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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


July 29th, 2019

Ideas do not care about you.  Not even an idea like love.  Though it might seem built into the concept, its not.  We need only look at the long tradition of heartbreak and heartbreaking to see just how hurtful this loving concept can be.  In fact, few things cause more acute emotional pain then this concept and the way it can renege on the tempting lure of its advertisements.


The same follows for most all other beliefs, and this fact is compounded by a very imbalanced fact:


Belief can hurt you, but You cannot hurt a belief.


Beliefs can only be used to help guide and direct our behavior.  Whether this cascade of influence results in our environment becoming better - whether that be from a financial point of view, or in terms of relationships, or even our physical natural environment - depends solely on the quality of the belief and how well it accords to reality. 


In spite of this ruthless one-way street, it’s a wonder why we aren’t more discerning and rigorous with the beliefs that we choose to adopt and nurture. There is a sort of Stockholm Syndrome at play when a person holds on to a belief that is clearly doing them some harm. The most extreme example of this is the religious suicide bomber who quite literally does the most self-detrimental thing possible. . . because of a belief.


There’s an analogy here to be drawn with a parasite. The definition of a parasite is ‘an organism that lives in or on another organism and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense.’


This certainly seems to fit snuggly with the example of the religious suicide bomber whose belief benefits from the ultimate expense.


But other beliefs can be used to great personal benefit.  A rigorous study of physics and mathematics is grounded in the belief that the theorems and systems within physics and mathematics can be applied to reality to great manipulative effect.  Watching a rocket fall from space and land itself on a launch pad is one of the most awe-inspiring recent examples of much yield we can get from beliefs that have a tight relationship with the physical reality in which we find ourselves.


While it would be immensely beneficial and efficient to toss out beliefs that don’t have a tight accord with reality, doing so often comes with heavy social consequences.  We hinder one another by expecting each other to be consistent, and this consistency manifests itself primarily as holding on to the same beliefs.


We are stubborn to change, not so much because of who we are as individuals but because of how we are tied to one another in communities. 



This episode references Episode 33: Rose-Coloured Cuffs

Check out the Tinkered Thinking   Reading List

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Podcast Ep. 470: To Hurt a Belief

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