Believe and Disbelieve Nothing

This is for you.

Note: this is an overview of a complete, coherent philosophical discipline that is comprised of many parts and has been developed over many years. The claims made here may seem general and vague without further examination. Though I know I can’t concisely boil it all down to a few passages, the point of this is to attempt to cover as much as possible, at least enough to provide a functioning framework of the discipline so that others can benefit from it, or at least understand it.

The ultimate aim of what I’ve come to call the “Believe and Disbelieve Nothing” philosophy is to alter the language of our thinking in order to overcome certain problems that humanity has suffered with throughout recorded history. While some might say these are problems of “Human Nature”, it is the claim here that the bulk of unnecessary human suffering, social division and stagnation of personal growth, is actually a collective set of philosophical and psycho-social problems that can be solved through the proposed set of changes to how we handle information and how we think about the world and one another.

It’s obvious that a great deal of unnecessary suffering in this world, both individual and interpersonal, comes as a consequence of erroneous thinking, whether it be a person incorrectly judging someone else and not being able to communicate with them as a result, or a “group of people” dehumanising and waging war on another group for some grand political purpose.

Traditionally, here in the West, we’ve been raised to channel our efforts into the institution of politics when it comes to attempting to solve the social problems, and into the institution of religion when it comes to the personal. These institutions, and all the conceptual reasoning they rely on, have been at the foundation of our social development since the beginning of recorded human history.

And now, as the world emerges into new and uncharted social conditions, it is becoming clear that the traditional dominant institutions are no longer adequate for their stated social purposes. Also, as individuals try to navigate this new world, many are running into personal problems where their thinking is concerned, and interpersonal problems where their communication is concerned. Of course, all these factors are somehow connected.

When it comes to our outdated social institutions, we are running increasing risk of global catastrophe by not outgrowing the assumption that they are there for our benefit, and re-examining them to gauge their current social relevance. First and foremost, they are there for their own self-preservation, and the more obsolete they become, the more dangerous lengths they are likely to go to in order to remain relevant and influential. This is further intensified with current and emerging future technology, which empowers “the establishment” to silence, to ruin, and to end lives at the click of a button.

“Our political leaders are not put there to change things. They’re put there to keep things the way they are.” – Jacque Fresco

And when it comes to the personal and interpersonal, we bear heavy responsibilities and decisions to make in terms of how we want to relate to the world and to all other people around us. These decisions, and even the lens through which we inspect all relevant factors, are constantly blurred and derailed by institutions that try to prevent us from thinking for ourselves and arriving at our own decisions in order to preserve their dominance. As a consequence of this, people are being systematically fed closed-source, uncritical, tribalistic worldviews which were a natural outgrowth of, and a means to survival in, an old, divided world.

The claim is that, as times have moved on, these institutions and all the social conditioning they rely on, have become a hindrance to our growth and maturation as a species, and there’s an endless stream of evidence out there to let us know that it has become impractical to cling to them, especially when we take into account the damage they cause within individuals.

The lifelong social conditioning they impose on people cages them in with chains so strong that it usually takes a lot of pain, un-learning and re-learning to break through them, especially if they are going through it alone. Unfortunately, given that the nature of this conditioning is based in the same language of thinking that our dominant institutions are, many people are unable to break free from it as all proposed solutions are also contained within this language. Some people will have what they consider to be a kind of awakening, but which is really simple induction to a different ideology; absorption of the rhetoric necessary to pick a side. For example; many will have their awakening, and the only consequence will be joining or declaring support for some political party or another, not realising that this is an established ancient trick of closing the mind and ensuring participation in perpetuating the establishment.

The same conditioning also leads people to a whole host of personal issues when it comes to their thinking, which in turn leads to more issues related to how they see this world; ie. anxiety, depression, thinking addiction, clinging to ideas and identities, etc. These factors can make it incredibly difficult for people to communicate, and all-too-easy for them to separate themselves based on arbitrary surface-level or ideological classifications and to build echo chambers on top of them.

“Most of our so-called research and reasoning merely consists of us finding arguments to go on believing as we already do.” – James Harvey Robinson

The philosophy that will be presented here is an attempt at solving these social issues, and some others which I will explore in the coming pages, and encouraging individuals to understand their way to solutions of their own. On an individual level, it’s a philosophical discipline offering a new language of thinking that’s useful for dealing with information and communication with others. On a social level, it’s a foundational guide for the conscious, deliberate development of a new type of society, and I suspect it would stand a much greater chance of achieving its stated goals than the still-dominant institutions of the old world.

