Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Interface of the Reality

Belief systems are ways to understand, grasp, and interact with reality (regardless whether a formalised recognised one or the net beliefs of a person). One model of understanding of the workings of the body is that the body works via qi (ch'i), another model is centred on chakras, another one might even work with reference to the recognised anatomical features we all share. The different understandings might explain equally well or alternatively show great disparaties in deduced truth. Chakras and qi are unproven to even exist but at times can be useful in explaining phenomenon. One interesting point I heard that a qi blockage can cause poor circulation (cold hands), which western medicine treats as a natural disorder (something to be managed rather than solved). Apparently this is not true in Chinese medicine. I have poor circulation, hence my interest.

Economics and politics are the same in this way. The power of logic and authority might create an allegiance to one understanding of truth. I am rather straddled over the conservative/liberal divide because the explanations for both are both quite compelling and can explain different phenomena.

There is a taoist saying, "Once you've caught the fish, discard the net" which pretty much explains my thoughts on the topic. The fish (truth) always is paramount, the net (belief system / ideology) is the most dispensible. Yet as is often noticed people love their nets. The net offers consistency and stability. Thus it removes people a step from truth and reality.


James said...

I think it is good to retain your belief system. Otherwise you won't know why the truth is the truth. It will just be a fact that you know, but can't explain why.

Crypticity said...

But a belief system can be an obstacle to other 'truth'. It can help and hinder. It might allow you a good grasp of one aspect of reality but equally it would let other aspect be unreachable.

An easy example that comes to mind is the much touted Scientific Method that is the basis for all our advanced western sciences but which has maby crucial flaws. Such as the fact that it can only regard possibly disprovable hypotheses as valid. If a statement can have no method of refutation, then it isn't valid. That is what science has to dismiss God, qi, chakras and our souls out of hand. To theorise any one of those creates an invalid hypothesis because it cannot be disproved (even if you tried, then maybe your equipment is not sensitive enough etc.). Faith in the scientific method as a divining rod of truth, is a concession that limits the truth. It hinders the pursuit beyond its criteria.

Truth is obviously the most valuable commodity of them all. The belief system has to be subservient to it. Belief systems do not dictate reality. Reality observed is what should dictate one's belief system.

A liberal view of the murder of the Kahui twins tells us that these people have fallen through the cracks of a faulty system. The system needs to be more thorough to pick up patterns such as Clusters and have nurses monitoring the welfare of infants etc. A conservative view is that the murder of the twins was a legacy of many decades of social welfare removing self-responsibility. If you hear talkback most people are eager to explain it through their consistent belief systems. This despite the fact that very little about the case is actually known. People have automatically used their belief systems to construct the scenario from the barebones up. And then getting passionately worked up from this horrible monster in their heads.

Due to the liberal/conservative analyses that people have, any particular investigation is almost impossible because the base assumptions of the investigators are not those under investigation. An investigation would aim to interpret the truth in a way that the base assumptions would be correct. That is the only way to maintain a belief system.

It is like in the Bible, whenever Israel or Judah were beset by invasion or had bad rulers, it was because they had turned their backs on God. If bad things happen, and there were a God who delivers what you deserve, of course they MUST have turned your backs on God. Otherwise why would bad stuff happen? You cannot say that bad stuff happened to God's people while they were faithfully worshipping him. That would be like saying that your understanding of God was wrong or Heaven forbid, God didn't show favoritism to the Jews, or an army of angels forbid, that God didn't exist (or at the very least didn't give a toss about matters human).

In the same way, a conservative would look at the Kahui case and say, of course the twins died, Bloody welfare MUST have numbed their sense of responsibility. Left-wingers would say of course the twins died, they were in an unsafe family, they should have been removed. The system MUST intervene more.

There are more reflections of belief systems than facts.

Boy was that a rant.

James said...

You seem to be saying that because there is no belief system which explains all phenomena, then we should reject all belief systems.

Why not have a contest between belief systems? The one which best explains any given reality is the best belief system in that context. Of course, there may still be an even better belief system which provides a better explanation of reality, but just hasn't been considered yet.

I just think that it's good to be aware of the reasons for the truth. Otherwise, the truth loses its meaning - you just end up reciting it rote from memory and not knowing why.

I agree that you can't just start from an existing belief system and expect all truths to be explained by it. You need to keep an open mind that there may be alternative, better explanations.

Crypticity said...

I'm not wanting to discard belief systems but to realise that all belief systems are just tools and interfaces with the truth. To use them to access truth, but not to be more attached to the belief system than truth that it reveals.