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Truth in Belief

August 22, 2007

I was looking not very far and not at all wide for a term to explain this which I came across doing philosophy a year ago now… Relativism, I thought it, but it wasn’t. So bully to that, it doesn’t matter anyhow. This is stating the obvious, in addition to talking about the sort of person I would like to be; anyone like that deserves respect.

Arguably false: Belief is right.

Subjectively true: Belief is not wrong.

Every person has beliefs. Postulation: every person believes in their belief – every person thinks (s)he is right.  And it should be so. It is a fact of life. X thinks pork has the mysterious ability of levitation. Y does not believe so. Who then is right? The answer: both of them, from both their perspectives. Yes, that answer is full of ‘duh’. Assume then, that you are more inclined towards the opinion of Y, but will not discount the possibility of X. That is another opinion, and if you believe in it, you are correct.

Naturally, all this nonsense leads to nothing.

But never mind. It is merely an expansion of the phrase that runs along the lines of ‘everyone is entitled to h(is/er) own  opinion’.

So if an chainsaw wielding mass murderer wants to chop me into little pieces to feed his  chickens, is he right?

In his opinion, certainly. But of course this doesn’t mean the chickens won’t get indigestion… Oh wait, I meant:  it doesn’t mean I can’t possess a belief to the contrary. And acting on my belief, I may rightly stop that horror movie scenario and return it to the DVD rental store.

In acting on belief and reacting to belief, most people do not feel they are in the wrong. It’s a major cause of conflict – perhaps the only reason why conflict persists. Conflict ends when X realizes h(is/er) belief is false and gracefully (or ungracefully) concedes.

So what am I trying to say here? Oh, I dunno. Every person has a set of beliefs, and trust them to be true. All beliefs are equally valid, whether they are true in the physical world is irrelevant (refer to the scientific argument: just because a rock falls downwards every time you have dropped it in the past, it does not guarantee it will fall downwards the next time you drop it. Likewise, just because a cow has not jumped over the moon before does not mean that no cow ever will). Leading on in a possible logically unsound argument, I claim that all human beings are inherently equal.

They do however exercise the right to change this level of equality. As how one can impose beliefs on another, a human being is capable of being superior or inferior to another. But this capability is always a personal choice: X chooses to believe (s)he is a slave of Y and Z, and accordingly behaves as such. Y chooses to believe (s)he is the master of X and also behaves as such. Z chooses to believe in human equality, imposing h(is/er) belief on X. X no longer chooses to be a slave and escapes. Y is now forced to clean h(is/er) own underwear. Boo hoo.

So what was I saying about the sort of fellow I want to be again? Er. My perfect idea of a human, ala Plato:  one who understands that all claims have rights but does not fear to impose personal beliefs onto others, who changes and is changed but always towards equality, always to the path of truth, non violence and goodwill. Yes, very priestly stuff. It’s difficult to describe. There’s a profound truth lurking somewhere in a dark corner, but all I see is me stating the obvious, which I have stated already.

Just think about it.


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