Archive for » March, 2014 «

I am what I believe

To what degree have my opinions and views been deliberately moulded to be what they are, by various interested parties that I did not even know were manipulating me?  I celebrate if the answer is that my core beliefs and values have not at all been subject to surreptitious manipulation by hidden forces. For then my opinions are ‘truly mine’.

It may in some ways be silly to consider my fondest beliefs truly mine. The manipulation of my values and views over the years, especially in early childhood, would have been such that nearly all of what I hold dear was probably planted long before I even realized that I have opinions. But this need not make them alien if I continue now to subscribe to them, even after careful scrutiny. What would be truly horrible is if my way of critically examining beliefs has also been warped through processes that I am not aware of.

If I believe that the principal goal in life should be to optimize the intensity, duration, quality and variety of sensory pleasures and pleasant moods, how far is this view mine – and not one planted by covert manipulators?  We don’t worry about such questions because these kinds of doubts rarely arise.  I unthinkingly recognize as my own, any belief that I accept without a second thought – wherever it may have originated.  Had I been indoctrinated from childhood that the principal goal in life is to please a creator who will provide an eternity of unimaginable sensory pleasures and exquisite moods, far surpassing what I can get here, this contrary view could instead have been sustained.  It would then have been experienced subjectively in the identical way: as truly my own belief.

Quite an unsatisfactory state of affairs, is this not?