Sunday, March 27, 2005

The unwisdom of belief

Page update: 24.10.09

Flutterby: You've been getting emails, I see.
Alcuin: Yes. People have been finding the address at the bottom of the contents page.
Flutterby: I warned you about that.
Alcuin: I know.
Flutterby: Anyway ....
Alcuin: Yes. There's a chap here who wants to know what I believe.
Flutterby: What has that got to do with him?
Alcuin: Come on. I'm not going to say that, am I?
Flutterby: You don't have to reply.
Alcuin: Maybe not.
Flutterby: No.
Alcuin: But belief is a problem.
Flutterby: I disagree.
Alcuin: You don't think that belief is a problem?
Flutterby: No. I think that belief is the problem.
Alcuin: Right.
Flutterby: On your planet, at the moment, belief is the major problem. If there wasn't so much belief, there wouldn't be so much conflict.
Alcuin: Yes. Kevin believes in that kind and style of God; Rachel does not believe in that kind and style of God. So their belief separates them from each other.
Flutterby: And the next level up?
Alcuin: The next level up from that is .... that belief throughout the world is organised into tribes of Kevins and Rachels. These tribes are called Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, or whatever. So belief divides human from human, and tribe from tribe.
Flutterby: Yes. Each tribe is confused, and it thinks that by adopting belief, the confusion will be cleared away. But belief is merely an attempt to escape from the fact of confusion. Belief is an attempt to swap confusion for certainty.

Alcuin: OK. So it's not good for the human mind to be tethered to beliefs. If your mind is tethered to beliefs, you can't think straight.
Flutterby: If your mind is tethered to beliefs, you can hardly think at all.
Alcuin: You can't stay alert.
Flutterby: No.
Alcuin: You can't know yourself. You can't begin the spiritual path.
Flutterby: No. To know oneself as one really is, requires an extraordinary alertness of mind.
Alcuin: And such an alertness of mind is drugged stupid by belief.
Flutterby: And dogma.
Alcuin: Yes. Dogma is the hierarchical level up from belief.
Flutterby: And religion is the hierarchical level up from dogma.
Alcuin: What is the hierarchical level up from religion?
Flutterby: The hierarchical level up from religion is planetary extinction.
Alcuin: Mmm. Painful.
Flutterby: Religion likes pain.
Alcuin: Oh dear.
Flutterby: Where would religion be without unnecessary pain and the rumour of unnecessary pain?
Alcuin: I know.

Flutterby: To know yourself, there must be the awareness, the alertness of mind in which there is freedom from all beliefs, freedom from all idealisation. This is because beliefs and ideals surround you with an artificial coloured filter, subverting true perception.
Alcuin: You sound like Jiddu Krishnamurti.
Flutterby: Good man, Krishnamurti.
Alcuin: His teachings and Christ's teachings are very similar aren't they?
Flutterby: Krishnamurti's teachings and Christ's early New Age teachings are very nearly identical, I would say.

Alcuin: Do humans need a belief of any kind? Is any sort of belief necessary?
Flutterby: Krishnamurti pointed out that we don't need a belief that there is sunshine or mountains or rivers. We don't need a belief that we and our partners quarrel. We don't have to have a belief that life is a terrible, boring misery, with its anguish, ambition and conflicts. All that is a fact. But we demand a belief when we want to escape from a fact into an unreality.
Alcuin: But that goes for any belief, doesn't it? Not just religious belief?
Flutterby: Oh yes. Religious belief, economic belief, educational belief, medical belief, political belief. The whole lot. Belief is the bogey.
Alcuin: Belief is the boggart ....
Flutterby: Do I detect a coded reference to Harry Potter?
Alcuin: A very inexact reference to Harry Potter.

Flutterby: On your planet at the moment, religious beliefs still subtend a lot of economic, educational, medical and political beliefs ....
Alcuin: Think of America.
Flutterby: I'd rather not.
Alcuin: America was great once.
Flutterby: America will be great again.
Alcuin: But poorer?
Flutterby: Much poorer in material terms .... but much richer, spiritually.

