‘Personal Belief’ defines an idea or principle which an individual subjectively accepts as relevant for their life. Trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something is first an innate decision that it that it is relevant to your own definition of good. Because of that, Individual Belief is not set in stone, rather it is open to change, and often initially based on what others have influenced you about.
A potential belief sits with the person until they accept it as relevant and worthwhile, and adopt it as part of their individual belief system.
Each one of us stands on a heap of accumulated memories as if we are King of the castle of that belief. We created our interpretations and stored them deep inside, so we could see from a higher viewpoint. However unless we re-evaluate the origin and applicability of these xconscious assumptions we may be slaves to the beliefs that lie beneath us.
You cannot force someone to believe something. You can get someone to verbally say they believe, but acceptance implies authentic adoption, or at least non-resistant adoption of the idea or principle.
“Those convinced against their will
Are of the same opinion still”
Everyone has beliefs that something is the case, and it is difficult to differentiate fact vs truth, even with scientific evidence.
e.g. it is commonly accepted as a fact that light travels at a fixed speed, but recent evidence suggests this may not be true. https://www.livescience.com/29111-speed-of-light-not-constant.html
The question then arises, “Does this fact concern me?” If not, it is not going to be maintained as a belief, rather just ignored or placed into information memory.
So if something is factual or even proven to be true, it may not be your belief if it lacks relevance. Do you really believe that the heart of a shrimp is located in its head? Could you care less?
TYPES OF BELIEF
- Personal belief ( A belief based on scientific facts, personal experience, what a person has heard from others such as peers, parents, teachers, etc., or what a person wants to think is true because it is convenient or makes them feel better.)
- Spiritual belief (a personal belief that includes a relationship to a superior energy or source and related to an existential perspective on life, death, and the nature of reality.)
- Common Belief (An un-provable opinion that the majority of the people in a community hold this particular common or societal belief) e.g. we all want world peace.
- Limiting beliefs (not helpful to who you want to be)
- False belief (Not consistent with objective facts)
- Hypocritical belief (Stated belief that is inconsistent with actions)
- Proven belief (Objective Truth, whatever that means to your other belief systems)
- Self belief or self-esteem (Do I see myself as being loveable, dependable, reliable, loyal, committed, open minded, consistent, honest, efficient)
- Religious belief (Religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. There are over 4200 ‘brands’ of religion in the world)
- Popular belief (e.g. bread is the best thing for birds. – except it is not!)
Societal Belief is quite different because it assumes that it is possible to aggregate personal belief into an accepted common societal label.
e.g. The most common religion is Christian, and adherence to this religion is called ‘Christian belief’ yet there are at least 21,000 organizational variants, and each participant holds their own interpretation.
A belief can come from different sources, including:
- a person’s own experiences or experiments (e.g. synchronicity, mysterious events)
- the acceptance of cultural and societal norms (e.g. religion, common prejudices)
- what other people say (e.g. education or opinion).
A societal belief is more a tribal/organisational affiliation than a common belief.
Another example is political belief, where distinct tribal behavior is observed and no-one could provide evidence that the actual belief held regarding a party or approach is consistent across even the politicians, let alone the participants.
The term ‘believers’ applies to societal belief, and in many cases is inaccurate due to a lack of relevance to the believer. e.g. I may be a ‘believer of a religious faith’, yet unable to define or apply what that faith means.
WANTING ACCEPTANCE AND INCLUSION
We now know that our intellectual value judgments —that is, the degree to which we believe or disbelieve an idea — are powerfully influenced by our brains’ desire for attachment, acceptance and inclusion. Our brains are attachment machines, attaching not just to groups and belonging, but to ideas. This leads us to cherry pick the evidence that supports a contention we already believe and ignore evidence that argues against it.
We also expend a lot of energy trying to disprove ideas that contradict our current beliefs, rather than being open to new possibilities.
“Believe nothing unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense”
We like to think that we are rational, that what we believe is true. But often we come to our beliefs, unknowingly, as a product of our already established ‘belief systems’.
Once we have incorporated a belief, it may be different to what we openly state to be our belief, because of the fear of societal criticism.
Yayenia Thompson wrote “I’m a good writer, a good editor, a good musician, a good wife, and I was a good translator. At least, I believe these things. Others may think I’m crap at everything and just so egotistical that I can’t see my own failings. ”
The basis of external opinion is that there is such a thing as objective or ‘pure’ truth. The more humankind learns the more evidence is available that such truth is extremely rare and rarely relevant to human life.
“It is still a metaphysical faith on which our faith in science rests—that even we ‘knowers’ of today, we godless anti-metaphysicians still take our fire too, from the flame lit by the thousand-year old faith, the faith which was also Plato’s faith, that Truth exists; that Truth is ‘Divine'”
So is Nietzche correct? “I believe in divine truth only from the perspective that an energy of life with the proclivity towards compassion/Love exists, and that to me is the one relevant truth.” Phil Cheney
FAITH IS NOT ESSENTIAL
Most belief is not based on fact, but on xconscious acceptance of the conclusions of a collection of experiences. If I believe without question the assumptions of my past, then that is mainly belief without faith. Faith must have the element of relationship. If I believe that my partner loves me, that involves faith.