Humans Cannot Believe

We would all be dead if we believed in parallel universes. If we take the idea that every action that could possibly happen happens in another universe and truly embrace it and live life by it, all the human ambition that has brought us this far would die. If you truly believe that an outcome is certain, why work towards it? The saying that actions speak louder than words has long been recognized by humanity, but do actions speak louder than beliefs?

It’s the small things in life that make me questions the premises on which my beliefs are founded. The kindness and patience I am proud to possess are painfully tested in the way I spoke to that poor customer service representative who was just trying to help me. This belief is tested in my unexplainable bouts of anger, in the stab of the pen that had left a scar on my desk, in the way I almost broke my computer from smashing the keyboard, in all the ways that I can not discount to the normal ways of getting by in life. I’ve always known that I was weak, but I believed that I was too strong to cry. Yet I was surprised when the tears that fell from my eyes the other day had felt foreign to my eyes but so familiar to my soul. I believe so many things about myself and the world, but a reminder seems to always slip in: I can’t be sure that I believe in anything.

I can dedicate the entire rest of my life looking at cells through a microscope, searching for a new discovery, yet I could never truly imagine that that is what I am made up of. I can study the clock, waiting for it to stop, waiting to experience the first ripple of time, yet I would know that I am wasting my time, growing old chasing a fantasy while my friends mindlessly celebrate their youth. I can pretend that free will does not exist, yet still agonize over choices not made, regret those that were, anticipate those that will be. I can believe that wisdom comes with old age, yet the only thing I would be noticing as my years fly by is the stiffness of my joints, the whiteness of my hair, the fogginess of my memory: the promise of truth forgotten. It’s like watching the procession of reality through a glass window: the possibilities and truths appear tantalizing, yet my mind cannot seem to reach out and embrace them. It can only watch and pretend to understand.

I think that there is a fundamental difference between beliefs and knowledge. Knowledge is a transient being: always susceptible to change, always ready to pushed into the back of one’s mind when a wave of reality comes crashing down out of nowhere, and so easy to shove into a neuron in our brain and then disregarded or forgotten. In this analogy, knowledge includes opinions as well, since it has the same amount of permanence in our minds as a fact does. Belief is a much more powerful being within us, if it’s even there at all. Defined as “an acceptance that a statement is true,” belief requires an immense devotion and no room for doubt. It’s the difference between knowing that humans are made up of atoms and 99% empty space as opposed to actually seeing yourself that way. It’s the difference between knowing that the sky is blue and being able to touch it. It’s the difference between seeing and feeling.

I doubt that humans can ever accept anything as an unquestionable truth; our brains just can’t embrace such an omnipresent commitment. Though we see ourselves as powerful and intelligent creatures, I think our brains are still wired toward survival, anything beyond our five senses are our fleeting attempts to use this thing called consciousness. Thoughts that seem to appear out of nowhere are treated as unwanted guests by the perfect and clean circuitry of our brains; they have no foundation to grow, so they quickly die.

So we remain, animals with embarrassingly short attention spans that will only ever get shorter with each passing generation. Our ancient survival instincts, trying to make sense of the flashing lights of the TV, become like scared children who have lost their parents in a crowd. We go against all primitive instinct to sell ourselves to giant machines. We surround ourselves with useless luxuries, further disassociating ourselves from our minds. We start to fade away. We become mindless animals. We will never be able to believe.


Originally posted on The Literati Mafia

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24 thoughts on “Humans Cannot Believe

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  1. I think you will always be aware of your wisdom – some people are just like that, who knows why? I expect that some things are unquestionable tho, or else we’d go mad, belief in things such as Love, both unconditional and unrequited. I agree though that some people can never lose themselves in mindless celebration as others appear to do – but then I question wether those people just appear to do so or really do? Some folks are more robust than others, but that doesn’t show they are any better or worse – oh! Wisdom! 😀 ❤

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    1. Wisdom is a very tricky thing to understand, much less try to figure out who has it and who does not. To me, understanding wisdom is like trying to build a jigsaw puzzle that is bigger than the table it is on- my mind just isn’t big enough. Same thing with other questions like love. I still like to think about those things, but I figured out a long time ago that trying to find an answer was useless. But marveling at these mysteries is still very interesting, keeps my brain working at all times.

