Because we’re told to? (Directly or subliminally)
Direct experience proves it? (experiences reinforces beliefs and influences actions)
Habit of belief? ( self-fulfilling prophecies)
be·lief (bəˈlēf/) noun
noun: belief; plural noun: beliefs
- an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists. “his belief in the value of hard work”
2. trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something
synonyms:faith, trust, reliance, confidence, credence
What do you believe?
I used to think that the only reality was that which existed in my mind. This was my belief. Previously, I read that
“the eyes see what the heart perceives”
This made a lot of sense to me… then I learnt emotion doesn’t come from our hearts, but originates in the brain. But just think about it, “Eyes see what heart wants to see”… Perhaps it sounds too silly and “airy fairy”. But I’ve noticed how reality can be distorted, based just on the mood or the emotion which consumes you at that time.
For example: The refusal to see
No matter how clear something is, you can try to convince someone until you are blue in the face, that this is reality, and this is a fact, some will not see it. Either based on incorrect communication, lack of understanding or due to their feelings against the messenger.
Another example: Emotion alters perspective
Something which was easy to do, which you do automatically, and which you frequently do, can become a burden when your heart is heavy/mind is full. It can be a struggle in some cases.
Atmosphere/Climate alters emotion
Rainy and cold days change my sense of reality to be a completely pessimistic cynical view, which is an extreme contrast from my positive idealistic outlook on sunny days. Nothing in particular would occur to trigger it, but my entire outlook can be distorted just by the warmth of the sunlight vs the bleek overcast lighting. However I’ve noticed how others thrive in overcast weather. (and they love that kind of weather).
Does our background/education affect what we see or choose to see?
I look at the sky at times and wonder if it’s as beautiful to every beholder as it is to me. I wonder if everyone notices every shade of blue, the way I do, or if it only seems apparent as I’ve trained myself to recreate those images of the sky before. And found so many shades of blue, purples and reds in it. A multitude of colors in what at first glance appear as only blue.
Just because we see things differently, or find beauty in different things, doesn’t make the idea of beauty less true. Each perspective only adds to the idea of what is true, but that doesn’t make each ones idea of truth any less.
“I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is … I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.”
I used to believe that without a doubt, beauty in nature is a natural truth to all. My idea of truth was that it needed to be universal and personal in order to be true. What is true for me, needs to be true for all in order for it to be true. But then doubt crept in.
The cycle of belief, faith and doubt
I remember growing up, looking up to my heroes, and then one day realising that they don’t know everything. I realised I had put too much pressure on them (through my faith in them) through expectation. I learnt very early in life that expectation leads to disappointment. That doesn’t mean I don’t plan…No, I believe in preparation ( but only as far as what is within my own control). I don’t believe in investing everything in another human being or an idea. Humans are fallable, ideas and thoughts, are only as good as the time they are conceived. Some people aren’t ready for ideas, and some ideas come too late. And some ideas should not be spread.
No, everything is ephemeral… temporary and fleeting. Thoughts, ideas, even our lives, especially if action is lacking. I may sit here, now in this time and space, write these words and now it exists. But what does it matter? Who reads it? Will it touch their hearts and inspire? Will it provide a new outlook? Who knows? Perhaps.
That’s the thing about trying to define reality, as soon as you think you have an answer, and “this is it”, new insights are apparent which then changes everything.
Define it and it changes. And all the things you now see are that which proves your belief to be false.
Tried counteracting this, by deciding, “fine, then I choose to believe in nothing instead”…If I don’t define myself as something or categorise the world or my reality as something, then I’ll leave the door open to learn more. As defining yourself or the world around you, immediately puts you in a box. And in so doing, places everyone else in boxes too.
That idea or perception of yourself directly causes actions in line with that belief.
If you think you’re only one thing, you’ll only do one thing. Closing your mind to new possibilities.
This is a hard way to live at times. To remain undefined. But in truth, it’s the most authentic and honest view I can create for myself. Knowing that I am nothing. But that I can still do something.
This doesn’t mean that I lack a sense of values or don’t hold a moral code within me. It only means, that I no longer define myself as something, which can be placed in a box, (an artist, a designer, a girl), or any of those other words that can be used to stereotype.
I am merely human. Nothing more, nothing less.
All distinctions created are a way to separate us.
Society puts us in boxes, based on shopping habits. We are judged by our personality types, our colour, our gender, our job titles. All these names or categories has been used to segregate. Even defining yourself based on geography leads to nationalistic pride, which causes division. In the business space, each department creates their own jargon to exclude the next. eg. Business vs IT vs Design. Each further separates and reduces effective collaboration. Unnecessary complexity.
No, I will not be a part of any of society’s distinctions. I don’t even want to be a feminist anymore, when I see how feminism rather promotes man-hating instead of empowering women. Every idea which was meant to promote goodness, has further spread animosity. Instead of celebrating our uniqueness, we become stereotypes.
