in some form then that was even worse. It took about three weeks for me to lose my belief, even though I knew the writing was on the wall once I started thinking about it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, romansh said:

Paul early said he decided to do some research. I can't help wondering how much of a confabulation this was. Was Paul researching and and then "decided" to do more.

I think that'd be right, Rom.  I didn't set about to research something that I simply already believed to be true, but instead started to experience a degree of cognitive dissonance between what I had believed to be true up to that point in time and what I was then experiencing.  This made me question previously held beliefs, which led me to read about different lines of thought, which lead to me being satisfied about new explanations for things, which then became my new beliefs.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/4/2018 at 4:54 AM, PaulS said:

So if your mind isn't you, but that mind is making the choices, then 'you' are not choosing your beliefs?

In my view, If you identify with the mind as i ( paul) then you can say Paul is choosing his beliefs . If you do not identify with your mind as Paul then you see your beliefs are metely unfolding rather than having choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, JosephM said:

In my view, If you identify with the mind as i ( paul) then you can say Paul is choosing his beliefs . If you do not identify with your mind as Paul then you see your beliefs are metely unfolding rather than having choice.

This to me seems like a semantic hedge.

But if we don't give the mind a primacy, then we scepticism is in order.  A meandering river chooses its path down a mountain and across a valley bottom. It uses the same four fundamental forces that we are aware of. There may be more, but so what? 

My point is that forming a belief is an act. It seems to be something that we are of unconscious of for the most part, but we do become aware of it once it has formed. It could be argued this belief (or meme) has found a place to call home or at least for a little while before it replicates on a piece of paper, a monitor or in another brain. These beliefs we take on come from outside, we may not always see the sources. Often they are mix of several other ideas that we think of as novel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/4/2018 at 9:05 AM, thormas said:

This is interesting and perhaps a topic for another thread but:

What is the small i, in this belief? One assumes the i is an illusion but in dualistic terms, what is the i and what is the I? And, why is there the i, why did I created or manifest this way? 

As simply as i am able to put it the small i is the ego which takes on the identity as separate from the rest of creation and believes it is the mind, physical body and identifys with its story as who it is. It is the illusion.  The large I is the I am or creator and source of the small  i. Or what you might refer to as God or the higher Self.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, romansh said:

This to me seems like a semantic hedge.

But if we don't give the mind a primacy, then we scepticism is in order.  A meandering river chooses its path down a mountain and across a valley bottom. It uses the same four fundamental forces that we are aware of. There may be more, but so what? 

My point is that forming a belief is an act. It seems to be something that we are of unconscious of for the most part, but we do become aware of it once it has formed. It could be argued this belief (or meme) has found a place to call home or at least for a little while before it replicates on a piece of paper, a monitor or in another brain. These beliefs we take on come from outside, we may not always see the sources. Often they are mix of several other ideas that we think of as novel.

Call it what you like.

I have no problem with what you have said in your paragraph in dualistic terms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JosephM said:

In my view, If you identify with the mind as i ( paul) then you can say Paul is choosing his beliefs . If you do not identify with your mind as Paul then you see your beliefs are metely unfolding rather than having choice.

then the i has it :+}

Edited by thormas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JosephM said:

As simply as i am able to put it the small i is the ego which takes on the identity as separate from the rest of creation and believes it is the mind, physical body and identifys with its story as who it is. It is the illusion.  The large I is the I am or creator and source of the small  i. Or what you might refer to as God or the higher Self.

Thanks. The following is not to be argumentative but an attempt to understand your position further.

How is it possible for the i to 'take on the identity as separate from the rest of creation?" Be it illusion (not as it seems) or not, this statement suggests that there is that which is able to 'take on a separate identity' - which seems to suggest that there is 'separation' in creation; there is a multiplicity. 

Also, why does (the large) I create in this view? For the I to be creator and source implies that there is that which is created and that which needs to be sustained (by the source). 

