Psychology of belief
The brain, false belief, ideology, and learning the truth: on how learning more about perception can aid in resolving conflict and life satisfaction
The way in which the brain makes sense of the world is not as logical as subjective experience of thought suggests. You probably know some belief bias and related ideas, but learning more about how the brain uses beliefs to make something seem logical can help you begin to break out of it. Then you are in a position to help alleviate the many problems that result from conflicts between belief systems. This begins with understanding how cause and effect relationships make up the fundamentals to your perception. Looking more deeply in this concept can help you develop the ability to extract information from the world around you that is normally made imperceptible by the illusion of completeness of knowledge. It also remove yourself from the back and forth of irrational debates and become a solution. This is oppose getting angrily worked up in despair. Which is pretty nice.
Due to the way in which perception develops, the actual reasons for the environment-contingent responses of objects in the environment is independent of explicit comprehension that can be expressed verbally. During development, behavior of objects that response to the environment in a way that is rationally contingent upon a specific context it is learned without an ability to articulate it. As in, it can be used to inform behavior without being able to explain it or be aware of it consciously. It is not until later that learned knowledge is used to comprehend the environment. Such post-hoc rationalizations are fundamental to perception. Behavioral responses do not require explicit understanding. Except for perhaps more intelligent animals being able to do so for relatively small set of things, behavior absent of any such understanding is the norm. They do not become useful until planned action towards goals that are in the future and a planned sequence of behavior to reach or when behavior is to be flexibly modified to be more advantageous.
Causal relationships form the basis of how we experience the world. That is fundamentally all there is for both implicit (unconscious) and explicit (conscious). Causal relationships take the form, if X, then Y. However, due to the complexity of the real world and the post-hoc explanations that over generalize and over simplify it, our comprehension is more naive than we could ever know. The generalizations we are aware of our the explicit explanation of implicit. The idea that we know much more information at an unconscious level is referring to this idea. We are not aware of this more expansive information in the sense that simple if X, then Y relationships are used by us to make sense of something that may if X or T or U or G, then Y & H or P or M & L, but only if Q and C has occurred. All of that is true, but then you are only aware of if X, then Y. An opposing belief help by someone else might be if T, then P. Who is right in that instance? They would both wrong they believe their partially correct conceptions to complete. That is is characteristic of cognition that forms for all other problems. A good stance to have would be to acknowledge you believe something that is likely partially correct in order to be open receptive to learning more. Without doing so, a bias is in place that makes only noticing what you believe at the expense of much more information. At the unconscious level, some of those other factors may be known in underdeveloped form due to the fact that it has not been integrated into consciousness. Those factors are were fears lie. Overcoming fears requires consciously integrating such knowledge. This why overcoming fears happens with opening up a new world of possibilities.
While we try to make sense of things in terms of a relatively few if X then Y relationships, the actual world is much more complex than that. That are most always many more mechanisms that function as an intermediates between X and Y. Confirmation bias results from the fact that integrating them makes the ego's job of controlling and predicting the environment more difficult. Understanding more about the complex interactions between enumerable variables means factoring them into decision making. The ego resist changes to the decision making process because that is what it strives to control.
The brain did not evolve to objectively perceive the true nature of reality . Perceiving too accurately is not optimal for a species survival. It needs to perceive in a way that benefits survival. This perception resulted from a long series of random genetic variations that became selected for because they allowed for behaviors that resulted in better survival. In this series of selected for variations, explicit representation became increasingly possible, but only in a “rule of thumb” manner and only to relatively limited extent. Because the environment is much more complex that it is conceptualized, many explanations of the same thing can seem reasonable to different individuals based on what aspects of the complex reality they focus and what was previously learned as means to do so. The differences in understandings become greater when they regard complex societal issues. One group of people can understand issues with one set of causal assumptions that make sense to them and one group with another. Each unique interpretation seems equally real to those who have it. On the societal level, this manifest as different beliefs systems. These different beliefs systems make different plans of action seem logical in goal pursuit because they rest upon different assumptions that explain the environment. This creates contentious disagreement. What should be done in regards to situations only make sense within specific beliefs systems. This is problematic to peaceful widespread interaction of cultures that is occurring in the 21st century when the respective cultures are not aware of the inherent incompleteness of their conceptions. Or if they are, they don’t know what to do about without having a clear way to make amends between the two when individuals of the culture are not pursuing truth in their own lives. It is a mindset of fearlessness that results from the desire to seek truth in one’s own lives that makes it possible to see problem more clearly and find solution. A desire to know the truth as an explicit goal in all areas of life is the only mindset could begin to deconstruct the nature of the complex interactions between groups of people and get at any truth that could help solve the associated societal issues. That is very hard for an individual to do with personal fears and insecurities guiding there life. This concept is found religion, but it also true common sense. Fear is only an indication of the absence of truth. Spirituality would say Love brings light to the darkness and this drives out the fear. Using logic, having fears precludes one from learning certain truths by biasing thoughts and perceptions. Knowing that the truth is ultimately for the best, fears can begin to be eroded and uncover new useful truths.
