Beliefs and their Confirmation
Animal identity is based on their inner body feeling, and their relationship with and place in the world, as perceived by both the broadband and focussed use of their senses. In addition they identify with their territory, and have and give mutual confirmation within their social group.
Humans had all that animals have, and then we started developing our abilties with learning and thinking. And from the first ruminations on the meaning of the moon, or a flash of lightning, till ''why am I?'', we developed beliefs.
When we found gods to believe in, the relationship between individuals, groups, and the whole universe became secure or at least negotiable. This was the first great step away from our animal heritage. Since humans developed beliefs, they became the central priority for our sense of reality, security and identity.
Human cultures passed ideas and customs down through thousands of generations. For a couple of million years, up to a hundred years ago, - even though humans were often hungry and cold – we lived with a social consensus of dress codes, language, ideas, beliefs and opinions.
Our sense of belonging and identity was found within our social group. The communal identity within our group, with each other and in relation to a big picture of the world, was confirmed by each other.
And it didn't really matter much if we all believed we were living on the back of the Great Turtle, or, that the stars were the children of the sun and the moon; - because for our sense of identity and security, the confirmation of the tribe was far more important than the truth. This is no new invention of modern civilisation.
And with the present day cultural meltdown, this fact is now causing a lot of problems. We can't complain when politicians tell lies, or social media spreads false news. Because for our essential sense of emotional security, the confirmation of the tribe was always far more important than the truth.
The reason modern human life is insecure, is because we have lost the mutual confirmation of our social group. Collectively in human culture, any trace of the original animal sense of belonging is long gone; and now, we have even lost the integrity of our tribe. Our beliefs are insecure in a way no humans in any previous culture, have ever experienced, or even imagined, and so regardless of our modern material security, we all still feel insecure. ...
In modern times, (a few thousand years) with the cultural meltdown, the same old beliefs which were so clear and dear to us, and central to our poetic interpetation of life, the ones which gave our tribe identity and security, the ones which over time, in free thinking countries, developed into a mutiplicity of new creative ideas and opinions ... Nowadays our most cherished beliefs are exactly the ones which lead socially, to division and insecurity.
And the endless need for confirmation, can cause pain and suffering in a way that no animal or early human could ever imagine.
Our modern liberal thinking to socially integrate and contain the diversity of beliefs, - rather than infallible rulers forcing a consensus of ideas, - is a great step for civilisation. But, respect for someone else's beliefs is only a shadow of the mutual confirmation of the group.
A few lucky individuals, have public respect and feel confirmed (or appear so) in their popular image. And, even if we don't admire their ideas and opinions, we want to at least appear as confident, (lit: with belief), - as they do.
So this search for confirmation, is relentless and self perpetuating. But with the modern multiplicity of beliefs, there simply isn't enough mutual confirmation to go around, and there never can be.
This essay repeats and develops the cultural ideas in The Amazing Development of Focussing