Alcuin: So .... yes .... so what Krishnamurti is suggesting is that one's religion, one's belief in God, is an escape from actuality.
Flutterby: Yes. And a mind which escapes from the actual, from the facts of relationship, will never find God. A mind that is agitated by belief cannot know truth.
Alcuin: Relationship? You used the word "relationship" there. What do you mean? Inter-personal relationship?
Flutterby: Yes. Inter-personal relationship, and inter-faith relationship, and international relationship, and inter-competitor relationship, and inter-generational relationship, and inter-specific relationship, and inter-planetary relationship, and inter-kingdom relationship, and inter-dimensional relationship. The facts of the whole nexus of relationships which is the actuality of God.
Alcuin: Difficult.
Flutterby: Yes.

Alcuin: Back to basics for a moment .... I've got a question.
Flutterby: There's a surprise.
Alcuin: A very simple question.
Flutterby: OK.
Alcuin: What is belief?
Flutterby: What is belief?
Alcuin: Yes.
Flutterby: Belief is corruption.
Alcuin: Why?
Flutterby: Belief is corruption because behind belief and morality lies the mind, the self – the self growing big, powerful and strong. If we let spirituality degenerate into religion, we let spirituality degenerate into belief. And then we are in trouble. We are in trouble because belief acts and has a corresponding influence on the mind; the mind then can never be free.
Alcuin: No.
Flutterby: But it is only in freedom that one can find out what is true, what is God. This can't be done through belief, because your belief projects what you think ought to be God, what you think ought to be true.
Alcuin: Belief projects a fantasy, you mean?
Flutterby: Yes. And employing another metaphor, belief also clutters up the mind; fills it with yesterday's junk and trash. A cup is useful only when it is empty. A mind that is stuffed full with beliefs, with dogmas, with superstitions, with assertions, with quotations and proof-texts, is an uncreative mind. It is a mind which cannot be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.
Alcuin: Not the mind of God, then.
Flutterby: No.
Alcuin: A repetitive mind?
Flutterby: Yes.
Alcuin: A mind which continually parrots yesterday's bad ideas under the guise of certainty-mantrams.
Flutterby: Yes.
Alcuin: Like an endless tape endlessly replaying the same old stuff.
Flutterby: Yes. And endlessly and inevitably deteriorating into noise for noise's sake, as the tape wears out.

Alcuin: So what we're saying here is that belief is not a good thing?
Flutterby: You noticed.
Alcuin: I did.
Flutterby: We're suggesting that belief is a bad thing. But I wouldn't say "good" and I wouldn't say "bad".
Alcuin: What would you say?
Flutterby: Instead of "good," I would say, "tending towards growth and free forward evolution."
Alcuin: Yuk. That wouldn't play well among the Southern Baptists.
Flutterby: And instead of "bad," I would say, "tending towards ossification and stasis."

Alcuin: Hold on, Flutterby. You're promoting obfuscation. And we're not past the nine 'o clock watershed yet.
Flutterby: Anyone who has stayed with us this far, will understand what ossification and stasis mean.
Alcuin: They might be experts.
Flutterby: I don't believe in the existence of experts. If there was such a thing as experts, Planet Earth wouldn't be in such a mess.
Alcuin: I'm staying positive.
Flutterby: Good.

Alcuin: But with regard to belief, it has been said that if you don't believe in something, you are in danger of believing in anything.
Flutterby: Yes. That is a good point. And it needs answering.
Alcuin: I think that to believe in something is to give away one's power to a human cultural invention. This human cultural invention is called a "belief".
Flutterby: Yes. A belief is a cultural artefact, an expedient superstition. It's a lump of stuff propping up the status quo. A belief is an invented chunk of words designed to support a fixed position. It radiates a sort of cold, negative energy which is truth-phobic. The more beliefs you allow to be implanted in your mind, the less truth gets through to you.
Alcuin: So, if you don't believe in something, you are not in danger of believing in anything – you are in danger of receiving a lot of new truth.
Flutterby: Exactly. And that is an important danger to face freely. Without facing it, there can be no spiritual growth.
Alcuin: Not that it's a danger at all....
Flutterby: No, but it may be a challenge.
Alcuin: Or feel a challenge.
Flutterby: Yes.

