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Author Topic: Beliefs  (Read 4640 times)
Tracie Spencer
Posts: 3

« on: April 07, 2011, 04:15:01 AM »

The following quote from Krishnamurti...from "Commentaries on Living":

"One of the things that most of us eagerly accept and take so totally for granted is the concept of "Belief". I am not attacking beliefs. What we are trying to do is to find out why we accept "belief" and if we can understand the motives, the cause of that acceptance, then perhaps we may be able to understand why we do it, but also be free of it. ...

One can see how political, national, cultural and religious beliefs do separate people, do create conflict, confusion and antagonism -- this is an obvious fact - yet we are unwilling to give them up.

There is the Hindu belief, the Christian belief, the Muslim belief -- innumerable sectarian and various political ideologies, all contending with each other, trying to convert each other. One can see, obviously, that "Belief" is separating people, creating intolerance. Is it possible to just live without belief? One can find that out only if one can study oneself in relation to a 'belief'. Is it possible to live in this world without a belief - not change belief, not substitute one belief for another, yet be entirely free from all belief? So that one meets life anew each minute?

This, after all, is the truth: to have the capacity of meeting everything anew, from moment to moment, without the conditioning-reaction of the past, so that there is not the accumulative effect which acts as a barrier between oneself and that which is. Can you do it?"

Commentaries on Living ~ J. Krishnamurti

This article holds merit in acknowledging that subscribing to different beliefs/ belief systems can contribute to much of the conflict in society. Differences in the beliefs held by various and often opposed ethnic, religious, cultural, political, racial and gender groups have proven to be quite destructive and have helped to sustain systems of racism, sexism, classism and sexuality which are very biased and skewed toward the benefit of hegemonic groups that are aligned with certain beliefs. I do not agree however that the solution to the division that stems from differing beliefs is to discard or to be entirely free of belief.

It is my opinion that human knowledge and action is the result of an accumulation of experiences which condition behavior. While it is true that many beliefs such as those derived from religion are not based on experience but rather faith, over time and space it has been the accumulation of knowledge from past experiences that have informed many of the beliefs held by members of different cultures and societies today that cannot be discarded so to meet "everything anew".

Beliefs are not fixed rather they are flexible and subject to rapid change primarily because of its psychological nature as well as the possibility to unearth facts through research and exploration that will influence systems of thought. For example it was believed, before proper research and investigation that the world was flat. It was believed that women were just abnormal men who longed to possess the phallic symbol of power. It was believed that Africans were sub-human. All of which have come to be discredited with research and reasoning. Instead attempting to discard all belief, I believe that those beliefs that have proven to be divisive and to constrain human agency and freedom such as those rooted in ethnocentrism, essentialism, racism, capitalism/ neo liberalism, heterosexism, religion and sexism should be discarded. This I believe can be done through development of self, introspection, searching for truth, acting on the things we find to be true, setting good examples for life, offering help when sought that can bring others to the threshold of their own knowledge that lies within to invoke conscious thought and action.
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2011, 09:34:10 PM »

I do not agree with the author's assertion that political, national, cultural and religious beliefs necessarily create conflict, confusion and antagonism. Surely a lot of beliefs have very backward consequences, but this may be more so because of the structure and content of such beliefs and not because they are beliefs per se. It is not that different beliefs have been problematic because they are different. , more so, how those differences have been perceived and dealt with within some of those same beliefs.  Islam and Christianity for instance were both used to rationalize and consolidate military conquests, preserve empires through mental enslavement of the conquered, and destroy resistance by debasing and vulgarizing the culture of subject peoples.

Because Western type societies have been evolving divorced from the general wellbeing of people, many of the beliefs emerged out of these social structures are also very abusive. Compare this with some of the beliefs of indigenous peoples about nature for instance, that encouraged respect and appreciation for processes of nature.

While it is true that many beliefs such as those derived from religion are not based on experience but rather faith, over time and space it has been the accumulation of knowledge from past experiences that have informed many of the beliefs held by members of different cultures and societies today that cannot be discarded so to meet "everything anew".

I would not say that the accumulation of knowledge from past experiences informs many present beliefs. Of course, you have insights from past experiences imbedded in how people do things, but alongside that is a whole range of beliefs and concepts that are part of the European Capitalist system of of ideas, rooted in the conquest, colonialism, the need to control people as well as their own limited understanding of the nature of things. So you have a whole system of poor ideas being spread and maintained by brute force.

If a belief is defined as "Something one accepts as true or real" , then the question is to be asked, what is the basis for accepting it as true or real. Personally i see the desirable movement as being from belief to knowledge, where one knows certain things are real, based upon experience. Failing this, in a situation where someone cannot expereince something directly, or has not as yet,  there must be a consideration of a wide range of perspectives that can then give rise to a more informed and balanced belief, that evolves towards knowledge.
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