Beyond Belief

Now, yesterday, I pointed out that it doesn't really matter whether what you believe is true so long as you believe in something.

Which, on its face, is true. The world is full of people who get through their day by believing in specific concepts and ideas which may or may not be completely fucking retarded.

A lot of people talk to me about the law of attraction and The Secret. And then I talk to them about how the natural result of this belief is that you will go around waiting for things to happen to you, instead of, you know... doing things.

And they say "well, with an attitude like that, you are only going to attract difficulty and hardship into your life." Because like Yogi Berra said - some people, if they don't know, you can't tell 'em.

Most ignorance is willful.

But if you're ever going to move beyond the beetle-brain stage of your development, you have to develop some sense of whether things work and what they are likely to do. You have to start recognising that the beetle-brain process of just rolling your shit in some direction until you bump into something isn't likely to produce very good results.

You have to develop your Awareness.

There are a couple parts to this, and the first is to be aware of what you believe and how true it is. It's not a question of true or false, because if you knew what you believed was false then one would hope you might, I don't know, stop believing it. It's more a question of how true you know it is.

Like, for example, it's pretty well-established that Moses and Jesus and Mohammed never existed and most of the stories about them are bullshit.

The ten commandments aren't so much the word of God as they are an effort to control people's behaviour. Same with the 613 mitzvos, the parables of Jesus, the stories of Mohammed. These are stories no different than Aesop's fables, which we are all perfectly comfortable saying are fiction. 

The fox walking away from the grapes he can't reach saying "they are probably sour anyway" is never held up as evidence that two thousand years ago, foxes could talk. That would be fucking retarded. Nobody even tries to argue that this was a real fox, trying to get real grapes, being observed personally by Aesop as he wrote down his amazing insights into what the fox was thinking. 

But the moral of the story - it is easy to despise what you cannot get - is certainly true.

You don't need it to be a real fox or real grapes or a real event. Moses did not have to bring it down from Sinai on a stone tablet for "thou shalt not covet" to be good advice. Jesus did not have to give the sermon on the mount for ignoring those who "insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you" to be a sound principle. Mohammed did not have to say that it is "not worthy of a speaker of truth to curse people" for this to be the case.

God does not need to make a special place for you in heaven to make being a good person, well, a good idea.

That which is hurtful to you, do not do unto thy neighbour. All else is commentary; go forth and learn.

You don't need to believe in God or Moses or Jesus or Mohammed. But it is easy to despise what you cannot get. And thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's belief, nor shall you insult him and persecute him and falsely say all kinds of evil against him, because it is not worthy of a speaker of truth to curse people.

All of these things are true. Whether you are a pagan like Aesop, or a Jew like me, or a christian, or a Muslim, the truth of these things is independent of the belief.

And in any of those beliefs, you will also find a stunning amount of bullshit, which you are not required to believe simply because it is "part of the package."

Whatever you believe, be aware of how much is truth and how much is bullshit. There is nothing wrong with bullshit - the belief is a guide to proper action, the bullshit is there to convince you to act "correctly," and even if you discard the bullshit you still have a list of proper action. It is the quality of that which matters.

Distill the truth from the bullshit. That's what awareness really is. And then we move on to the next bit... tomorrow.