Alcuin: So, shuffling language around a bit, can we say that a belief is a chosen intellectual construct which has the function of keeping truth out?
Flutterby: Yes. A belief is an instrument of stuckness.
Alcuin: Mmm ....
Flutterby: And if an array of such beliefs is assembled, in a patterned or interlinked manner, as in a catechism or a creed or an atonement theory, and is wilfully held in place in conscious intellection, the mind becomes almost blind. The belief-array functions as a tight filter preventing the entry of new revelations.
Alcuin: That's saying what we hinted at just now.
Flutterby: Correct. You've got a dictionary on the shelf there. What does it say under the word "belief"?
Alcuin: OK, let's see. Right. Here we are: Belief - "a conviction of the truth of something; an opinion or doctrine held to be true."
Flutterby: Yes. So a belief is a thought-form, a construct on the mental plane (the fifth dimension), which carries an exclusive truth-claim energy which functions in the intellection by saying: "I am right; that which is anti-me is wrong".
Alcuin: A belief is a conflict-signifier energised by a right-versus-wrong referent.
Flutterby: I think you've just lost the Southern Baptists again. But I agree. The problem with it, however, is that there is no such thing in the spiritual world as "right" or "wrong". These are simply the control fictions of religiosity. One of the central lies of the religious experiment on your planet has been that a moral stasis is possible. This lie asserts that certain things are eternally right and their polar opposites are eternally wrong; certain things are good and their polar opposites are evil. But in actuality there can be no such dichotomy because there is no stasis in things spiritual. Nothing is static. All is process. All is change. All is movement. All is dance. God's will is Evolution.
Static positions nowhere exist. If we attempt to set up a static position against the prevailing fluency of All That Is – a static position such as a belief - we get ill and we begin to shrivel spiritually into an anxious, undead fear. It is this fear which energises fundamentalist violence.

Alcuin: Got it. OK. So .... in the spiritual mind there can be no legitimate place for belief because the spiritual mind has to be kept free and open at all times to receive new data uncritically. It cannot do this efficiently if it is cluttered up with belief-constructs which function to keep new data out.
Flutterby: No. And there are a lot of new data - new truths - new revelations - coming through now. That is what the New Age of Christ, the Maitreya Buddha,
is all about.
Alcuin: I know. But there are snags, aren't there? There are challenges. This kind of thinking raises a whole cluster of consequential questions. For example, how can I assess what is veridical? If a new idea comes along, how do I make a spiritual value-judgement about it?
Flutterby: Good question.
Alcuin: Got a good answer?
Flutterby: What do you do if a new idea comes along? A new revelation? How do you assess it?
Alcuin: Yes. How do you work out whether it is true or not?
Flutterby: Speaking personally, I would ask: "Is this new idea interesting?" and "Is it beautiful?" and "Does it feel good?" and "Does it keep me free?" If the answer to each of these four questions, considered unhurriedly over a period of time, is yes, then I would be inclined to trust my intuition and regard the new idea as veridical. But only for me, and only for now.


Life The Goal
An essay by Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895-1986)


Anti-spiritual belief systems of control
Henry See suggests that the monotheistic religions are elite systems of manipulation, negativity and deceit.


My name is God and these are My instructions

Spirituality websites worth watching


Lucas said...

Alcuin and "flutterby",
I thought your dialogue on the "unwisdom-of-belief" was interesting in that I have not yet seen that position stated in that way before. The primary problem I saw while reading your dialogue was fluttterby's argument that belief hinders the spiritual journey of an individual. The main issue is that this argument is self defeating i.e. if belief hinders the spiritual journey then doesn't the belief that belief hinders the spiritual journey hinder me as well? In the entire posting you are advocating a belief while at the same time denegrating belief. Do you see the hypocrisy?

I also picked up on another moral issue that you touched on, in your dialogue you stated that there is no such thing as good and bad. If you truly believe this (will this belief hinder your spiritual journey?) then you would have no reason to speak out against me killing you or anyone that you know. I say this not to be crass, but to point out that you can say all day long that there is no good and evil but I have yet to meet an individual that lives that way.

vera said...

'Lord help thou my unbelief'.

So that my dependency upon you may continue.

For always.

vera said...

Because I believe in God, I can believe in Love and in people.

An almost mathematical simplicty.

Anonymous said...

"All beliefs are barriers to the truth"

Anonymous said...

To assess a new idea, ask the question "Who benefits?".
The answer will reveal exactly how 'new' it is.


Tom Braun said...

I use belief as a tool, and usually write it this way: Hope, belief, faith and feelings are tools to obtain knowledge, understanding and wisdom, and not substitutes for them.

Another way it is stated, "Believe all things but only hold fast to that which proves true."