Hey Ron, formulating a reply took me in multiple directions; if you don’t mind, I will answer you over a few posts. Many things came up not the least of which story, a well told tale, parallels the real tension between opposing forces in our psyche and gives us solutions for some life passages we must navigate.
I’ll tackle belief systems first.
I personally am a big fan both of my own belief systems, and my own life experiences. I find them quite dependable, even a lot more so now that I have learned to claim, trust and rely on them.
Where do you suppose your belief systems came from? Did you build them up one idea at a time from raw observation and experimentation? I dare say not entirely. Some of the ideas rattling around in our heads belong to completely different people; how much of what you claim to be your own was passed to you by your parents, your friends, religion, the media, or different cultures?
As children we believe in Santa and the Easter bunny and our parents were demigods. As adults, time and experience change our beliefs until finally as old ‘uns, our beliefs ossify and we lean back wistfully remembering a time when things were better, the water was wetter and the good Lord had his hands on this land.
My point is individually held beliefs evolve as individuals evolve. Beliefs are malleable, and can be trusted to work until situations change or a more relevant perspective comes around.
How did you come to rely on your beliefs? By living them. What you believe shapes your life. If it works out, you hang on to your beliefs. If it doesn’t, a sensible person changes them. I dare say it’s an iterative process of continuous refinement.
To cling to old thoughts the way old cobwebs find the darkest dustiest corners is to shut out the light of reason. To deliberately blinker yourself, plug your ears and stand mute, a relic of the past, a holdfast, an impediment to progress instead of a voice helping to shape the future using the lessons of the past.
That’s why I don’t stand fixedly on belief and what works. It worked once, it’s working now, but it may not work in days to come. Take what works, and be flexible enough to change when a better way is realized.
I will concede facts are squirmy things, liable to support any side that can twist them into a preferred narrative and we yet have to fully comprehend alternative facts which exist on a parallel time line, but I digress.
Quantum physics suggests any observer viewing reality affects it, changes it in measurable ways. Meaning no facts are objective, reality itself is shaped by simple observation.
What alternatives do we have? Either we choose to set up safe spaces for our beliefs and ideas or we question them with the facts we have at our disposal, understanding that we must not deconstruct a working reality for the sake of deconstruction; but to interrogate our preconceived notions in order to replace them with better versions of themselves.
Here’s the final kicker. It’s useless to resist change. Evolution takes place on two levels. Unconscious, the level of animals and insects; directed by forces outside their control, and conscious, at the level of man, attempting to deliberately direct his ongoing creation. If we refuse to change in the face of tectonic shifts in the ground of our being, we will be left behind, dinosaurs destined to go extinct in the face of forces we might have been able to find place within, if we were not blinded by our own belief.