- Politics and Social Issues
The Future, of the World of Beliefs
A World of Beliefs!
The present world, especially the overall global picture contrasting the highly developed countries with all the other ones, reminds me of my childhood days in a countryside where I grew up with a good bunch of boys.
My Story, to Begin
I was a sickly child, who did not have the physique and skills necessary to pursue ‘manly’ diversions like climbing trees or jumping into ponds. (We had a good collection of fruit bearing trees in our village) Whereas by brother, who is only a year older, was of good constitution, as well as adept at such activities. Loitering around with playmates, whenever we happen to come across a tree rich in good fruits, I and my friends (who all were of comparable build!) would make an appeal to my brother and his cohorts to pluck a few. My brother with a couple of close buddies would make a face, and would reluctantly consent, of course after making us agree to do some odd jobs, like taking over their share of the housework, doing some spadework or running some errands for them. They would then climb a couple of trees, pluck some fruits, taste a few, throw down a lot fewer for the waiting crowd and, show an unhappy face with loud comments “Rest of the fruits are not ripe enough, wait for a few days”. We of course, used to relish whatever little, that came on our way and wait for the next visit. The same story will be repeated thereafter, I with my ‘weak’ friends managing to do with the few unripe ones. Moreover, the blanket judgment about the unworthy nature of fruits would be remaining as a permanent sanction, preventing us from making further attempts on our own, till subsequent visits.
It took some time for us to realize that this is a perfect plan for the ‘climbers’ to relish and enjoy the fruits for many days to come, without having too much of a need to part with the ‘spoils’.
The above thought keeps coming to me, because something is profoundly wrong with the way we exist as a world, more so, now. Look at this. We have two different groups of people. One group follows a progressive lifestyle and lives in good comfort. And they find life, both desirable and gratifying. Other group, in fact a large multitude, follows a lifestyle which in no way can be considered as anything close to the desired. They can be easily spotted too, being always trying to emulate the progressive. (Though they keep pretending otherwise)
The progressive group on their part is constantly belittling, whatever are the significant parameters of the lifestyle they followed prior to achieving the progressive status, terming it a reprehensible mode of living. Which is readily accepted by all the others, finding that it amounts to rating their deplorable mode of living as great? In addition, the progressive ones also heavily discourage the rest of the world from attempting to adopt any of those, resorting to both coercive and disruptive methods. Rest of the world, however, though would be desirous of catching up with the progressive, is not at all in a position to offer a challenge.
It therefore is a loosing battle, the progressive ones continue to remain so, and the others, relegated further down from where they are. Obviously so, since the very lifestyle that was of significance in hoisting the progressive ones to that status, is now being held repugnant. Moreover, those states do not miss an opportunity to ‘extol’ the virtues of the ‘traditional lifestyle’; though it was only by daring to break with the traditional that they did attain progress.
A couple of examples of such discouragement, of course worded differently, might take the following form:
"Going behind comfort is termed as the ultimate pursuit of material self-interest that each of us can show." The fact that our society is in a state of progress thanks to the effort our forefathers took for making life more and more comfortable, is conveniently forgotten.
Lesser the desire we show for betterment, the more, we are appreciated, emulated and held in awe. And the progressive states will never lose a chance of making public declarations that the outdated 'ways seen here are something worth'. That this applause will encourage us to remain glued to our present state, forfeiting whatever opportunities of progress may arise, is conveniently forgotten.
In fact, this is why we are what we are. That is, quite contended with where we are, and, whenever someone tries to break status quo, oppose with harshest contemporary measures. Except that if the results are undoubtedly, say advantageous, we may not express heavy discomfort.
Why? What is making us so wary of change? The root cause of the dismal state of many countries, including ours? When I posed such questions to myself, what came out is this:
On all matters of discernible, actual, things or ideas, humans are not at all worried of a change, even when serious and cumbersome precautions are necessary, or the after-effects are earthshaking.
