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Author Topic: What is the Destructive Force of Belief?  (Read 3408 times)

Offline coberst

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What is the Destructive Force of Belief?
« on: 15/03/2009 20:57:21 »
What is the Destructive Force of Belief?

A brief perusal of history manifests for us the destructive force of belief.  Technology increases the destructive force that we humans have; plus the obvious fact that technology changes our environment with lightening speed, whereas our intellectual sophistication is stuck in the mud of our ‘beliefs without wonder’.

The word “belief” has many definitions; we can develop a scale of belief that meanders between the extremes of casual guesswork about both mundane and important matters to beliefs that we willingly live, die, and kill for.

‘I believe that it is going to be good weather for the picnic’ to ‘I believe that the planet is getting warmer fast’.  Beliefs at this level are about matters of little or great consequence but the belief itself is not about certainty but is about matters still uncertain. 

The content of our belief does not determine its place on our ‘belief scale’.  It is our degree of certainty regarding our belief, which determines its position on the scale.

Belief systems are often characterized by an absolute certainty of truth by many of their members.  A sense of certainty plus a sense of being surrounded by treacherous unbelievers are characteristic of many belief systems.  Nazism and Marxism contained these features; there is no circumstance or situation in history that cannot be fitted into their ideological views.

The mention of Nazism and Marxism as examples is not meant to imply that all belief systems are uniformly dangerous.  These systems of belief run the whole spectrum from the trivial and harmless to unrestricted evil; from Boy Scouts, to partisan politicians, to Civil War.  The important point is that these systems of belief can be exceedingly powerful and the membership is often dedicated to exploiting political action to achieve the group’s selfish goals.

“The act of belief is always an act against; it requires an opponent who holds the contrary belief.” 

If we (Americans) watch the verbal ping-pong game between the Republicans and Democrats we will quickly comprehend that you can’t have one without the other.  If there is no itch to scratch who would be scratching?  If there were no socialism what bogyman would capitalism use to define capitalism?  Could Protestants exist without a Catholic Church?

True believers are dedicated to the destruction of the unbelievers.  Because belief is always against unbelief, it then is in fact unbelief.  The believer and the unbeliever are two sides to the same coin.  Each belief is defined by its opponent’s belief.  “Both sides depend on each other to know what they believe…belief marks the line at which our thinking stops…

Quotes from The Religious Case Against Belief by James P. Carse


 

Offline lightarrow

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What is the Destructive Force of Belief?
« Reply #1 on: 16/03/2009 17:20:02 »
What is the Destructive Force of Belief?

A brief perusal of history manifests for us the destructive force of belief.  Technology increases the destructive force that we humans have; plus the obvious fact that technology changes our environment with lightening speed, whereas our intellectual sophistication is stuck in the mud of our ‘beliefs without wonder’.

The word “belief” has many definitions; we can develop a scale of belief that meanders between the extremes of casual guesswork about both mundane and important matters to beliefs that we willingly live, die, and kill for.

‘I believe that it is going to be good weather for the picnic’ to ‘I believe that the planet is getting warmer fast’.  Beliefs at this level are about matters of little or great consequence but the belief itself is not about certainty but is about matters still uncertain. 

The content of our belief does not determine its place on our ‘belief scale’.  It is our degree of certainty regarding our belief, which determines its position on the scale.

Belief systems are often characterized by an absolute certainty of truth by many of their members.  A sense of certainty plus a sense of being surrounded by treacherous unbelievers are characteristic of many belief systems.  Nazism and Marxism contained these features; there is no circumstance or situation in history that cannot be fitted into their ideological views.

The mention of Nazism and Marxism as examples is not meant to imply that all belief systems are uniformly dangerous.  These systems of belief run the whole spectrum from the trivial and harmless to unrestricted evil; from Boy Scouts, to partisan politicians, to Civil War.  The important point is that these systems of belief can be exceedingly powerful and the membership is often dedicated to exploiting political action to achieve the group’s selfish goals.

“The act of belief is always an act against; it requires an opponent who holds the contrary belief.” 

If we (Americans) watch the verbal ping-pong game between the Republicans and Democrats we will quickly comprehend that you can’t have one without the other.  If there is no itch to scratch who would be scratching?  If there were no socialism what bogyman would capitalism use to define capitalism?  Could Protestants exist without a Catholic Church?

True believers are dedicated to the destruction of the unbelievers.  Because belief is always against unbelief, it then is in fact unbelief.  The believer and the unbeliever are two sides to the same coin.  Each belief is defined by its opponent’s belief.  “Both sides depend on each other to know what they believe…belief marks the line at which our thinking stops…

Quotes from The Religious Case Against Belief by James P. Carse

To believe that beliefs are destructive is a destructive belief.
The good news is that you could change it (if you want).
« Last Edit: 16/03/2009 17:22:17 by lightarrow »
 

Offline coberst

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What is the Destructive Force of Belief?
« Reply #2 on: 16/03/2009 19:46:40 »
Freud informs us the reason for this form of behavior, group psychology, is the tendency for humans to be suggestible and influenced by a psychic form of transference.

What do the following entities have in common: fascism, capitalism, communism, political parties, and religions?  They all have a common characteristic that can be called “group mind”.

