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Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. (Albert Camus)
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    The Open Mind Believer
    The Open Mind Believer

    I describe myself to myself and myself to others as an open and free mind, and quite often when asked to explain this narrative I say that I am a great believer.

    It is kind of circular I know; yet to really define what is an open and free mind I must refer to this most primal of human motivations, namely belief.

    To be a great believer is the foundation of an open mind for there is no mind more doubtful, more uncertain, or indeed more indeterminate than the mind of an emotionally mature, free, and open-minded person.

    So what is a great believer? It is fundamentally a person that is ready to perceive the beauty and greatness, vastness and significance of life in whatever mode life chooses to present itself and that is the crux of the matter, “in whatever mode life presents itself,” no conditions are a-priori set, so in a manner of speaking, a great believer is an unconditional mind.
    A great believer is an intelligent, curious, and adventurous human; a questioning, probing and enquiring mind. A mind that knows that truth absolute is an illusion of universal proportions; moreover, knowing and realizing that the absolute is a non-existent and thus a non-issue, an open mind or a great believer believes all until proven otherwise.

    As I see it, belief is a fundamental of the human mind, a foundation of motivation so deep and so ancient that for many practical purposes it may very well be that a definition of human nature without the inclusion of belief is inappropriate.
    Yet what is belief? And I do not mean a particular belief held by this or that human or group of humans. I desire to discover the very foundation of belief and for this I use a visual allegory:
    Consider the following metaphor: the mind is an ocean, continuously moving, always dancing, vibrating, rushing, quieting, flat or tempestuous.
    Consider further that the continuous motion of the ocean produces waves, this is consciousness. The crests of the waves in our metaphor stand for awareness and finally consider that the saltiness of this same ocean permeating all parts of it in different manners (and degrees) stands for belief. Belief thus permeates our entire mind.

    “For men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt.” (H.L Mencken)

    To paraphrase Mencken I say that men become civilized in proportion to their willingness to believe and doubt simultaneously and without conflict.

    Belief as a term in our language is a tough cookie to chew upon (unless you swallow it in one go) and for a very good reason. To my mind belief is not a scientific concept; I do not think we need it as a scientific concept but as a working proposition in understanding our natural make-up. We have so many kinds of beliefs, so many structures of thought based on belief, so many behaviors and motivations stemming from belief that at times understanding what belief really is, is a formidable task most of us would rather leave aside.

    As I see it, belief in and of itself is not only a positive aspect of the human mind but a necessary condition of any mind in order to evolve and explore its limits of knowledge in the world. Yet it seems that belief is such a complex term, that a deep understanding of its meanings origination and consequences is a must if we are to make the most of our conscious aware will of choice and be as open minded and as free as we can, so as to allow ourselves a future that is better, more free and more promising than our past.

    Belief I understand to be a human tendency or predisposition and not in any fashion a state of mind, a mental representation, or indeed an attitude. Evolution in short, has produced in us a fondness towards belief, we as a specie love to believe.
    And loving to believe is exactly what makes an open mind open.

    I say a human tendency or inclination and by that I mean that belief is an abstraction of a primal human trait born of evolutionary necessity. We may call this evolutionary trait, projection of intention in time.
    Projection of intention (or intent to be more accurate) is a manner of “seeing” that which cannot be seen at the moment, a method of mustering resources for a project that is at present invisible. Fundamentally speaking, projection of intention developed from our supreme ability to evade predators. Simply put, looking for a predator that is not yet there, (but we “believe” will be there to hunt us) is the foundation of our apprehensive nature as humans. In fact we probably have survived the harsh and dangerous conditions of the savannah precisely because we had the advantage of projection in time of an ecological intent (such as a ferocious predator or devastating storm).
    In other words we survived because we “believed” that though the tiger is not here at present (and hence is invisible to us at the moment) to eat us, it would arrive sooner or later. Thus belief in the “invisible but highly probable” got a basic shot of credibility, since those of us that believed (or projected the intent) of the ferocious animal coming to devour us are in fact the survivors that we are. The “believers” were prepared and ready for the coming attack, the “unbelievers” were unprepared and thus were in fact eaten and eliminated from the gene pool. This explains first and foremost why it is the case that most humans have a basic tendency to believe and why we value our beliefs so much. In other words, those that had an open mind and were predisposed to accept the unseen, survived to find the evidence that they were correct in their beliefs. They had in fact a justified belief, which in time translated into knowledge.

    Yet here comes the important bit, because seeing intent where intent is probable and eventually justified, branched and evolved into seeing intent everywhere and unjustifiably so. So whilst the first kind of intent prediction, evolved into rudimentary science, the seeing intent everywhere phenomena evolved into rudimentary faith and eventually religion.

    The first evolved into what is commonly called “justified belief” or probable knowledge, the second evolved into an all-encompassing “belief in the invisible” or superstition. The first kind of belief was justified by continuous evidence and thus reinforced itself in a kind of positive loop, which in time became the foundation of rationality and the ability to predict the future or at least manipulate it to our own advantage as a surviving specie (via science and technology). The second kind of belief became faith and step by step lost completely its ability to predict the future and thus became a totally unreliable system of knowledge.

    Nevertheless since our evolutionary history is plainly a mixture or better yet a patchwork of successful and unsuccessful strategies, both branches of our capacity to inject intent (and eventually meaning) in time unto the invisible, survived. The two branches became intertwined, mixed, and coalesced into the modern kind of belief that we observe in our fellow humans and ourselves.

    We must believe for we are a believing specie, yet our most cherished beliefs must yield to the light of reason and evidence, even if this evidence is at best sketchy and unreliable. It is our prerogative as open minds to be open to all that life presents us with, in an unconditional manner.

    To believe is our fundamental tendency and predisposition; our choice is not in what to believe but how to believe. To believe in an open-ended manner results in the evolution of our minds and our civilization, in the evolution of our love and our friendship and the evolution of our peaceful motion into a better future with our fellow humans. To believe in a blind and all-encompassing manner is to close ourselves to the very character and nature of our minds, a character that has brought us until this point.

    Thus I see belief as the most fundamental of human motivational tendencies. We believe much more than we know, yet what we do know, either from justification or observation or both was originally at some point in time, a belief that received its due attention and critical observation.

    It is this beliefcritical thought system that interests me, for as I see it, it is only via the critical thought checking its beliefs that the open mind can actually operate the system of injectionrejection of intent and meaning versus evidence and justification, thus creating an ever increasing reliable form of cognition into reality.

    I am an open mind and thus a great believer, not in a god or supreme intelligence of any kind but in the great capacity of the human mind to know itself for what it is, an open system that believes much more than it knows and knows much more than it allows itself to know.

    We are all walking together towards an unknown future, yet the fundamental belief that a brighter future awaits us is what makes us so determined to create it.

    I love and appreciate life too much to be religious about it, yet the point is not to be an atheist or a worshiper; the point was always and forever will be the open mind, the great believer in the beauty and marvels of the unknown.

    The Transbeing

    ——
    A short homage to Albert Einstein


    "How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving...

    This is a quote from Albert Einstein- the world as I see it



    Thu, Dec 13, 2007  Permanent link

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