Thanks  

Edited by thormas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, thormas said:

Thanks. The following is not to be argumentative but an attempt to understand your position further.

How is it possible for the i to 'take on the identity as separate from the rest of creation?" Be it illusion (not as it seems) or not, this statement suggests that there is that which is able to 'take on a separate identity' - which seems to suggest that there is 'separation' in creation; there is a multiplicity. 

Also, why does (the large) I create in this view? For the I to be creator and source implies that there is that which is created and that which needs to be sustained (by the source). 

Thanks  

Actually I like to look at it not as a position. It is difficult to describe and something less than accurate in words.

 In reality creation is not separate from the creator . They are 1 and the same yet that which is created is subject to decay and the creator is not. The only separation is in the physical mind that resides in the ego.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, JosephM said:

Actually I like to look at it not as a position. It is difficult to describe and something less than accurate in words.

 In reality creation is not separate from the creator . They are 1 and the same yet that which is created is subject to decay and the creator is not. The only separation is in the physical mind that resides in the ego.

I get the inadequacy of words. 

I get that creator and creation are not separate, yet, if the same, how is the created (same as creator) subject to decay? Again, I know words fail to capture Reality but do you see the difficulty with the seeing both (so to speak) as the same?  And, if the separation is the physical mind in the ego, this speaks to separation and against sameness.

Again, just trying to see how you see it. And why is there creation, if it is the creator which already is? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

13 hours ago, thormas said:

I get that creator and creation are not separate, yet, if the same, how is the created (same as creator) subject to decay? Again, I know words fail to capture Reality but do you see the difficulty with the seeing both (so to speak) as the same?  And, if the separation is the physical mind in the ego, this speaks to separation and against sameness.

But aren't you still separating the creator and created? You observe 'decay' because you perceive the individual body, for instance, as a closed system. But if created is the same as creator, then the body you observe is really an inseparable part of a much larger, interconnected system of energy which is not subject to decay.

Pardon me for piping in - I have been reading along with great interest. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, possibility said:

 

But aren't you still separating the creator and created? You observe 'decay' because you perceive the individual body, for instance, as a closed system. But if created is the same as creator, then the body you observe is really an inseparable part of a much larger, interconnected system of energy which is not subject to decay.

Pardon me for piping in - I have been reading along with great interest. 

I'm merely asking a question in our necessary dualistic language and we do observe decay and, we suffer/endure our decay and that of others. Yet the question remains and it is in our capacity to present an answer(s) and one of the reasons that sites like this exist: to ponder everything.

Plus. I'm asking for others to further explain their 'positions' - and to see what those positions mean for a range of questions. 

So the questions remain: how is that which 'creates' and is the same as the created, not subject to the same decay as that which it creates, as that which it is? Plus, there seems to be a difference on that larger, interconnected system: is it consciousness and can that decay; is it the universe and are we saying the universe is not or will not decay , will not end? 

And, you are not piping in - you are a member and the more the better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, thormas said:

how is that which 'creates' and is the same as the created

They are not the same ... they are one in the sense you and the universe would not be what they are without one another. 

But again the topic is how we form beliefs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, romansh said:

They are not the same ... they are one in the sense you and the universe would not be what they are without one another. 

But again the topic is how we form beliefs.

So, good, we have, perhaps, another take on the topic. Using the terms (above) to be consistent: the creator and the created are not the same, yet are the same, in some sense. I agree.

This would be interesting to 'pin down' for all interested parties.  And that's what I have been doing with my posts ad questions. It seems (to me) that Joseph and 'possibility' have said there is sameness and yet also allude to that which is not the same (decay, inseparable part, interconnected system, that which is created, i ). And you just said there is not sameness, yet there is sameness, in a sense. So, I remain interested and I am asking (while recognizing the limitation of language) for further explanation of the  insights or beliefs of others. Simple.

