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Belief Formation

  1. profile image0
    Sooner28posted 4 years ago

    "OPEN TO DOUBT.  To accept a belief simply because it
    is customary implies that one is dishonest, cowardly, and
    lazy.  Must dishonesty, cowardice, and laziness, therefore, be
    the primary conditions of morality?" - Friedrich Nietzsche, The Dawn of Day

    This is a wonderful summary of how many people form their beliefs about the world, even if you don't necessarily agree with his characterization of morality.  How many of us are bound by custom, without even realizing it?  I bet if we were all truly honest with ourselves, there would be a plethora of beliefs that were not logically justified, yet that we all subscribe to.

    1. AshtonFirefly profile image83
      AshtonFireflyposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Agreed. This is typically the case when we are "brought up" believing something. Belief then simply becomes a habit and not something we consciously chose.

      1. profile image0
        Sooner28posted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Also, when everyone else is acting the same way we are, we don't want to stand out or be different.  Social pressure contorts and twists our shapeless souls into a straight line of conformity.

        1. AshtonFirefly profile image83
          AshtonFireflyposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          In my case (because I've been through this), it was simply fear that caused me to stick to my beliefs. It's what I grew up believing. So even if I didn't have a legitimate reason for believing it, I stuck to it because it was my "safe zone." Whenever I tried to logically reason that just because I'd always been taught something didn't make it true, my brain would automatically shut out the thought as "blasphemy." alot of it was just plain old fear of hell and brimstone. lol.

          1. profile image0
            Sooner28posted 4 years ago in reply to this

            The psychological shackles that are imposed upon us are extremely hard to break; some people never break them at all.

            To this day, I still feel the pull of Christianity, even after I have completely disavowed the supernatural elements.  If I were to walk into a church, I would feel guilty if I were to cuss or say anything "blasphemous," even though I have no allegiance to the belief system at all!  It's quite irksome.

            There's also keeping the peace, and not being unnecessarily mean to people who you happen to disagree with.  If a nice old lady tells me about God, I'll just listen to her and smile so I don't ruin her day.  If a person my age talks about it, it's easier to be open about my disagreement.

            1. AshtonFirefly profile image83
              AshtonFireflyposted 4 years ago in reply to this

              So you are an atheist now?

              1. profile image0
                Sooner28posted 4 years ago in reply to this

                No.  I don't think I have the epistemological (how do we know what we know) position to say that I KNOW all about the universe.

                However, I'm skeptical of the current conception of God, and by contemporary usage, I would be considered an atheist.

                1. AshtonFirefly profile image83
                  AshtonFireflyposted 4 years ago in reply to this

                  Or perhaps an agnostic.

                  1. Niteriter profile image80
                    Niteriterposted 4 years ago in reply to this

                    I am of the opinion that the moment you say, "I have truth!" you are no longer looking for truth but are then on a path of defending the truth you declare to have found. There was a time when I declared myself and agnostic but then one day grew tired of defending my agnosticism.

    2. Jerami profile image76
      Jeramiposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      was just checking in before bed   and just gotta say that,  "regardless of the subject matter, .............We Are All Prisoners of our own mind".

      And regardless of what we might think  ...  we never truly escape from it.
      All that we can do is to modify it to suit our own comfort.
      This is what has happened in religion ...  the origional story has been modified to suit confort levels with each passing generation.   Most of the words may be the same, yet our interpretations have changed due to those few words that  WERE  changed.

          see Ya in a few hours

    3. Thomas Swan profile image94
      Thomas Swanposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      I suppose Nietzsche is referring to conformism. Yes, it may be lazy, cowardly and dishonest, and it annoys the hell out of me, but in our ancestral past it would have been an adaptive learning mechanism. It takes a lot of time and resources to investigate every proposition through trial and error; sometimes it's easy just to conform. However, I do believe the adaptive function of conformism is needed less in this day and age (hence the annoyance!), and this is probably what Nietzsche was noticing. We have far more time to consider the veracity of our beliefs now.

      The most annoying thing about conformism is its vulnerability to the words and propaganda of oppressors. Every day the media feeds us information that we are inclined to believe. Even today the headlines condemning only one side in the Syrian civil war make me sick. Most people probably don't even know about the atrocities committed by the "rebels".

    4. jacharless profile image81
      jacharlessposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Am not sure which is worse of three:
      People who use biblical sound bites, political/satirical sound bites or those who use philosophical sound bites to make egregious judgmental sound bites against their inescapable, fellow human beings. To fully grasp what 'Freddie' was explaining, one must read thoroughly his words and then look at the society he lived in, which influenced his writings. For years, people have misquoted him as saying, "God is dead.", when he never actually meant god is dead. Furthermore, it was a question he posed NOT a summary. Sigh. Belief systems themselves are not formed by moral, amoral or immoral attachments, they are enforced by them.

      James.

      1. profile image0
        Sooner28posted 4 years ago in reply to this

        He specifically called Christianity  a "disease."  He didn't believe in God, and he attacked the conception of God that Christianity holds to.

        There is no soundbite.  You should probably practice the "close reading" Nietzsche calls for in "The Dawn of Day."  That way, you won't come off like you didn't even read what I quoted, or the fact that I said it didn't necessarily have to apply to morality, WHICH WAS THE CONTEXT of what he was talking about in the quote (sorry for the caps, there's no bold or italics that can be used for emphasis).

        And, as anyone who has read the least bit of Nietzsche knows, he loved to use aphorisms, and his writing isn't the traditional essay style of one paragraph to another in most cases.  Citing what directly came before, and what directly came after, isn't likely to provide any "missing context."

