BELIEFS

 

BELIEFS


I think that instincts for self survival include other genes for communal connections--that is, innate urges for selfhood are supported by others for community.


Beliefs serve to stabilize communal systems, such as, groups of people. As such, they are a functional tool of instincts for community (flocks, schools, herds, families, religions). 


But at the same time, beliefs represent a stoppage in individual thinking; indeed, believing any idea to be unerringly true or ultimately right requires one to close his mind to contradictory data or any new information which may appear or evolve.


Consequently, beliefs and thinking are inherently at odds. One can believe without thinking, or think without believing; but not both at the same time. To think, literally, is to dis-believe; and to believe is to dis (not)-think.


This distinction becomes relevant when an individual who naturally thinks is in a communal context structured around certain beliefs, e.g., a parishioner in a church or a person in the company of friends. In order to remain a naturally thinking person he will continue "thinking for himself"; but in order to fit in he must accept (or appear to) whatever beliefs a particular group is structured around (e.g., a religion, political party, or peer group).


Instincts for individuality (self survival and personal enhancement) are consequently in conflict with other innate drives for communal acceptance. If one is to remain whole as a person, what is a thinking person to do?


Self repression is the easiest answer–and apparently the path most often taken--that is, repress or stop "thinking for yourself" at the time, in favor of blind acceptance of the beliefs of whatever group one is presently in (e.g., church, party, etc.). In church, for example, one can most easily participate freely by suspending thinking in favor of blindly accepting established beliefs (and associated practices) as, in effect, "the gospel truth." Otherwise instincts for individual survival and communal acceptance will be inherently in conflict.


If communal connections matter more than personhood, perhaps self repression is the best way to go–at least at times of membership in any particular group.


Conversely, rebellion against beliefs, as in, atheism, and/or avoiding groups structured around belief systems–that is, deferring to instincts for community, is an opposite way to go. This path might be called "communal repression," in distinction from "self repression," or, being a "loner" rather than a "joiner."


The wiser answer, however, is, I think, to become whole-brained, right and left–that is, to personally identify with right brain-based communities and left brain think-ability. This approach begins with recognizing the reality and validity of both instincts, for, that is, selfhood and community (being both a-lone-one and apart-of). Even though  these concepts are logically contradictory, in real life they effectively complement each other.


In practice, embracing contradictions, respecting instincts which are indeed often at odds with each other, involves continual, open minded thinking, even in the midst of belief-based company or groups, while at the same time delighting in mindless, hearted communal endeavors, such as, singing religious songs with irrational lyrics.


Artistry of such whole-brain living involves both thinking and feeling at the same time, a natural state which is seriously undermined by personal repression, and is only possible to the extent of one's unrepression, returning to a state of childlike "innocence"–that is, personal wholeness, as naturally exists before we opt for self repression in quest of group acceptance.


Embracing identification with both brain hemispheres, including instincts for individuality and community, opens the door to social discretion, that is, artfully mixing private thoughts with public expressions, participating heartily in communal events while carefully remaining personally honest with oneself.


Crudely put, this union may involve doing rationally dumb right brain things, while being emotionally present, or putting your left brain foot in your right brain mouth–without judging the encounter or event. For instance: doing dumb things without saying dumb things; thinking honestly to oneself without speaking threateningly to others.


I often pray for such wisdom.....


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