In addition, these questions follow: if the created is not the same as the creator, then, in some sense, is the created different or 'other' than the creator (yet paradoxically, the 'same'); and, (going back to the concept of illusion) if the created is 'not as it seems' (and it seems to be not the same), then is the created actually the same as the creator?

 

Also and again, don't talk to me about the introduction of something more in the thread. I have no problem with it, not having the need to always color inside the lines, but I did not originate it. Go with the flow!!! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And if they explain how they to these beliefs and beliefs in general then it will be on topic. Just stating beliefs is not on topic.

Why don't you go with my flow? And I am doing my best to direct traffic here.

If you are interested in creators then create an appropriate thread and pin it down there.

If you can explain how you come to a belief in a creator then that would be interesting and relevant to the thread.

I do understand that threads, topics etc do flow into one another ... but we can draw an illusory line and try and keep the place tidy.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, romansh said:

And if they explain how they to these beliefs and beliefs in general then it will be on topic. Just stating beliefs is not on topic.

Why don't you go with my flow? And I am doing my best to direct traffic here.

If you are interested in creators then create an appropriate thread and pin it down there.

If you can explain how you come to a belief in a creator then that would be interesting and relevant to the thread.

I do understand that threads, topics etc do flow into one another ... but we can draw an illusory line and try and keep the place tidy.

 

Good god, you do make mountains......  This is where the topic is under discussion, so what if we move (once again) off topic: it's all a piece. 

As previously stated, I have no problem with new threads, simply don't dictate what we should do - suggest a new thread and begin fresh. Maybe even suggest you think it would be a good idea and maybe even ask for the opinions of others. Or just start and see if people join in. Just don't start deciding to move posts, other than your own where you want them to be. If I post something under B, that's where I am responding, that's where others, who might be following, are reading and that's where I want to post. Again, just ask. How simple is that?

If you gave a rationale and suggested you wanted to 'clean things up' and asked permission to move posts (or simply started a new post without moving anything), I would typically have no issue. Just to be clear, that is not carte blanche for the future: ask. However, I sometimes like the change in direction and I like it captured in one post so I can refer back easily.

 

As to the rest. I am responding and asking questions of others and this is an appropriate thread - because we are discussing it where?: here for now.

Again, no problem with tidy only with the approach.

We have all touched on the nature, nurturing and investigation of one's beliefs and flowed to the content of belief - so I'm fine with the direction, as the what seems more important, right now, than the how.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm happy to take it back to the original question, although I am interested in where thormas is headed with the creator-created discussion, because I think he's missed my point somewhat, as the decay, like the separation of creator and created, is merely perception - it's only 'decay' because of the way we 'believe' the system operates. While I am unable to put into words how this has changed for me, I can say that I no longer believe that the word 'decay' fits my understanding of what is happening.

But let's humour Romansh and go back to the original topic...

I once 'believed' that Jesus was born of a virgin. Born into a catholic family, this particular belief was perceived in my mind as a 'fact' - in much the same way as I also believed that the earth was a spheroid: I 'knew', because I relied on and trusted the data or information I had experienced, because I relied on and trusted the source: my parents, teachers, parish priest, church leaders, and the books, documentaries, etc that I was exposed to. Anyone who said differently was distant enough to be disregarded or distrusted - no reliable source directly challenged either belief, and I never felt the need to search. I was secure in my world.
 
After 12 years of catholic schooling and very little exposure to alternative religious beliefs, it wasn't until I reached university that I had any thought that what I believed might be a 'belief' as opposed to a fact. People I began to care about or learned to trust as a source of information made conflicting - and convincing - arguments, and previous sources were gradually found less reliable or less informed by comparison. But I am non-confrontational by nature (and nurture), so for the most part I avoided processing this conflicting data, and focused only on thinking about or discussing those beliefs that were discussed by my social circle...for twenty years.
 
