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Philosophy

Belief

We think and act as though the things we believe are reliable and unproblematically grounded upon an objective truth. This is a falsehood because all assertions, all references and all concepts – being defined in terms of other definitions and so in tautological circularity – are only ever the interior and half-mirrored surface of our own words and concepts staring back at, through and as us.

Subsequently, we find ourselves adrift and falling in a vast and hyper-inflating combinatorial complexity without center and without periphery. The rich cognitive, cultural and communications system complexity we experience generally provides us with arbitrarily-chosen starting points, axioms and assumptions but in such a vast and amorphous system of effective self-reference, any place is as good as any other to begin building a world or belief system. The freedom invoked here is quite positively stifling and so many of us – as much by choice as by adoption of existing orthodoxies – are naturally oriented towards choosing the path (or cognitive bias) of least resistance or least energy. This is both how and why people are on the whole predisposed to psychologically, culturally and ideologically gravitate towards existing concepts – they are not necessarily better but the fact that they do not need to be remade or that new ideas are more work than merely accepting old ones leads us all into a spiral of introspective stagnation and a meaningless subservience to authority figures that generally only did precisely the same, intellectually lazy, thing themselves.

Of course, from inside the essentially fictional belief system, everything can be explained, eventually, and as a consequence, whatever objective or external reality might actually exist as uncontrolled (or uncontrollable) “otherness” can be assimilated and rendered as subservient to the belief system. In this way people can convince themselves (and each other) of pretty much anything, allowing for the plausible truth of a dictum that anything repeated often enough becomes true. Notice also that it is precisely the insecurity and insufficient justification for any particular belief that leads it to be rote-learned and asserted as fact of oppression or conflict-oriented self-determination that then incurs just enough antithetical difference to reinforce the assertion of validity (by an act of deception) of the belief system. This foundational need for systems of thought and belief to assert themselves against an opponent leads us all into endless conflicts that do little more, in the long run, than regenerate themselves as the primary transmission medium for the insecurity (of belief) that recursively produces the conflict(s).

With a little reflection it is possible to perceive how this general model represents a system of holistic self-containment. It is not the only instance of such a general principle but serves quite well as a starting point when engaging with the sheer immensity of combinatorial complexity and systems interdependence that exists in and as the world. Belief may be necessary and as an irreducible component and element of the teleologically-reflexive language we inhabit is something we can probably not ever fully resolve in any constructive or enduring manner. We find ourselves quite unwittingly bound in free-fall as self-gravitating orbit around a fictional narrative that we can never resolve or prove and that also defines a primary difference and distance that we have no desire or need to resolve because to do so would be to cease to exist. In this way, our own existence is anchored upon non-existence in ways we can neither fully acknowledge or understand as failure to comprehend this fact is a precondition of our ability to believe or think anything at all, including a belief in our own substantive individual and individuated existence.

What is particularly interesting about all this is that the singularly paradoxical property of self-containment is a globally distributed property of complex systems. The self-contained discontinuity by and through which difference occurs is also the unifying principle. There is no outside of any system holistically-considered as a unified whole and for this reason that which even notionally exists in some sense beyond the system is also embedded deeply within and as that system. This is also why the unknown metaphysical of nothingness is indistinguishable (and for this – arguably identical) to the indefinitely-extensible recursive introspection of logical incompleteness. We are and will forever remain an unprovable truth and our belief systems are really just a reflection of this enigmatic fact.

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