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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Facts alone cannot win over beliefs –Let us examine the why and how of it?

Facts alone cannot win over beliefs –Let us examine the why and how of it?

Life’s evolutionary aspirations are tossed between repetitions and changes.

1. Read this wonderful article which appeared last month and I wanted to share it.

This article proves certain very pertinent points.

2. This article articulates the reasons for many luddites with so much of reluctance and many impediments of all kinds and sorts: - be they socio-culturally or religiously imposed or intellectual ideological identity based impediments and so on.

3. Confirmation bias, unfortunately, is part of the eco-system of our thought process and gets settled in our subconscious.

4. That’s why repetition and refrain are more appealing in almost all domains and traditions [‘activities which have lived through times as an intrinsic part of a culture with certain inherent attributes’] remain unchanged. The positive aspect is that it enables to store in our collective memory many things which would have other disappeared and we would have ended up spending lot of time relearning things from the scratch.

5. However, the negative aspect is that this postpones the acceptance and assimilation of new and raw evidences and facts which alone can enhance our understanding the purpose and relevance on many things in the scheme of life’s evolutionary march.

6. Or are we to merely acknowledge that repetition replenishes or rejuvenates the existing status.

7. That’s why perhaps right rationalism is confronted with ground level empirical hurdles and feasibility issues.

8. I would like sprinkle some thought provoking quotes which I use often in many contexts to spice up and sharpen as well as sober  senses to accept the many vicissitudes of life with equanimity. 

“In the end nothing less than the whole of everything can be the truth of anything at all”- William James

“Society is always engaged in a vast conspiracy to preserve itself - at the expense of the new demands of each new generation.”  ~John Haynes Holmes

“The things that are wrong with the country today are the sum total of all the things that are wrong with us as individuals” ~Charles W. Tobey

“When we think of the past, we forget the fools and remember the sage.  We reverse the process for our own time”.  ~George Boas

 “We live in a changing universe, and few things are changing faster than our conception of it”-Timothy Ferris

“There is no tomorrow. There is only a planet turning on its axis, and a creature given to optimistic fancies”-Robert Brault

Guy Murchie declares, “Evolution itself is an open ended and indeterminate process”… “Given the remarkable progress in our understanding of biochemistry, molecular biology, and evolution as a whole … we have failed to develop concepts, ideas, even a language that could capture the dance of this life” 

Erich Fromm, “humans have a need for a stable frame of reference. Religion apparently fills this need. In effect, humans crave answers to questions that no other source of knowledge has an answer to, which only religion may seem to answer. However, a sense of free will must be given in order for religion to appear healthy. An authoritarian notion of religion appears detrimental.”

As the great scholar and my favorite author Bertrand Russell writes in POLITICAL IDEALS (1917) CHAPTER IVINDIVIDUAL LIBERTY AND PUBLIC CONTROL

“The creative impulses, unlike those that are possessive, are directed to ends in which one man’s gain are not another man’s loss. The man who makes a scientific discovery or writes a poem is enriching others at the same time as himself. Any increase in knowledge or good-will is a gain to all who are affected by it, not only to the actual possessor. Those who feel the joy of life are a source of happiness to others as well as to themselves. Force cannot create such things, though it can destroy them; no principle of distributive justice applies to them, since the gain of each is the gain of all. For these reasons, the creative part of a man’s activity ought to be as free as possible from all public control, in order that it may remain spontaneous and full of vigor. The only function of the state in regard to this part of the individual life should be to do everything possible toward providing outlets and opportunities”.

A great quote by H.P. Lovecraft, in The Call of Cthulhu “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

"All intelligent thoughts have already been thought; what is necessary is only to try to think them again." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”- Isaac Newton

 Shakespeare once said “I have bought golden opinions from all sorts of people”.

William Lyon Phelps puts it, “One of our secrets of life is to keep our intellectual curiosity acute”. 

Or as Thomas H. Huxley says, “Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.”

As Sascha Vongehr  mentions in ‘Science As Rationalization And Ultimate Religion

By’  “Every adaptive system has what can be called a perception apparatus and information processing structures and so forth. Science is part of the perception/thinking of social systems. All perception has its “blind spot”. Perception is ignorant of everything except for a tiny slice that it evolved to select and focus attention on. Thinking is there to interpret in a certain evolved way. Humans, being parts as well as environment of social systems, cannot grasp the perceived world of social systems, let alone map out their blind spots. Scientists are especially suspect when it comes to judging the blind spots of science.” 

Self imprisonment works in these ways without even our realizing it.

“Everything changes as you move through three stages of awareness:
first, that beliefs are the result of conditions;
second, that beliefs are the cause of conditions;
and third, that beliefs are themselves conditions.”― Eric Micha'el Leventhal

 “All of us have our own inner fears, beliefs, opinions. These inner assumptions rule and govern our lives. A suggestion has no power in and of itself. Its power arises from the fact that you accept it mentally.”― Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

We must realize that the subconscious mind is the law of action and always expresses what the conscious mind has impressed on it. What we regularly entertain in our mind creates a conception of self. What we conceive ourselves to be, we become.” -Grace Speare.

9. Despite all these, evolution has taken us from Kuru disease generators to cyber Guru Venerators.

10. On repetition

11. So, the task of seeking and searching and seeking meaning both become difficult.

12. However, the great visionaries and votaries of change who  form an important part of evolution’s inevitable stride with its inherent necessity for change  have been effecting changes very carefully as a neurosurgeon would handle his surgical knife.

They acknowledge first that in any domain stereotyped, trite, redundant aspects cannot be allowed to be fossilized or ossified but they have to evolve, like everything else, by wading through the tides of trends –which could be contributory, complementary, contrasting, conflicting, contaminating etc- with the oars of compulsions and compromises and sail smoothly and safely to ensure the fundamental and basic principles or inherent aspects are kept intact and appropriate doses of  innovations or improvements or changes  are introduced to ensure that there is a subtle transformation through a  smooth transition from status quo but not away from or apart from it.

Because in every domain of life the status quo addicts wield a  great influence so whatever change is effected must be presented as an important part of life and ensure it create a very powerful impact to intoxicate the status quo lovers to forget their past addiction for at least brief moments through various forms of expressions, enticing and emotionally appealing activities, involvement intellectual ideas to unravel  the multiple meanings of life as journey of life’s experiencing, acting and interacting with all its tools like body, mind, emotions etc.

13. Denying and defying things which have stood the test of time, either with reason or irrationally, is all the more difficult task and before denying their importance we need to first understand what has contributed to their survival through long periods of time.

14. However, evolutionary advancement in most domains of life is also inevitable
[Like evolutionary biology, evolutionary sociology, evolutionary philosophy, evolutionary politics etc].

“Across planes of consciousness, we have to live with the paradox that opposite things can be simultaneously true.” ― Ram Dass.

15. We cannot analyze anything through ideological fixations or subject it to satisfy socio- political justifications.

We must also know that everything has its own inherent attributes, intrinsic values, internal mechanism and logic for its existence besides, beyond, exclusive of and unmindful of human intellectual justifications, acceptance, acknowledgement, social approvals, political support  and therefore , it is purely absurd to extrapolate anything with specific ideological fixations.

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