I want to clarify first that I intent to write in this post not just about “doubt”, but also “believe”. Or, one can say it is about the thinking process related to “doubt” and “believe”. So, here, I mostly want to talk about the verbs. And, I also want to point out that the related two nouns “doubt” and “belief” are greatly misused, which contributed to the confusions about the corresponding thinking processes.
In my last post, I basically said that I don’t think I need to spend a lot of time explaining the principle of “Reason“. I want to clarify what I meant here. I think the principle of Reason itself is quite simple. But its applications may not be. This is because there are various errors and problems with other concepts and processes. The most important one is the process of “believing”. Because this process had been distorted so badly, in order to talk about it, I have to start with the concept of “doubt”.
I have talked about “doubt” and “believe” briefly in my previous post (“About “Emma” (V)”). As I said in my previous posts in “About ‘Emma’”, I might talk about subjects I have talked about before. By the way, this current series “About ‘Emma’ and Beyond” is going to be about further explaining things I have talked about before, and possible starting some new subjects.
As I just said, I have to talk about “doubt” in order to talk about “believe” because the process of “believing” was distorted too badly. How so? Well, I think the process of “believing” should be a very simple process (because strictly speaking this process is about a process directly related to facts). One would weigh in the facts known, and using logic to conclude whether one could draw any conclusions. There could be various rules we can use to determine whether to draw any conclusion(s), and what the conclusion(s) could be. These rules could be right or wrong. At least at this time, I am not going to talk about any specifics about any rules.
The problems I am going to talk about are two kinds. One, sometimes, people are not using reasons to construct these rules or evaluating these rules. Second, people often abandon all reasons and are “led to believe” by emotions. Actually, they are at least related, because I think people who don’t use reasons to construct these rules or evaluating these rules because they are at least influenced by emotions, and often are dominated by emotions.
Sometimes, the emotional factors might not be very obvious. For example, people might accept the rules of thinking because they might fear that thinking differently might lead to certain detrimental results. In other words, they are influenced by emotions caused in another (or other) related thinking process.
So, I think the biggest problem with the process of “believing” is the involvement of emotions. In fact, I think even “Love” does not have any place in the process of “believing”. If one includes it in the thinking process, then it would often result in “wishful thinking” (because my definition of “Love” is “good will”). This is why in my previous posts, I said “attraction” is not “love” (“intimate love”), because it is related to perceptional system, and only when “attraction” leads to “desire” (I made a distinction that “desire” caused by other means could not be “love”), there would be “love” (“intimate love”).
In other words, emotions could be useful when they are related to actions (as I think “desire” would lead to the “acts of love”) as to what to do, not in the process of determining what to “believe”. Could emotions be useful in other kinds of thinking processes? I cannot draw a definite conclusion at this time. But what about “doubt”? I think strictly speaking, “doubt” is not exactly a thinking process. Using analogy of computer programming, it would be an “add-on”, not an “App”. In other words, it is an element of the thinking process, not an independent process. But I think emotions would also be harmful if they are related to “doubt”. Basically, I think emotions could determine whether “doubt” would be introduced in the thinking process, which could cause problems because it could alter decisions based on rational thinking. For example, if one is driven by fear, one might “doubt” something when one should not, or not “doubt” something when one should.
The reason I want to talk about “doubt” is because it might be easy to say not to “believe” when one is without any reason to, but one would also need to know when one should believe, and the easiest answer would be when one is “without doubt” (here, I want to emphasize that I am talking about without “reasonable doubt”, although what is “reasonable doubt” may not be very easy to determine).
In fact, when the thinking process is based on undisputed facts (although whether the facts are undisputed could be a question, this is why secrecy and dishonesty is very harmful in the society) and undisputed rules (again, whether the rules are actually undisputed could also be a question), it is a simple process would not call for any “doubt”. But when one could know whether the facts or rules are undisputed? I think at least in many cases, one would not know for sure. But in practice, when one cannot find any logical contractions, one could be led to “believe” something or certain “belief”. But I think this kind of “belief” is a “qualified belief”, should always be open to “doubt” if new information led to logical contradictions. In fact, personally, I hold all my “believes” under this rules. Anyway, I don’t think emotions should serve any roles here.
But I want to emphasize that I am not really trying to make any rule here, I am only trying to point out the problems within the process of “believing”. Here, I want to point out two things that could be the long term effects caused by the distortions about the process of “believing”. First, one might not know when to doubt (in other words, lost the ability when to “doubt”), just like what people say that one doesn’t know what one does not know (or, in other words, one does not know what exactly is “reasonable doubt”, hence not be able to doubt at all).