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  2. Nothing is provable! The two main Chanel’s of description are mathematics and language and reality is neither. A tree is not made of inches and the sky is not a construction of words. Symbology is inadequate as proof because they are linear constructs attempting to address a nonlinear reality!

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    1. Exactly! I completely agree with you. But I have heard that not everything in mathematics is provable. Apparently not even addition and subtraction. We just use it because it’s logical. Though I may be wrong. And yes, trying to describe what we see around us somehow extends beyond academics and language. I think, since we will never really grasp what reality actually is, our thinking of it cannot be adequately expressed. Our view of the world is very, very narrow as well. Whatever reality is, it is some kind of mysterious beast that we will never be able to control.

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      1. Light is not emitted randomly because it is the exchange particle of the electromagnetic force. So when you go out tonight to look at a star that is one million light years distant tonight at eleven o’clock, this means that the photons emitted were determined to strike your eyeball tonight a million years before you were even born.The determination was made in nonlinear time but the travel of the light propagated through space in linear time.
        The universe is a nonlinear organic totality and not made up of parts as linear logic describes it.

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      2. So you’re saying that everything is predetermined? Wouldn’t that then make reality linear? I did, actually, have a chance to look up at the stars last night. I thought about how far away they were and how amazing it is that I, a tiny speck, on a planet so so far away, could actually see them. This is such an awesome and almost improbable event, but so is the rest of the universe. Time is a measurement to define the spaces between which events occur. Somehow, during the linear path of time, everything in the universe got together to the way it is right now. Its just so amazing how that happened. Humanity had marveled at that since its start. But that’s the pure essence of reality – nobody really knows how it happens. To say that it was all predetermined is just giving up.

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  3. I think we in the West make way too much of belief because our predominant religion tells us belief is the difference between eternal bliss and damnation. In fact, the Japanese seem to have a much healthier attitude towards belief than we do — tentatively holding them, if at all.

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    1. That’s really interesting. I’m probably very indoctrinated with the western way of thinking that anything outside of that seems strange and exotic when really it is standard in other parts of the word. I really should take a serious look at Eastern religions.

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      1. At university, I double minored in comparative religious studies and anthropology. As much as I could, I concentrated on Southern (India) and East Asian (mostly Japan and China) religions, history, and culture. It was an eye-opener in so many ways. Humans are so much alike, and yet, there are some very significant cultural differences, and many of them are where you’d least expect them to be — such as the importance of belief in different cultures.

        Oddly enough, one of the most helpful books I ever read on Japan was basically a how to deal with Japanese business people written for US business people! It was so useful because it got right down in the day to day attitudes and culture of Japan. So you can find good sources just about anywhere.

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  4. It’s not linear because organic systems cannot have a change not felt throughout. It might not be determinism if it’s in fact an example of retro causality. And time is the result of the determination for exchange being established in nonlinear time but the travel of the photon through space occurs in linear time. You always see objects in the past and we never see them in the future, and so energy is carried foreword in time.

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    1. Ok, to be completely honest, I don’t know much about physics (?) to understand what you just said to, but I will try my best. From what I understand, nonlinear time has to do with a level of existence that is not located only on one point on the line between past and future. But that just does not seem something that can actually exist. Its true that we see everything in the past, but that is pure biology. It depends only on the amount of time it takes for an impulse to travel from the neuron in our eyes to the neurons in our brain. Does this fact somehow predetermine that time does go forward?

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      1. Look up non linear time, it is a concept established over 100 years ago and even Einstein talked about it. In nonlinear time the past, present and future exists simultaneously. Linear time is only a subset of linear time the same way linear space is only a subset of nonlinear space. The master set of reality is nonlinear! 😳

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  5. And if we knew the outcome of the game of life, then yes there would be no point in going foreword….just like in a game of chess! But even if the universe is fully determined(which is likely) then not knowing how it will play out makes it worthwhile. But you can have whatever emotion about the idea that you like!

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    1. I think that even though the universe is predetermined, which I agree is very probable, we have to treat it as if it is not predetermined. Imagine if science got to the point where it was able to tell us that. Do you think anything would change? We might be more conscious of our actions, but will anything we do really change?

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      1. Is it better to be happy or to be happy knowing you are happy? The same choice is available for knowing determinism is likely true.
        You might want to look up the retro causality double slit experiments on YouTube! 😊

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