        1. jacharless profile image81
          jacharlessposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          He never said he did not believe in Creator. He said he despised the Judeo-Christian idea of God  -a disease, yes- {more so the presentation of the Judeo-Christian doctrine} and above everything despised his preceding philosophers for being so gullible as to fall in line, like good little soldiers, with Judeo-Christian practices. That they had abandoned pure thinking for good living under the golden fist of tyranny {the Church}. His one work, a very aphoristic at that, titled Beyond Good-Evil, sites this numerous times, and what I also agree upon: The formation, the very consideration of the good-evil paradox is what creates all religion {science & sensation}. He believed it was irrational to argue good-evil, which creates the Morality Scenario. Morality {the three collectively} would imply bastardization of the priori itself. He further sites that in the future -our time- self consciousness, sophism, etc would excel to exceedingly great heights, yet was not convinced it was the solution to the issues of humanism. In fact, he makes strong notations about science and religion all being of our doing, a compulsion to destroy, and completely out of order with nature, our surroundings. Most can argue he was an agnostic but no one can argue he firmly believed there was no Creator. And his mentions of the natural world lean strongly to his believing in one, rather than not...

          James.

    5. tirelesstraveler profile image87
      tirelesstravelerposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Just read a book; The Power Of A Habit.   It takes a while to develop a habit and no thought to continue it as shown by brain scans. I think Neitzsche gives too much credit to the human. The book is scary.

      1. Niteriter profile image80
        Niteriterposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        I predict that you will find much less scary a book by T.D. Jakes, "The Power Of A Thought." Humans have the capacity to replace any habit they feel is inhibiting their shot at a successful life.

        1. tirelesstraveler profile image87
          tirelesstravelerposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          I like TD Jakes, I will track this down.

          1. Niteriter profile image80
            Niteriterposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            I much prefer to use my personal thinking time to learn, ponder, or revisit ideas that uplift me and give me visions of a brighter tomorrow.

  2. Mighty Mom profile image90
    Mighty Momposted 4 years ago

    Yet otherwise intelligent people will question vociferously in one area of their life but blindly accept other things in other areas of their life.
    That's the really crazy thing!

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Great point MightyMom!

      I wear denim, and dress like everyone else.  I think that makes me guilty.

  3. Mighty Mom profile image90
    Mighty Momposted 4 years ago

    Well, the herd mentality is effective for many animal species.
    Sheeple are just doing what comes naturally.
    Not unlike lemmings.

  4. peoplepower73 profile image86
    peoplepower73posted 4 years ago

    I just finished reading a book by a moral phsycologist.  The book is called "Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion." He uses six Moral Foundations to describe the difference between liberals and conservative thinking and behavior. These six moral foundations are like taste buds on our tongue. Taste buds allow us to taste sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Some people have more sensitivity to different tastes than others. The six Moral Foundations are:

    •Care
    •Liberty
    •Fairness
    •Loyalty
    •Authority
    •Sanctity

    He says when these various needs are fulfilled, certain genes trigger nuerotransmitters that give us pleasure. Without going into a lot of detail, he says it's different for liberals than it is for conservatives.

    1. Thomas Swan profile image94
      Thomas Swanposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      That sounds like something Haidt would write. Perhaps he's developed his arguments since I read them (there were 5 foundations the last time), but he tends to give some rather flimsy arguments for why these particular traits are `moral' while others are not. He draws on evolutionary arguments that are little more than "this would have been adaptive therefore it evolved". It could have evolved this way, that doesn't mean it did. There could be more learning involved than he believes.

      Also, by applying his arguments to "liberals and conservatives" and calling one of his moral traits "liberty", he appears to be pandering to the American book markets, which I understand are quite receptive to anything referring to this political dichotomy (Ann Coulter? yikes).

      1. peoplepower73 profile image86
        peoplepower73posted 4 years ago in reply to this

        You are right, he is the author. He also uses two other metaphors.  One  is the elephant and the rider.  The giant elephant is our first emotional, intuitive response that we want to make, followed by the rider, which is our rational reasoning taking over to keep the elephant on track.  The other metaphor is the  chimp and the bee hive. We are like the chimp, when comes to independence of solving problems and as and as behive when it comes to working together as groups to solve problems.
        He also asserts that conservatives are better at political situations because they are more attuned to all six of the moral foundations , while liberals are more attuned to four.  I'm paraphrasing this, so if it doesn't come out right, I wrote a book review hub if you want to read it. I feel that what he has written is consistent with the way I experience myself behaving and others when in political discourse. He says there are actually three divisions: liberals, libertarians, and conservatives.

        1. Thomas Swan profile image94
          Thomas Swanposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          I think the main problem with his Haidt's arguments was put forward by someone called Hauser, who said: “Neither I nor any other feeling creature can just have an emotion: something in the brain must recognize that this is an emotion-worthy situation". So in other words there must be some level of reasoning that occurs before an emotion takes place. Now this could be automatic or intuitive like Haidt suggests, or it could be conscious. The common term to describe this pre-reasoning is appraisal. There is a great article available online by someone called Ellsworth, entitled Appraisal processes in emotion. Your hub was a good read, thanks. Haidt is a leading academic when it comes to understanding morality, so you certainly have good sense to have read his book.

          1. peoplepower73 profile image86
            peoplepower73posted 4 years ago in reply to this

            Thank you for reading my hub and sharing your knowledge on the subject.

 
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