Whereas, when it concerns things that are not easily made out, like spiritual entities and related notions (beliefs), they are horrified of changes, and they will go to any imaginable extent, just to put a hurdle.
What is a Belief?
Why? What particular benefit we are deriving from such entities that are not easily discernible, which is making us so averse to a change, notwithstanding our happy experiences in the material domain? Where, a ‘change’ always resulted in better conditions of living.
To get an answer for the above, I asked a fundamental question, what exactly is a belief?
The answer I encountered most often is that we create certain thoughts to anchor our understanding of the world around us and so, once we have found those thoughts useful, we will tend to persevere with those, as a belief. So, if belief has something to do with our understanding of the world around us, it should have undergone certain radical changes, while our lifestyle, as well as the world around us, were constantly transforming. But that doesn’t happen. Not only that our beliefs are not at all showing any change, but also the naturally changing ambience is continuously being put to severe stress, for accommodating itself comfortably within the (mostly outmoded) beliefs! (Constantly changing the definition, of all spiritual entities to suit whatever developments we have in material sphere, such that the ludicrous tales of yester-years still remain relevant, is an example)
Thus, if beliefs have nothing to do with our understanding of the world around us, what does it do? To answer, let us see, what role the beliefs play in our life, how, and when.
The answer I encountered most often is that we live our lives based in what we believe. Also, we tend to be irrational, on all matters connected with beliefs. The moment I started examining the truth of this statement, I was immediately bombarded with a stream of abstract thoughts. Yes, this is what separates us from all other forms of life. More than whatever we may actually do in our lives, the beliefs that precede our actions are the foundation of all that we cherish, dream, become, and accomplish.
How Do You Feel?
Beliefs are, At Best, an Afterthought
How Beliefs Work
From the morning rituals that we go through to greet the world each day, to the inventions that we use to make our lives better, or to the technology that destroys life through war - our personal lifestyles, community customs, religious ceremonies, and entire civilizations are based on our beliefs.
Concede, beliefs maketh man. But, what exactly, do beliefs do?
Here I am at a loss. I think, had beliefs be having a defined part to play in our lives, we wouldn’t be having this difficulty in identifying its precise role. I also think, belief is the only thing that differentiates human from all other forms of life, everything else being present in some form, in all species of life.
If so, what is found in all other forms of life, but not in humans?
The answer is not easy. Anything and everything connected with humans is there in the animal world, of course in differing form, shape, or size. The only area where one can see distinctive differences is, mating. Especially the post mating commotion, arising, specifically from the female side.
Belief can therefore be considered as the human answer to post-mating agony. In other words, none of the commotion that would have resulted is apparent to us, since all of that is being absorbed by our beliefs. The commotion, instead of manifesting as a sexual message, which we are uncomfortable with, can now appear as acute expressions of certain beliefs. As generations went by, we seem to have forgotten, what these beliefs stood for.
Thus our forefathers came to have unlimited scope for allaying this agony, resulting in generations where such a thing as post-mating agony is unknown.
Also man, being an animal with altruistic leanings, presumably has devised a battery of defensive steps to guard against, none of those giving away the true intent. Once we understand this, everything, like having lasting peace in our society, is child’s play.
Coming back to our topic, the progressive group of nations happen to lock on to ‘progress’ as a ‘belief’, while the other nations chose some other topic like violence, harmony, language, faith etc. towards the same. Populace of former countries is accustomed to living with extreme difficulties in the name of progress. That of the latter will also do the same, but for other abstract reasons like philosophy, religion, or language.
This, needless to say, is likely to result in a large gap between the progressed nations and others, making co-existence more and more difficult, as time go by. Also, it is likely sooner than later, since fresh differences are arising constantly.
Here, the word belief should not be confused with passive emotions of faith, feeling, notion, or opinion one may entertain on matters of one’s choice. It denotes a somewhat fierce attachment to whatever one may be seized of. Also, we encourage such vehement attachment, with honors and awards, except when the attachment results in uncontrolled violence, that too, only when we are in the harm’s path.