And now... time for some reflection. I renamed this blog in preparation for philosophical ramblings like this one. Usually my brain rambles like this internally while I'm driving to work, washing my hair in the shower or trying to fall asleep at night.
Belief. It's a fundamental force in the universe. I'm thinking it's right up there with gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. Us human beings are strange and wonderful creatures. Our beliefs can cause us to act or to avoid acting. And our actions affect those around us and the universe we live in.
The weird thing is that our beliefs aren't necessarily based on reality. By reality, I mean the things that are objectively true for everybody regardless of any one person's beliefs. We develop our beliefs over time based on things that happen to us, on things that other people say or do, on things that we think, on our intuition, on our emotions, on our desires. And sometimes we even modify our beliefs.
We choose to believe the things that we do. That's why some people can live in denial about things that are clearly true. One can choose not to believe something even though it is apparently objectively true. One can also believe complete bunk that's not even close to true.
If I believe something passionately, then it's true for me. If you believe something passionately, then it's true for you. It doesn't matter if the things we believe are objectively true or not, or if others believe them. We act based on our beliefs. If you believe in something, you'll fight for it. You might even be willing to die fighting for it. But if you don't believe in something... forget about it.
Belief can trigger a positive feedback cycle that actually causes the thing believed in to become more true... do you believe that? I believe that 2007 is going to be a good year for me and my family. Simply because I have that belief, it is now more likely to become reality for us compared to if I did not have that belief. This is some powerful stuff. It's what faith is based on. Also reminds me of one of the best DVDs we watched back in 2005: What the Bleep do we Know? Get it from Netflix. Definitely worthwhile.
I think about freedom and belief a lot lately. Stories about the war in Iraq make me think along these lines. Seems like some folks in positions of power might be believing some things that aren't necessarily based on objective reality... Not to name any names, but I bet reading that last sentence brought a couple of names into your mind.
Listening to the new John Mayer song Belief, from his latest album, Continuum, also gets me thinking about this stuff. (If you've got iTunes installed on your computer, this link takes you to that song: Belief by John Mayer. Check it out.) There are a couple of great lines from that tune:
Belief is a beautiful armorHappy new year, everybody. Let's make it a good one.
But makes for the heaviest sword
It's the chemical weapon
For the war that's raging on inside
What puts a hundred thousand children in the sand?
Belief can. Belief can.
What puts the folded flag inside his mother's hand?
Belief can. Belief can.
What do you believe?