The Crow's Dream

Philosophy, geekery, and the meaning if life, and what I read this week…

Judgement Day

with 4 comments

Today is the day of the Rapture. Nothing is going to happen, but a very large group of people will be disappointed. They will be made fun of, and ridiculed by the media. They will get a lot of attention, and may become more proselytizing than before, or may move on, who knows? Although it s tempting the poke fun at them, I don’t believe that this is an appropriate reaction. Many of us hold unexamined beliefs that have derailed our lives at one time or another. Those of you who know me will know that I’ve had more than my share of weird ideas.

Today, I think, should be a day for the rest of us to think about or or unexamined beliefs. I used to think, for example, that a good use of my time off was to rest and for the next day. Experimental evidence, however, has shown that people tend to feel better when they spend their days doing something useful, or productive. After spending more of my time doing things that I want to do, rather than passively absorbing media, I feel better for it. After examining the evidence,  I actually went back to college to begin working on my Masters degree. Again, an unexamined belief was keeping me from fully appreciating my life. If it is true that it is judgement day, let us judge our own thought processes instead of pointing and making fun, because no one has a perfect model of reality built in to their brain. Of course, the idea that we should face the world with out denial may also be wrong.

Do hold any unexamined beliefs? If so, how can you test them? What would be the benefit of abandoning them, if any, at all? It may be a good idea to talk to people you trust about those ideas. Fresh perspectives seem to help a lot. Please feel free to share some of your own experiences on this topic.

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Written by Hector

May 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm

4 Responses

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  1. This has been broadcast by the news WAY too much. It’s not the 1st doomsday prophecy and it won’t be the last. That statement itself is a contradiction! I was reared Roman Catholic but quickly separated myself from them [as a young teenager] and I still feel the same as I did almost 50 years ago. If I re-examine my beliefs, I still tend towards the scientific explanation of the creation the universe [and all the others that my be out there]. What is most important to me is to live each moment to the fullest and to make each present moment of my life as best as I can. It’s a simplistic way of living but much like the natural world. To spend a whole lifetime thinking of the hereafter is a waste of time. I’d rather sit by a quiet stream or take a walk in the woods.

    Rachel

    May 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    • Rachel– I feel the same way about nature. To me, a minute spent surrounded by green is a minute well spent. I always am aware of how interconnected we are with everything around us. My favorite activity is to listen to the rain. Thanks for your comment!

      Hector

      May 23, 2011 at 1:09 am

  2. Interesting. I, too, think that critical thought is important for societal and individual progress. The problem is that if everyone truly examined their beliefs, and proceeded to abandon any irrational ones, a lot of things would change. On the surface, that sounds great. Change isn’t always about progress though, and if the masses suddenly decided that the ‘morals’ and values contained in modern religion are meaningless, it might push them to be even more irrational than they were prior to their apostasy. Take, for instance, Saddam Hussein. Brutal as he may have been, he maintained some level of order in the land over which he presided. After the dissolution of his government, chaos was free to reign. The same holds true with a person’s beliefs.

    ZAdoubleQ

    May 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    • Thank you for your comment. You gave me a lot to think about

      I think denial can be healthy in many situations, and you are right, simply letting go of irrational ideas may be harmful, especially because our brain cortex is incapable of perceiving the vastness of it all. Some neuroscientists argue that emotions are a vital component of understanding. I do not believe, however, that religion is always an important component of morality. To me, morality is about the survival of our species as a whole. Some new evolutionary models are showing that altruism could be related to group survival, which I think is way more ennobling than the idea that we are good just because it’s convenient. What is good for us is good for all of us.

      If by religion you mean philosophy, then I don’t see the conflict between it and rationality. It seems to me like there is an implication that religion is irrational, although I prefer the scientific model, I do not see my believer friends as irrational.

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I always appreciate them.

      Hector

      May 23, 2011 at 1:17 am


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