Essentially, all which we hold dear and believe to be true,
are those things which have affected us to such an extent. Those which are memorable. Those reinforced experiences and reminders our habits(rituals), what we’ve experienced, and how we’ve chosen to understand these experiences. Your favorite songs, the beautiful memories with best friends...( even the dark, soul destroying memories) — all these things make up our view of the world around us. And the view we hold of ourselves.
But we need to review the results of our thinking, and reevaluate if it helps or harms.
We need to be aware of how we view ourselves
How we limit ourselves. Most of the time, just our view of who we are, places limits on what we think we can (or “should”) do in life. What we are capable of doing. The need to be “right” is another way to limit yourself and close yourself off from new ideas and ways of thinking.
I find this to be the most powerful truth I’ve found recently. Many will say that I’m a dreamer, and that thinking of “dream ideas” are unrealistic. Yes, maybe…But my world, (in my mind) it can be scary, but it can be a beautiful too.
I love the question, “what if..?”
My dreams aren’t just dreams, they are stepping stones or goals. Some I’ve completed, and some are yet to be done. So I don’t see the harm in dreaming, as long as it results in action.
The world is filled with 4 types of people, consumers, spectators, creators & destroyers. At any point, we can choose which one we want to be. Our actions alone decides which type we choose to become.
The destroyers reality
Full of chaos, must be a good place for them, or why else would they remain there? I’ve been there, it’s an empty place. If your conscience has been eliminated, anything becomes easy to do. But not everyone can erase their sense of humanity. You’ll live with regret, and this turns you into a bitter person. When you live with the idea that there are no consequences, when you no longer feel, it’s a dangerous place to be. If we all believed the way a destroyer believes, then, nothing good would be created. If we crush others with our words, our actions, we are ultimately only crushing ourselves. If we all took the stance that nothing can be changed or is worth changing… then nothing will ever change. Or if we take the stand that it’s “not my problem”. Then tell me, who’s problem is it?
It’s easy to destroy. It’s easy to break things. Its a lot harder to build or create.
We each define our own purpose. Or we will have society impose it on us. It’s always a choice.
If everyone realised that yes, we all exist, and we all have different views, and our views or beliefs are true for us. Based on how we have decided to string our history together within our minds. But at the same time, we all have the personal responsibility to respect each other and not cause harm to another. To make the best we can with what we have right now. Not just for ourselves, but for all…then everything would be very different.
If only, we all started to have little faith in each other. Hoped for better, and worked towards creating that beautiful reality in the world which surrounds around us today.
To take responsibility for our actions, instead of leaving it up to someone else… There is no one else who will do it.
If I don’t do it, who will?
Moral of the story:
“Thoughts are NOT facts”…but, differing thoughts need to be acknowledged. Just because the majority believe it to be true, doesn’t make it so. Life is the endless pursuit of “recreating” a beautiful “shared reality”. We exist to learn, relearn and create. We are remembering human beings.
Our beliefs become our thoughts,
Our thoughts become our words,
Our words become our habits,
Our habits become our values,
Our values become our destiny*
- *I don’t believe in destiny, but I understand what Ghandi meant. I do however believe without a doubt, that we can rewrite our own script at any point in our lives. If you can see it, you can change it. But you need courage to make the hard decisions.
- It’s not rocket science. It’s possible to change, it just won’t be easy.
- If adjusting your thinking seems too difficult, simply start with changing your actions or reactions. Over time, everything can be changed from this. As new thoughts or perspectives will be created once new actions and experiences give way.
- The problem with belief is that when we hold onto an idea that we believe is fundamentally true, we tend to impose those beliefs on others. Be careful in how you try to help. As help can become harm, if not executed correctly.
- Some resort to physically harming another in order to “make them see their side”. Some will even kill for an idea. Those actions proves the belief has become distorted and is therefore no longer valid or useful. This is how I see the world. If your belief results in anger, violence or chaos, then one of two things remains. Either the idea is good but the human distorts it and their actions are bad. ie. Good concept, poor execution. Or the idea itself was bad and the person is ignorant to have followed the belief. And they don’t recognise or care how damaging it actually is.
So…why do we do what we do? What determines our actions?
Simply put, our beliefs or values determine what we do. And our beliefs are influenced by a number of things, our environment, (geography included), our upbringing, our past experiences & the results thereof …how we fill our time, who we spend our time with, who we choose to listen to…all of this contributes to our existing knowledge. Parts of it are facts, or majority views, most of it will be tainted with perspective. It all depends on where you’re standing, and what you choose to look at. As it is with all information we find around us, tainted by perspective.
This doesn’t mean we are forced to just accept that this is all there is. What we do, can also be influenced by another factor. Our vision of the future. What we dream, can also decide what actions we take.
“Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it.
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
Wishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off,
Painting over the ugly parts and recycling for more than it’s worth.” — Mary Schmich*
*On June 1, 1997, Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune columnist and Brenda Starr cartoonist, wrote a column entitled “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young.”
Later, her column was used in it’s entirety by Director Baz Luhrman.
I’ll leave you with these thoughts to think about.
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