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A strange idea I ran across

Discussion in 'Culture & Religion' started by samsara15, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. samsara15

    samsara15 Member

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    Not that i agree with it, but just wonder how others here might view it....

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    Believe What You Wish: The True Power of Free Will

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    Do you believe what you must, even if you don't like it? Why? If a belief disturbs you, why not just change your belief about it? Is it because you don't have the power to change your beliefs?

    For the purpose of this debate, a fact is something one directly experiences, and a belief is an interpretation of facts that forms a rule or guiding principle which in itself is not necessarily true. A fact would be that fire burns; a belief would be that fire is evil and hates you.

    Free will is defined as the ability to alter how you interpret the world; i.e., the ability to change your beliefs about the world. After all, most of our behavioral choices in life are largely dictated by a very deep construction of beliefs, from cosmological meaning to life (or lack thereof), to how it is best to organize one's daily affairs (economy, efficiency of time and effort, doing good for others, etc.)

    This organization of beliefs, or belief system, modifies and instructs virtually every decision we make, from whether or not to give a bum money, to how we react to door-to-door religious witnesses or salesmen, to how we raise our children and how we interact in the workplace. Our belief system about what is right and wrong, efficient and wasteful, valid and non-valid elicits reactions in us and others around us ranging from joy to despair and from love to outrage.

    IMO, the reason many people cannot change their life is because they cannot change what they believe, because they hold what they believe as "true", and believing "something else" would be the same as "living a lie". In fact, many hold such importance for the truth of their beliefs that they are willing to ridicule and attack any who do not believe as they do. Their beliefs have become "who they are", and questioning those beliefs is the same as an attack on them, or a belittlement of their person.

    Beliefs are like programming; if you can't change your beliefs, then it doesn't really matter what you do, you will generate the same experiences over and over because you are operating under the same set of rules. This inability to change beliefs makes you a "thing", an automoton, coerced by the programming to do the same things over and over, whether successful and enjoyable or not.

    Free will is the ability to alter one's programming - the beliefs - at will. Instead of "figuring out" what one must believe about something, one chooses what they wish to believe about something for the purposes of their own experiential goals. For example, I can believe that everyone at work is stupid and unable to perform their jobs as necessary, or I can believe that they are compelled by unknown factors to behave in ways that make me more indispensable and ultmiately benefit my life, even if at times I don't see the connection or course. One belief adds frustration to my life, and the other grants me peace and satisfaction, and an ability to vaule and enjoy my co-workers.

    Similarly, why would I want to believe in an existence where when I die, poof, that's it, my consciousness ends? No, I prefer to believe in an existence where I continue on forever, enjoying my diverse experiences. I also choose to believe that everyone loves me and that everything that happens in the world is for my ultimate benefit. Why not?

    The question is: if you cannot believe that which helps you enjoy life, but are instead compelled to believe things that detract from your enjoyment, why are you submitting to such victimization from your own beliefs? Do you not have free will? Can you not believe as you wish? Are you an automoton that must believe what it is told to believe by some program of "truth"-finding? Do you really think that of all the humans that have ever walked the Earth with all of their diverse beliefs about the world, and considering all the humans that will come after you and probably hold your beliefs to be quaint superstitions, that you have somehow stumbled upon the "real truth" which must be believed, even if it makes you unhappy? Does that even sound reasonable?

    Isn't it more realistic (and pragmatic) to just believe that you have some bad programming about what is "true", then use your free will to reprogram you beliefs into a more enjoyable pattern, than it is to believe that you have somehow figured out what is "really true" in the universe, and what is not?
     
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