It’s not a specific worldview, ideology or belief system that is being offered. It’s an open-source, unifying discipline; a guiding mentality, which not only doesn’t discourage people from exploring certain thoughts or questions, but actively encourages it. Open-source means that the ‘source-code’ of this philosophy is open for inspection and improvement by anyone, and that nothing is hidden in between the lines that anyone would need to gatekeep for reasons of power or personal gain. In fact, it’s part of the intention of this discipline to see to it that any such gatekeeping is no longer possible in our world.

Its stated goals:

  • To empower people to think wisely and deliberately, so that their thinking is an empowering tool for them to use, rather than them becoming a product of their thinking.
  • To recognise that insight and wisdom are not static/unchanging, and as such, trying to think our way to truth based on old knowledge is impossible, and that belief systems, opinion and ideology are not only blinding to us due to the outdated language of thinking they inhabit, but that they also leave us open to division and manipulation.
  • To unify humanity through education that will inevitably break down all divisive ideology.
  • To reach a place where we can consciously develop a new society, more in-balance with nature and better-aligned with current scientific understanding, without the need for further bloodshed.

All of this will be explored in the coming pages.


Notes:

- I don’t have a name for this philosophical discipline, or whatever it can be called. There might already be a name for something exactly like this. I haven’t found any, though, and in the interest of not getting lost in “ism”s, I’ll stick with the tagline “Believe and Disbelieve Nothing.”

- I owe endless gratitude and respect to the late historian James Harvey Robinson for motivating this attempt at encapsulating this philosophy. What better way to show my gratitude than to rip some words right out of the introduction of his book Mind in the Making (first printed in 1912):

“If some magical transformation could be produced in people’s ways of looking at themselves and their fellows, no inconsiderable part of the evils which now afflict society would vanish away or remedy themselves automatically. If the majority of influential persons held the opinions and occupied the point of view that a few rather uninfluential people now do, there would, for instance, be no likelihood of another great war; the whole problem of “labor and capital” would be transformed and attenuated; national arrogance, race animosity, political corruption, and inefficiency would all be reduced below the danger point. As an old Stoic proverb has it, people are mostly tormented by the ways they think of of things, rather than by the things themselves. This is eminently true of many of our worst problems today. We have available knowledge and ingenuity and material resources to make a far fairer world than that in which we find ourselves, but various obstacles prevent our intelligently availing ourselves of them.

When we contemplate the shocking derangement of human affairs which now prevails in most civilized countries, including our own, even the best minds are puzzled and uncertain in their attempts to grasp the situation. The world seems to demand a moral and economic regeneration which is dangerous to postpone, but as yet impossible to imagine, let alone direct. We have unprecedented conditions to deal with and novel adjustments to make – there can be no doubt of that. We also have a great stock of scientific knowledge unknown to our grandfathers with which to operate. So novel are the conditions, so copious the knowledge, that we must undertake the arduous task of reconsidering a great part of the opinions about Man and his relations to his fellow-men which have been handed down to us by previous generations who lived in far other conditions and possessed far less information about the world and themselves.“

The book is short and worth the few hours it’ll take to devour it. Download it here for free.

He wrote this:

“The world seems to demand a moral and economic regeneration which is dangerous to postpone, but as yet impossible to imagine...”

Challenge accepted.


Next: Thought and Thinking

Ever since learning some things about the relationship between language and thinking, and how they seem to have developed alongside one another and in relation, I've been wondering about what human beings were like before that; before we were able to actively think, to make connections, to form complex abstractions. Our savage mind.

We would have been more like animals than we imagine, able to passively have thoughts, but not quite able to deliberately think. Able to dream but not ever being able to become lucid enough to make a calculated decision. Having passive thought responses, but generating no abstract thinking of our own volition.

With the philosophical discipline being presented here, seeing the action of thinking and the neurological function of Thought itself as separate yet related processes, with distinctively different characteristics, is a practical and necessary observation to make. Thoughts being something you have, thinking being something you do. The action of thinking might be dependent on our ability to have thoughts, but the function of us having thoughts doesn't depend on our ability to actively think. Passive thought came first, and set the foundation.