What is striking is that members of these entities often undergo a major change in behavior just by being members of such entities.  Under certain conditions individuals who become members of these groups behave differently than they would as individuals.  These individuals acquire the characteristics of a ‘psychological group’.

What is the nature of the ‘group mind’, i.e. the mental changes such individuals undergo as a result of becoming a group?


A bond develops much like cells which constitute a living body—group mind is more of an unconscious than a conscious force—there are motives for action that elude conscious attention—distinctiveness and individuality become group behavior based upon unconscious motives—there develops a sentiment of invincible power, anonymous and irresponsible attitudes--repressions of unconscious forces under normal situations are ignored—conscience which results from social anxiety disappear.

Contagion sets in—hypnotic order becomes prevalent—individuals sacrifice personal interest for the group interest.

Suggestibility of which contagion is a symptom leads to the lose of conscious personality—the individual follows suggestions for actions totally contradictory to person conscience—hypnotic like fascination sets in—will an discernment vanishes—direction is taken from the leader in an hypnotic like manner—the conscious personality disappears.

“Moreover, by the mere fact that he forms part of an organized group, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilization.”  Isolated, he my be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian—that is, a creature acting by instinct.  “He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity, and also the enthusiasm and heroism of primitive beings.”

There is a lowering of intellectual ability “pointing to its similarity with the mental life of primitive people and of children…A group is credulous and easily influenced—the improbable seldom exists—they think in images—feelings are very simple and exaggerated—the group knows neither doubt nor uncertainty—extremes are prevalent, antipathy becomes hate and suspicion becomes certainty.

Force is king—force is respected and obeyed without question—kindness is weakness—tradition is triumphant—words have a magical power—supernatural powers are easily accepted—groups never thirst for truth, they demand illusions—the unreal receives precedence over the real—the group is an obedient herd—prestige is a source for domination, however it “is also dependent upon success, and is lost in the event of failure”.
------------------------------------------------

I have read that some consider objectivism to be a cult rather than a philosophy; I asked my self what is the difference between a philosophy and an ideology.  I turned to Freud and his book “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego” for my answer.  I discovered that Freud had turned to the Frenchman Gustave Le Bon for an understanding of group behavior.   

 Gustave Le Bon was a French social psychologist, sociologist, and amateur physicist.  His work on crowd psychology became important in the first half of the twentieth century. Le Bon was one of the great popularizers of theories of the unconscious at a critical moment in the formation of new theories of sociology.
English translation Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, 1922) was explicitly based on a critique of Le Bon's work.  The quotes and short phrases in this post are from this book.

 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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What is the Destructive Force of Belief?
« Reply #3 on: 16/03/2009 20:24:05 »
coberst, to be frank I think I probably speak for alot of people when I say I can't be bothered reading your posts, they're too long and boring. And this is from someone who is usually interested in this kind of stuff. 20% of the threads in the "Questions that Need Answers" section are topics from you that no one has bothered to reply to, probably because no one could be bothered to read them.

I feel you would get your messages through to alot more people if you could format your posts in a way that would invoke discussion. Maybe ask some core question, let a few people give their opinions, then offer yours, or something. Just a suggestion.

« Last Edit: 16/03/2009 20:26:54 by Madidus_Scientia »
 

Offline lightarrow

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What is the Destructive Force of Belief?
« Reply #4 on: 16/03/2009 22:00:17 »
I would add to your post, Madidus, that he don't, actually, bother to answer our answeres to his posts, so why should we keep doing it?
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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What is the Destructive Force of Belief?
« Reply #5 on: 17/03/2009 17:23:34 »
Indeed.
 

Offline Don_1

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What is the Destructive Force of Belief?
« Reply #6 on: 17/03/2009 17:45:23 »
Your are right Maddius, I just read the first couple of lines and thought, to hell with this, I'm not going to bother reading the rest of it.

Find yourself a philosophical forum to argue on. You really are too much like hard work.
 

Offline coberst

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What is the Destructive Force of Belief?
« Reply #7 on: 17/03/2009 19:42:09 »
You all should have read my post on "Ignorance, apathy, and irresponsibility.
 

Offline lightarrow

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What is the Destructive Force of Belief?
« Reply #8 on: 17/03/2009 19:49:08 »
You all should have read my post on "Ignorance, apathy, and irresponsibility.
Do you also have something about "arrogance"?  :)
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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What is the Destructive Force of Belief?
« Reply #9 on: 17/03/2009 20:06:11 »
lol

Quote
You all should have read my post on "Ignorance, apathy, and irresponsibility.

That's my point, I might have, if it were more interesting.

coberst the fact is, if people on a science forum of all places, which full of people who are interested in science and thinking and who are likely to be in the percentage of the population with the longest attention spans, if we can't be bothered then what hope do you have of reaching the rest of society?

We all only have a certain amount of time to spend and so we prioritise, why would we spend so much time reading your long posts if it doesn't interest us?

I'm not in any way attacking the substance of your posts, just recommending that if you actually want to influence people you might "self-actualize" and adjust your strategy.
« Last Edit: 17/03/2009 20:11:30 by Madidus_Scientia »
 

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What is the Destructive Force of Belief?
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