Monday, August 21, 2017

Believe It Or Not

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- Listen, I've been trying to work something out. Tell me what you think.
- About?
- Politics. Political belief. I think it is not really belief. That it is not like what we mean when we say we believe the sun will come up tomorrow in the east.
- Not a prediction.
- Prediction, but of a kind that involves elements of passivity and superstition. I'll explain. People believe passively when they have been told 'this is how it is', and rewarded for agreeing and punished for disagreeing.
- Their belief is emotional, the product of indoctrination.
- Yes. When belief is active, it is either understanding or superstition. Understanding, 'standing under', is when we come to a conclusion based on past experience.
- The past 'stands under', is the support of how we see the present.
- Yes.
- And superstition?
- When how we see the world is not based on experience but is an imagined future 'standing over' our present, an expectation of the future that we in our present give ourselves.
- 'Reduce taxes for the rich and we will all gain'. A statement of the future we believe because we've been told, not because we or anyone else has ever had any experience, evidence of its truth.
- Yes. But there is also an active version of superstition in which people actively choose to hold superstitions because of political benefit from doing so.
- They're rich so their taxes are reduced.
- Exactly.
- Now this is what I want your opinion on: is it possible active superstition is more than political expediency of selling the idea to others?
- Do I think our politicians really believe?
- Yes.
- You're asking about our politicians being superstitious in a society generally considered scientific, based on understanding. They seem to be deliberately turning their back on evidence that would produce understanding. And if aware they are deliberately turning their back on the job of gathering evidence, they can't be said to be interested in discovering the truth of what they believe.
- Yes.
- But in terms of real experience, they have understanding that holding their beliefs is factually good for them. A political understanding accompanies the superstitious belief.
- Yes.
- So that is what, and how they believe: they understand it is good for them to tell others and themselves that reducing taxes for the rich is good for everyone, but the idea itself to them is a superstition, held because it is useful. In time, however, in company with their fellow politicians believing and understanding the same thing, passive belief arises based on social reward and punishment.
- And then they have both passive belief and true understanding. They believe what their group believes and understand it is good for them to do so. They forget their superstitious belief once was active.
- Yes.
- And this belief of yours: is it superstition or understanding?
- A little of both. A superstition, when we've decided on testing it, is what we call an hypothesis.
- The hypothesis is: Despite being educated in a technological and scientific society, politicians deliberately maintain a superstitious relation to the world, turning their backs on experience, doing this with an understanding that among the group of their fellow politicians it is good for them to do so. In time their active decision to hold superstitious beliefs is replaced by the passive rewards of going along with the group of other politicians.

Further Reading:
Business Is Business