Read more...

“When people are sincere in their beliefs, they come to a point where they have to abandon them in the quest for truth.”

Given that the conditions of our world change faster than any one person’s thinking can capture them, with all the education and insight necessary to make that a legitimate capture, forming our societies on what people like to believe – as opposed to what can be understood – is doomed to lead us to personal stagnation and insecurity, culture lag, the gatekeeping of truth, social stratification, the fragmentation of the species, and a whole host of social conditions that go some ways to ensure a great deal of unnecessary suffering.

Belief may have been necessary to navigate through a world with only basic understanding of processes enough for survival and on to hunting and gathering, but the world of today is not the same as the ancient world that the language of belief comes out of.

Read more...

“In speaking of the “savage” or “primitive mind”, we are, of course, using a very clumsy expression. We shall employ the term, nevertheless, to indicate the characteristics of the human mind when there was as yet no writing, no organized industry or mechanical arts, no money, no important specialization of function except between the sexes, no settled life in large communities.” – James Harvey Robinson, Mind in the Making, Chapter 7: Our Savage Mind

We’ve come a long way from what Robinson calls Our Savage Mind – and even if no Savage Mind could actually be found anywhere in history, we’ve come a long way from what we once were. Gone are the days of having nothing but our impressions of this world to interpret through. Over time and with great struggle, we’ve developed tools and methods of experimentation that give us deeper, more detailed insight into our world and one another.

Despite the slowly-dying cultural meme that “Science” is cold methodology that detaches people from their sense of humanity, turning them into academic robots of some sort, there is no method nor ideology on the planet that has shed more light onto how human beings are so deeply interconnected with this world and all the rest of the life on it.

Read more...

Though humanity still faces many challenges, we’ve come a long way from the ill-equipped, near-blind people we once were, and it was a rough, dirty and brutal journey. But for all of that historical and present suffering, we’ve gained a great deal in the way of natural insights and scientific understanding.

Obviously, it doesn’t stop there. This digital age of information is still relatively new, and the new generations now are the first generations to be born into it, never knowing, for example, a world before streaming media or the internet as a whole. Many aspects of people’s lives have been improved and made a lot more enjoyable thanks to the creative and technological endeavours of others; instant communication at the click of a button, being able to shop online for things we need, or being able to share our creativity or things we find interesting with wide audiences of people, whereas contributions from people of past generations will have faded into obscurity because this kind of thing wasn’t available. But with these revolutionary technological changes come a whole new set of challenges for humanity as a whole.

Quite often, people blame certain technologies or services for corrupting humanity in some way, when in reality it’s the business models that govern those services that are largely at fault. Social media proves its technical value to us every time we send a message to someone we need to communicate with, but it is the corrupted business models of some of the companies operating these platforms that produce unwanted human interference. Everything from censorship to performing secret experiments on large numbers of people, provoking their emotions to see what increases engagement time and then algorithmically pushing that, etc.

Read more...

Two of the most restrictive myths about humanity is that we must extract our standards and moral codes from either the religious or the political institutions – the assumption being that, without a government, god, or master of some other description, individuals will become amoral and there will be chaos in the streets.

Anarchy, for example, has come to be synonymous with chaos, civil unrest, buildings burning down, etc. In fact, Anarchism was originally a concept based on self-governing communities and the absence of political rulers. Nothing to do with destruction. These two definitions are obviously at odds with each other.

The same is true for Stoic philosophy. While originally, the Stoics were intent on agreeing to work with the suffering in life in order to face it and overcome it, the new definition of Stoicism that many uncritical thinkers now accept is that it is some kind of rejection of emotion and reality as a whole.

Clearly, this redefining of the words has the convenient consequence of making these concepts instantly dismissible.

The basic claim here is that there is no species more malleable and adaptable than the human being, and we can extract or develop standards and moral codes from many places – and even none at all. Our adaptability is a double-edged sword, capable of seeing us through our personal and social struggles, but also capable of having us adapt so deeply into the prisons of our own creation that we are no longer able to see the bars. First and foremost, we suffer with this as individuals, in our minds and in our behaviour.

The ultimate claim is that, if we encourage the conditions for individuals to assimilate a practical morality guided by a new philosophical discipline and a new language of thinking, then those conditions can be met with relative ease. And so long as people at least expect the internal resistance and cognitive dissonance that will probably occur when trying to shed the old ways of thinking, then it stands less of a chance of preventing them.

