I haven’t looked up the definition of belief. I wanted to try it myself. It’s hard to do without a circular reference. Here is what I’ve come up with:
’Belief is holding to be true something for which there is no objective truth.’
This definition is full of problems, I know, but I’m going to run with it. Belief is usually applied to religion, as in, ‘I believe in God’. I think most people would agree that it is impossible to find and objective truth about God, especially a Christian God (capital ‘G’).
But I don’t want to go down that particular rabbit hole today. Many people better than I have debated this issue without satisfactory resolution. I want to pivot to another kind of belief.
Typically, we say that something is true when we see it. Or when we can touch it. We have to be in the presence of our reality for it to be true. At the same time, we believe certain things to be true even when we can’t see them directly. I believe there is an airport on the other side of San Bruno Mountain because I have seen it many times and it is reasonable to expect that it exists when I can’t see it. Airplanes fly over my house all the time which tend to support the notion that an airport is nearby.
I woke up this morning with the knowledge that a belief that I had previously held was gone. I believed in the existence of democracy in America. I believed that at the root of our political system, the people had a voice and that our representatives in government were responsive to that voice.
Is there an objective truth to this notion? I used to think so but events of the past year have made me question that. I want to use the phrase ‘cognitive dissonance’ but that is hifalutin and I don’t think I can defend a definition of that.
When a large group of people act as if they are experiencing a different reality than me, I am at a loss to explain that. Anyway, I can only speak for myself. Today, in my reality, my belief is that we do not have a functioning democracy in America.
I’ve opened up this huge can of worms and now they have grown into snakes and crawling all over the living room. I think I’d better stop now. I’m not prepared to write a whole treatise on belief and perception of reality. I will continue to live what I hope is a righteous life. My seed is sown, for better or worse. I live to contribute my wisdom, if that’s what it is, can be transmitted to the following generations.
Wisdom or folly or silliness, I send myself into the future with these writings. I believe in the future.