When personal fears result in the denial of truth, it becomes impossible the recognize what is unreasonable in certain domains. As the saying goes, you must first remove the splinter from your own eye before seeing clearly enough to remove it from others. Not being honest with yourself enough to understand the truth and reason, results in thought patterns that do not allow you to understand the world well enough to make the positive impacts that you may think you are capable. This is characteristic of not dealing with ones own problems by focusing on others. Not all, but many college aged political activists fall into the is category. They may be very vocal, yet have lived a sheltered life and do not realize the actually complexities of that which they are talking about. They know the simple if X, then Y concepts that do not have the explanatory power that is implied by how it is being used. This is avoidance out fear beings masquerading as “helping” by the ego in its defense of itself. It is avoidance from the stand point would require a much more humble perspective to acknowledge that ones perspective would not actually be able to solve anything. In fact, it would most likely make that which is claimed to be their motive in helping worse in the long run. That is painful idea the ego resists strongly. Alternatively, accepting the reality of the situation by having a more loving and truth seeking mindset from the start can allow for developing refined perspectives that can help. That however, is a more realistic long term plan. The ego strives instant gratification even when it is not possible.
Persistent defense of certain beliefs are often shielding true causes of problems so that the current state is maintained. Maintainance of what has always occured is the role being played by beliefs. The shared beliefs of an ideology are ones that groups of people use to avoid fears in the same way. Because everyone thinks it, it becomes a powerful defense strategy of the ego. Other individuals ascribing to the same false idea, is used to make it seem reasonable. Of course, other people believing something, even if it was half the entire world, does not make it true. However, it is a very powerful way to protect from digging deeper into the truth of something. It is also very dangerous in that it precludes reasonableness between ideologies with conflicting beliefs that are essential partially true, but diametrically opposed.
Opposing ideologies is quite the dilemma. One approach to begin to untangle conflict between people or groups of people is to find common ground based in a truth both sides can believe. Then can seek expand on that in order build a bridge between them. This is oppose adamant defense of belief. Solution seeking instead of belief defending. The crux of the dilemma is that each side will think they are seeking truth when they are not. That is a problem ubiquitous to conflict. It is why promoting principles that hold the truth as guiding factor of interaction is critical. If that is not being done, then there is path to permanent solution. Beliefs are meant to change with new evidence. It is more than okay to change your mind. It is necessary for peace. Striving for truth, either implicitly or explicitly, is the best way for you and the world to succeed. It is the only for extended success because beliefs will become obsolete and lead to conflict if they are not changed as a result of reasonableness. Thus, voluntary recognizing the incomplete nature of one’s own beliefs system and others is more natural when the truth is the goal, and this is avenue towards conflict resolution. Conflicts within your own mind and life, as well as in the world. The conflicting thoughts and emotions in your mind is microcosm for what occurs global level between ideologies. Only a shared belief in the using logic and reason to understand the truth regardless of what you fears is the only way bring them into harmony. To note, a belief in God does not contradict scientific logic and reason when the belief is coming from the Love is all and connects us perspective. But, you not believing in God also works as long as your goal is to reduce suffering and increases life satisfaction in the most effective way possible. And that, the most effective way will come from understanding reality better. Both lead to similar actions.
To start down that path, it must be recognized that the world we live in is infinitely complex. You could never come close to understanding everything. There is so much space for new and more accurate knowledge to be had of irrationality was addressed in ways that took into account the fear/truth avoidance. And that this can begin to be addressed in the individuals if they decide to pursue goals that are meaningful. As such, it is less logic to live in fear of any truth because the truth can only serve to make you better at realizing goals. It is something we must promote this explicitly as a core societal aim. Polarized ideologies cannot coexist because they logically lead to different conclusions about how to go about dealing with issues. The individuals within in them are vulnerable to irrationality because their goals are often not meaningful enough to their true selves, but instead a goal meaningful to the perspective of the group. Thus, the goal only serves to perpetuate the belief of the group because it is not meaningful enough to overcome the challenges associated with facing the fears that the group identity protects one from facing. This is problem with ideology because each group protects personal fears that the other group’s beliefs brings to light. That is perceived as a threat to attaining this deluded sense of meaning from pursuing goals within the group’s belief system. Each group has different ideas about how to go about achieving certain goals and thus, each group think their beliefs are best for helping themselves do what they want.
Pure liberal or pure conservative ideology can’t create a stable society over the long term when we moving towards globalization. They both protect against learning certain truth that are needed to deal with the immense complexity associated with the unprecedented interconnection and sheer size. Why can’t we all just be wrong sometimes? The more you are wrong, the more you more end up knowing. We can’t be wrong because we do not have the inspired action that gives one the self-confidence to know that will overcome any challenges. With a true purpose in life, you become immune to caring about such things as being wrong because nothing could prevent you from creating the future you want. Being wrong is not a threat to your life when you have to will power to never give up.
Unprecedented complexities associated with 21st century globalization and technology demand more nuanced understanding in order effectively deal with issues. Our comprehensions of the world are like looking at a few pixels and then thinking you know the big picture. The speed at which things move and degree of interactions, dictates we need to understand how our brains are limited so that we can look beyond what we already know. That takes fearlessness and courage. That takes believing that the truth is the best way for you succeed. That takes believing what you are doing serves a purpose of deep meaning that is bigger than yourself. Becoming a person with strong moral character by pursing something meaningful to you is how to bring more truth into the world and take part in making it a better place. That is how you remove the splinter from your eye and see clear enough to make a difference.
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