I believed 'A', received new information, but then avoided the need to investigate, question or wrestle with that new information. In hindsight, I was afraid - I had become very good at avoiding conflict, both inside and out. 'Never discuss religion or politics' worked well for me for many years. I stopped going to church, and my mother, probably afraid to face the possibility that her eldest daughter may have lost the faith, and unable to make a strong argument herself, never pushed the issue. Because I avoided the need to articulate or even think about my religious beliefs, it's hard to say what they were at that stage - because I never had to 'say'. When pressed, my 'belief' would depend on the audience - if I'm being honest.
 
I think fear can play a big part in the formation of our beliefs. I could say that I 'lost' my belief when I stopped going to church, but in truth I simply avoided it. I don't know if we lose a belief until we are asked to 'live out' that belief in word or deed, and find that we can no longer do so. I remember sitting in church a few years ago and starting to mindlessly rattle off the creed, when I realised that I no longer believed the words. It was a jarring experience for me - I remember feeling a distinct sense of loss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, possibility said:

I remember sitting in church a few years ago and starting to mindlessly rattle off the creed, when I realised that I no longer believed the words. It was a jarring experience for me - I remember feeling a distinct sense of loss.

A not unnatural feeling I would suggest, having felt the same way toward my childhood Christian beliefs as I came to disbelieve them.  Such a formative part of one's life and such a strong message which when we later arrive at a different belief, we feel so let down, even betrayed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Paul - I think in order to feel betrayed, I would have had to attribute the formation of my beliefs to others. But these are my experiences and how my mind has processed them that have formed these beliefs and subsequently how I have lived them, just as my parents' or teachers' words and actions are guided by their beliefs, which are in turn formed by their experiences, and so on, until blame becomes irrelevant.

At the time, I wanted to crawl back into that worldview where I was able to ignore or dismiss the logic as a lack of faith, to feel the comfort of being surrounded by like-minded believers - but I looked around and wondered how many others were simply rattling off the sounds without thinking about what they were saying, or if they ever had a chance to 'live out' these beliefs, or were they just there, rattling around unchallenged in their mind...

 

Edited by possibility
Just showing appreciation....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we do (or at least can) take on the beliefs of the environment that we find ourselves. An anecdotal story. When my wife and I first came to Canada ... I was lucky I could go to work. But my wife had little community so to speak. Anyway she was befriended by the local United Church. Fair enough. But the wife being neither confirmed nor even baptized started taking baptism classes. I happen to take a look at the lessons and relevant passages. They seemed sort of familiar ... they looked awfully like the confirmation classes I had taken when I was seventeen. I can remember my pastor describing confirmation like a marriage to Christ. Anyway I asked my wife did she really believe all that was being promoted in the classes. She answered "No". At that point for reasons that are not clear to me, she and the congregation drifted apart. But she did remain friends with one.

My wife is a living breathing example of how 'community' affects our beliefs.

 

edit 

And speaking of the United Church ... A little off topic and for discussion elsewhere I saw/heard Gretta Vosper speak at the Imagine No Religion conference last year. May be of interest ... bridging progressive Christianity and atheism?

Edited by romansh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, possibility said:

Thanks Paul - I think in order to feel betrayed, I would have had to attribute the formation of my beliefs to others. But these are my experiences and how my mind has processed them that have formed these beliefs and subsequently how I have lived them, just as my parents' or teachers' words and actions are guided by their beliefs, which are in turn formed by their experiences, and so on, until blame becomes irrelevant.

At the time, I wanted to crawl back into that worldview where I was able to ignore or dismiss the logic as a lack of faith, to feel the comfort of being surrounded by like-minded believers - but I looked around and wondered how many others were simply rattling off the sounds without thinking about what they were saying, or if they ever had a chance to 'live out' these beliefs, or were they just there, rattling around unchallenged in their mind...

 

As silly as it sounds, I felt betrayed by the God I no longer believed in.  A bit 'ripped off' so to speak.  I can certainly appreciate the comfort of familiar surroundings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×