But this is not my main concern here, as often it is that people would go to the opposite, when they are trying to rethink their “believes” (if their “believes” are rigidly formed previously). Actually, my focus here is even narrower, which is the kind of “doubt” that is driven by “fear”. I say “fear” not “hate” because although this kind of mentality may started from “hate”, I think it is a kind of paranoia that is mostly associated with “fear”. I should narrow it even further, to the kind of “fear” of not “being contaminated by the previous belief system(s)”.
It is probably quite understandable that people who are affected by emotions in the process of “believing” might not even know this problem. So, they might carry over this habit when they try to “reform” their “belief system”.
I am not just talking about “Reformation Movement” in Christianity. Recently, I am trying to get a little bit more knowledge on the history (mostly history of “western world” for now), and it seems to me that although I cannot rule out the possibility that there are people that are intentionally trying to “mess up” the way people think in every way (actually, I am convinced there must be some intentional acts in the mix), I am not quite sure all the people in “culture development” are actually aware of the conspiracy. This makes me decided that it is probably not useless to try to point out the problems in the way people thinks.
What I am trying to say is, at least in some sense, the “rebel against the Church” had led to a road of culture development that is increasingly narrower, and increasingly confusing. In other words, it seems that the Roman Catholic Church (I don’t really have any knowledge about Eastern Orthodox Churches, or “Oriental Churches” at this time, and at least at this time, it seems to me that the Roman Catholic Church is the “ring leader” of the “Grand conspiracy” to distort truth in the world) had claimed the ownership of the culture system (and human knowledge system) and anybody and everybody “rebels against” them would seems to be “fugitive” and acted like one.
In fact, there is really no differences in substance between the cultural system under the Roman Catholic Church and others that “rebel against” it, because they all reflected similar way of thinking. So, I think this fact in itself may be a proof the world is under its spell (or, one can say its existence is the manifestation of the problems in the world).
This leads to another layer about the “doubt” and “believe” dynamics. When people talk about “belief system”, I think it generally refers to a value system that is not just based on “belief” based on “facts” (even if we accept a different standard of what are “facts”). It would include values and rules set by humans (that people might claim to be from “God”). How to evaluate these values and rules would be the question (if we start asking questions).
Here is when “Love” is important. But as far as I can see, “Love” is the only “emotion” that could be included in this process. In fact, I am not very sure if I should call it “emotion” here. “Love” is complicated. At the very least, it is not a “pure emotion”.
Well, this might be the time to talk about “emotion” briefly. What exactly is “emotion”? I don’t think the general definitions are very helpful. So, I will not give a clear definition here, but I will only talk about what is relevant to what I am talking about now. Generally speaking, it includes mental states that the intensity of them could vary. But I think “Love” is different from other emotions because it does not seem to be generated from responding to external inputs. Well, we can say that not all other emotions are generated in despondence to external stimulates. In fact, maybe we can even say that no emotion is generated directly from responding to external stimulates. For example, even anger may not merely be directly responding to external stimulates, because the same external stimulates could generate different levels of angers even in the same person in different time and circumstances.
My point is, “emotions” are not simple direct responses to external stimulates. But what I am saying is, “Love” may not be responding to any external stimulates at all. For example, how would one explain “self-Love”?
But is “Love” completely innate? Now, we are back to the “foundational differences” between two “schools of philosophy”, between Confucius and Jesus Christ. What do I think? Actually, I don’t think “Love” is completely innate. But then, there is another question. Is fate predetermined? This question splitted Christianity (somewhat), and as far as “eastern culture” goes, they are very firmly in the camp of predetermination. Well, maybe not, because “Karma” means it is not predetermined. So, at least on this question, there is a difference between traditional Chinese Culture (enforced by the thoughts of Confucius) and Indian and other Culture (as far as I know, the concept of “Karma” can at least be traced back to ancient Egypt, and all other eastern cultures include the concept of “Karma”, at least in various forms).
But then the attitudes towards these concepts seem to make a world of difference. I don’t want to go too far on these subjects (I have talked about related subject before in my posts “About ‘Emma’”), because they are not the focus of this post. But here, the relevant conclusion I want to lead to is “Love” is not completely “innate”, it is something “distilled” from experience, However, I would not completely rule out there might be biological based tendencies that could be factors in the process.
Maybe I will talk about this subject further in later post, but here I want to continue my thoughts related to “doubt” and “believe” in reexamining the existing “belief system(s)”. In fact, I think the importance of “Love” in this process is to eliminate other “emotions” that could contaminate “doubt”. This means in reexamining the “culture system”, people should not be fooled by labels, but should take things apart(meanings taking concepts, rules, etc. down to minimum elements) and looking at all possible elements related to values and rules carefully, and re-evaluate them based on the basic principles of Love and Reason.
October 28, 2019