Types of beliefs

 

Beliefs are all the same in their dynamics. At the same time, there are different types of beliefs.

We have peripheral and central beliefs, mild and strong beliefs, and also disputable and apparently indisputable beliefs.

And we can find these in just about any combination.

The peripheral and central beliefs are peripheral or central to my identity. Brad Pitt lives in France is a relatively mild belief, and I can easily adjust when I hear he moved to New Orleans. I am liberal or a man is more central to my identity in the world.

The mild beliefs are often also peripheral. And strong beliefs are often also central beliefs, but not necessarily. As I start to question and inquire into my strong and central beliefs, they may still remain central to my identity in the world, but also held much more lightly. They may even be recognized as simply stories helping me navigate in the world. Sometimes helpful, sometimes not.

Some beliefs are disputable. If they are also mild, it may make for interesting conversation. If they are strong, I’ll try to defend them and it may even seem like a life-and-death matter.

Other beliefs are apparently indisputable, so obviously true that it may even seem amusing if anyone suggests I take a closer look. I am a man. Of a certain nationality. Of a certain age. A human being. An object in the world. My culture, and probably most or all cultures, say these are true, so I take them as obviously true.

There is also a belief that creates beliefs. It is the belief that stories can be true, and some are. It simply says “this story is true”. (This one is obviously applied to itself as well.)

And there is a core belief: what I really am, is this “I”. An object in the world. This one can be fleshed out as an observer, or a doer. And further fleshed out with a “me” as this human in the world with identities and roles.

All of these are stories. They become beliefs through the “belief-creating” belief saying “this story is true”. They can be held as strong beliefs, or more lightly. And they can even be recognized clearly as just a story. A story that may be very helpful in a pragmatic sense, allowing us to orient and function in the world, and yet nothing more than that.

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  • types of beliefs
    • peripheral – core, mild – strong
    • a belief belief – that story is true (a belief creating a belief)
    • core belief – what I really am is this separate “I”

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We have peripheral beliefs which are stories that we only mildly take as true, and it is not so important to us whether they are right or not. Brad Pitt lives in France. No, he moved to New Orleans. Well, that’s OK.

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  • types of beliefs
    • three dimensions
      • strong – mild
        • strongly believe or mildly believe
      • central – peripheral
        • central to my identity, or peripheral
      • disputable – indisputable
        • up for debate, or apparently indisputable

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draft….

Beliefs are all the same in their dynamics. At the same time, there are different types of beliefs.

We have peripheral and central beliefs, mild and strong beliefs, and also disputable and apparently indisputable beliefs.

I have peripheral beliefs, which are usually stories that I only mildly take as true. It is not so important to me whether they are right or not. Brad Pitt lives in France. No, he moved to New Orleans. Well, that’s OK.

I have strong and disputable beliefs. Since they strong and up for debate, I try to defend them, and they may even seem like life-and-death matters. People should be treated fairly. People shouldn’t lie. Bush is an idiot. I am not stupid.

I have central beliefs about religion, politics, my identity, and other things important to how I experience the world and myself. These are often strong beliefs, but they don’t have to be. As I inquire into my central beliefs, they may milden. They may even be stripped of belief entirely and just be a story to help me navigate in the world. Sometimes useful, sometimes not.

I have apparently indisputable beliefs. I am a man. I am of a certain nationality. I have a certain age. I am human. I am an object in the world. I am an “I”.  Since these are taken for granted in our culture, and in most or all cultures, it seems silly or useless to question them. If someone does, I’ll probably just find it amusing.

I have a belief-creating belief, which says that stories can be true and some are. It says “this story is true”.  (This one is obviously applied to itself as well.)

And I have a core belief, which is that what I really am is an “I”, an object in the world. An “I” that is an observer and/or a doer.

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