THE IDES OF NOVEMBER 2018
In the course of our regular pursuits we must make many determinations about what is true, and reliable; versus what is false, and deceptive. For any conclusion we make, there is always the chance that it is the wrong one. And while we prize knowledge and accurate information, we do not require it to direct our actions. Often we find ourselves pressed to make decisions or choose actions, without having the facts which could help direct our way. We often can’t afford to wait for absent information to help us, which may not arrive in time; or ever.
When we don’t have all the information we need for certainty in choosing the best use of our actions; the need for results force us to go forward with what our best conclusions recommend. Usually when we do act, we believe that we are pursuing the most likely path to us gaining what we want. If and when our beliefs bring us some success, our loyalty to them and reliance on them will grow. If our beliefs fail to bring us the sufficient measure of success, or survival we need; or we feel that we need, our beliefs of what the proper way forward is, will likely change.
Since we can’t always know; we must decide, or choose, what we should act on. Belief is important because it helps us get things done, and helps select which things get done; beginning with the important work of describing the world to ourselves. Our beliefs about the world and what it is telling us forms our understanding of what reality is. It provides a frame of reference, and structure; helps people order their lives, working cooperatively with an agreed upon set of rules to improve communication, and the fluid exchange of ideas. Whether the belief holds any intrinsic merit is secondary in consequence to the potential organizational power it provides; and the security it allows for its believers.
Throughout our history there are examples of cities, cultures, and civilizations who each believed that as long as they maintained certain rituals faithfully, they would be safe from harm. Their beliefs kept their societies strong, and prosperous, and safe from harm; until the day came when they didn’t, and harm befell them. Those who survived the aftermath of that broken belief system, learned to believe something new; something different; something more aligned with their readjusted understanding of reality. However they never stopped believing in something.
Belief is a way to fill in the blanks of the unknowns in all manners of endeavors, or concepts which people are not able to see, or visualize, directly; such as the nature of the Earth’s core. It creates a way for people to stand equal to challenges which seem greater in scope or complexity than one person might normally be expected to manage. It can allow people to have confidence that they will gain a successful outcome in the pursuit of their goals; even when there is no evidence to support that determination. Belief in a cause, or a given outcome, can inspire people to invest, or sacrifice, more to fulfill that purpose than protect their own safety.
Still we must remember that belief does not need facts; and it does not automatically hold, represent, or embody any truth. Nor does it have to work toward any constructive purpose. Believing in something seems a necessary aspect of coping with living, as it helps us come to terms with who and what we are. It is true that people can, and have, believed in utter nonsense throughout their entire lives; and have yet prospered all the same. It is not required that their belief be a true one; but if a person does not believe in something, what is there left for them to do?
J.A. Stubbs, Editor-In-Chief
Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc