21 February 2010

I believe for every drop of rain that falls. . . .



I wrote an entry about the way I believe in God, which is to say that I do not. Not, at least, in the God that most people mean when they say God. I grant you that if the universe was Caused, there might have been a Causer. But that entity, or force, must by definition be outside space and time; beyond all categories of thought, or non-thought; transcending existence, or non-existence. What is the utility of arguing our "beliefs" about it?
Roger Ebert

Yeah. What is the utility in that? What is the point?

I could have given Roger Ebert a big, wet kiss when I read this. On the forehead.

We are a belief-ridden species, and it seems that we cannot rise above this. People embrace “beliefs” instead of knowledge. Worse yet, people embrace “beliefs” and lose any interest whatsoever in attempting wisdom. One would think that The Enlightenment had never happened.

“I already have wisdom. Here is what I believe. . .”

There would be no problem if this death grip on beliefs were harmless. It is not, unfortunately.

People who have never read a book in their lives vote based upon their beliefs. If one looks at the great carnages of history where people murdered each other in vast numbers, one will find that they all started because somebody had a belief. People fly airplanes into buildings because of their beliefs.

Beliefs have a regrettable ability to mimic knowledge. Beliefs have the ability to assume the aspect of wisdom. The devil hath the power to assume pleasing shapes.

The first step to wisdom is the realization that we know nothing. That is axiomatic. (Whenever I cannot remember who said something that I like, I simply say, “That is axiomatic.”) People cannot therefore even get to the first step to wisdom. They are sure that they do know something. They know what they believe.

Put me in a room with someone who holds strong beliefs, and I will immediately look for the exit. Strong opinions are a different thing entirely.

But then again, what the hell do I know?

With that we will get back to frivolous things.



5 comments:

Four Dinners said...

I have many important beliefs that sustain me.

I believe chicken vindaloo is the greatest food dish ever.

I believe that Oldham Athletic Football Club will one day be a great side.

I believe I will have another vodka now...

Does for me..;-)

Señor Steve said...

I believe that Fever Pitch is one of the most entertaining books that I have ever read. I would write a glowing review of it if I could lay hands on a copy here.

Candy Minx said...

Ebert's quote is very familiar to Buddhism. WE don't believe or disbelieve in god, it's not of relevence for this dimension, not particularily our business and it's left for a different time or space.

Some pretty swish new digs around here, me likey.

Candy Minx said...

p.s. I really liked your post on Feb 11th.

And guess what? I get it.

Since 2008 when I first read 2666 (I've read it twice silly fool that I am) ...the most amazing novel I've read in at least ten years...I've been reading mostly non-fiction.

Señor Steve said...

Thanks for visiting, Candy, and thanks for noticing the new digs.

I am on my second read of 2666. Just finished The Part About Fate the second time and am taking a little breather before jumping into the crimes again.