One socially unexpected source of morality is the ever-insightful Scientific Method. This, combined with a coupling of overlooked, forgotten ancient philosophical wisdom and verifiable technical knowledge of today, can provide a solid, completely human foundation for new kind of moral code, one that is confident in its positions and aware of its relationships and interconnections, but also one that is self-empowered and humble enough to change in an instant in light of new/conflicting information.

Not a top-down, micro-managed, superimposed, politically-correct nightmare, but a grassroots shift that starts with the individual and, if cultivated, will be able to support unified future societies who are able to relate a lot more effectively with everything and everyone around them.

No reinforced reliance on division. No further fragmentation of humanity. No ego issues that people aren’t willing to face head-on. No vested interests in keeping things as they are or gatekeeping truth and insight. These goals can not be achieved by our dominant ideological institutions, as it goes against their self-defining, self-preserving, divisive nature.

This guiding mentality, infinitely ‘better’ than the absolute claims, myths and mantras of the past, is intended to lead to the development of moral and intellectual structures that individuals arrive at because they actually make sense to them in relation to everything else – not because they’ve been pushed through doctrine, policy and fear, and not because one thought confirms another.

Practical morality can not be fear-based, such as the traditional institutions offer at the bottom of all their claims and power. Practical, meaning that this morality, as with everything presented in this philosophical discipline, needs to be extracted from non-ideological and non-fear-based institutions, and instead developed as a self-empowering and socially-unifying force.

“If the majority of influential persons held the opinions and occupied the point of view that a few rather uninfluential people now do, there would, for instance, be no likelihood of another great war; the whole problem of “labor and capital” would be transformed and attenuated; national arrogance, race animosity, political corruption, and inefficiency would all be reduced below the danger point.” – James Harvey Robinson – Mind in the Making

The goal is to realise a more self-aware, free-flowing yet methodical framework for individuals and whole societies to build on, and one that is more realistically likely to produce the improvements in standards of living, and the freedom, unity and prosperity, that our traditional institutions have highjacked in order to preserve their power.

This is a difficult enough task for each person to recognise within themselves, but with the application of this method to early education, younger generations are more likely to thrive under the new guiding mentality than they were under the divisive, creativity-crushing indoctrination of past institutions.


Note: it is not the claim here that there is any kind of ideal morality, or that individuals need to take on certain specific moral codes. Nor is it the claim that individuals and future societies need to become hypermoralistic. The intent is to provide a foundation on which new moral codes can be developed, relatively free from the interference of the old institutions and the mind-closing tendencies of the old ways of thinking.


Next: Resistance and Civil Disobedience Previous: Creativity and Technology

Social resistance and civil disobedience is fully encouraged and potentially required by this philosophical discipline, first and foremost through education, but always keeping in mind that the central point is to transcend failed institutions and outdated social and psychological customs.

The claim is that, when it comes to solving social problems, the entire institution of politics is a failed social experiment, built on outdated and otherwise faulty human abstraction. This is no right-wing, left-wing argument. No politician, no matter how moral or capable, will bring about the kind of change required to overcome our most pressing problems as a species. Not only do they not have the global influence that would be required for that kind of task in the modern age, but it would more than likely require the complete eradication of the political establishment itself.

Political protest alone is inadequate as the goal is to seek solutions through policy changes or institutional reform. Any perceived solutions to problems that can be gained that way are far outweighed by the damage caused by clinging to such a divisive, corrupt system. The claim is that our real challenges are not matters of policy, but matters of philosophy, culture and communication.


Next: Contact, Links, Thanks Previous: Future Thinking and Morality

Note: read.write.as seems to only show 5 posts at a time. That means, if you’re coming from there, you might have missed the first few posts. They’re central to the Believe and Disbelieve Nothing philosophy. If you’re interested, you can find them on the front page.

Click here for the front page.

Also feel free to get in touch. I like discussing all this stuff. E-mail: aden21 AT pm.me Telegram Messenger


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Endless respect and appreciation to James Harvey Robinson, Alfred Korzybski, Jacque Fresco, Stuart Chase, S. I. Hayakawa, Peter Joseph, J. Samuel Bois, U.G. Krishnamurti, and others who will be listed on the next edit.