This MM is dedicated to my dearest friend Amy and her most beloved, Mr. Jack. I really, really fucking love you two. They are now expecting, which means we are now expecting—family. Prost! All the babies, my personal philosophy.
There is plenty of data to confirm that it is healthy to see beliefs as mere objects within the environment, and are that they are subject to continuous change. Maybe only subtle change is evident, but we all know our own beliefs change and adapt over time, as well, we’ve all been subject to the change of others beliefs vehicled in all types of social interactions. In fact, every problem you’ve ever had with another person comes down to behavior based on their beliefs, or yours. For that reason, and there are more, beliefs should be criticized, made-fun of, and literally dissected in public.
Harsh words, I know, but true none the less. For the people among my readership who are already starting to sweat at the mere thought of smearing the sacred, catch your breath. I don’t think that we should ever insult the person where belief lives. It seems there is a fine line, but with a little examination, beliefs and the people that harbor them are as different as H1N1 and the body that it inhabits. Now before I have to start backtracking, let me say that beliefs are a part of who you are. Millions of little belief bricks are among the constituent parts of yourself. Yet, even in this metaphor, we see the usefulness of examining bricks, which depending on condition, are helping a structure maintain, or a part of its failing. Beliefs that make for weaker people, weaker families and communities and so on also deserve scrutiny as such. I’m not the first to talk about thoughts as mere objects.
David Hume once noted, “’Tis likewise evident, that as the senses, in changing their objects, are necessitated to change them regularly, and take them as they lie contiguous to each other, the imagination must by long custom acquire the same method of thinking, and run along the pars of space and time in conceiving its objects.1” Imagine if we thought it immoral to discuss the quality of a mason’s bricks. That’s a deadly world. Without a single negative thing to say about the mason themselves, we can openly decide that his bricks are are not up to par.
Thusly, if I decide that the idea of reincarnation may not be real, we all have an obligation to turn the tool over and examine it fully; take the idea of reincarnation upside down and shake it, until we find out what about the idea, and indeed discovering what about the very design quality itself, will hold up. We will use humor of every kind to communicate our opinions in many cases. We can cry about it, laugh, we are even allowed to get a little angry and to express discomfort. I will allow that space to all my fellow speciation mates, and there is enough data to show that this is healthy.
“Morality is usually defined in terms of acceptable behaviors and how individual actions affect other members of a group. Bout morality varies between different groups, as do the penalties for moral lapses. Four thousand years ago the kind of Babylonia embedded rules in stone, for the entire community to see. If, for example, the wife of a free man was caught having sex with another man, the lovers would both be tied up and drowned. But if the husband allowed his wife to live then the king would let the adulterer live as well. What an interesting moral dilemma for a man who deeply loved his wife… Our moral continuum appears to be strongly influenced by the degree of connectedness we feel with others; the more connected we feel, the more we act with generosity, compassion and fairness. Connectedness also has positive effects on our immune system and emotional well-being… Nonetheless, when an ethical ideal becomes law, people are more inclined to modify their personal beliefs accordingly.2”
These are organic and natural building blocks for everything we around each other, and they must be treated as separate from the individual, talked about openly, and so use them effectively. This seems to be self evident, but personal attachment to belief is the poison to this system.
Oh sure, it’s easy to say all this about someone else’s behavior, but to know that someone can tear our own beliefs up, and that we should be okay with it, even join in on the reverie, is a large pill for most to swallow. But like in the example from above. Observed laws can alter ethical feelings in people thus creating bias and unbalanced decision making. I think we all, at least in the US, would say that a legal system that cannot be openly discussed, as well as publicly changed, is akin to monarchy, and we still have a bad taste in out mouths for that institution. While our current system falls short of serving its people, we still recognize its usefulness and potential for honest doings.
Seeing as many of our laws are indeed based upon moral values, which are also amenable at a societal level, one only need look into the changing modern marijuana policy, or the devolution of our modern capitalist model to see it this in action. If one is still not convinced, consider Roe v Wade3, that should bring it home. Laws are morality rules, and we discuss them openly. Personal beliefs are just as rousing, but on a seriously private level, seriously public when we think of extremist born and raised to be violent. Thoughts and beliefs make the person, people make the communities, communities make a culture, and so on. I am sure that we could all make many more levels out of this model I propose, but it would still be a scaling up based game and system theories. Nesting dolls of existence are of what environments look like—ecosystem looped up within ecosystem.
What if it was immoral to criticize a doctor for incorrect diagnosis, a farmer for unsustainable practices, a writer for offensive dribble? All of these behaviors, we would say, are derived ultimately from beliefs of every type. And only through filter after filter, copious amounts of every communicative tool at our disposal, then and only then, will we gather enough evidence as a species to know anything about anything. I believe that in this system we really don’t need belief outside of subjective issues. “I believe red looks better on me than green.”
One of the best parts of life is that we all get to laugh at our ridiculous choices in clothing, knowing we’re a stand up people every time.
1 Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. Ed. Ernest Campbell Mossner. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1984. 58.
2 Newberg, Andrew B., and Mark Robert. Waldman. Born to Believe: God, Science, and the Origin of Ordinary and Extraordinary Beliefs. New York: Free, 2007. 134-136.