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No Matter Who You Are, the Numbers Are Against You..
"There are over 6 billion people in the world, and it's a good bet that at least 4 billion of them hold beliefs that you find funny, shocking, repellent or bloody dangerous."
Why do all these people believe all this ridiculous stuff?
Mostly because it's been handed to them along with their first solid food and they've never been moved to question it: especially since their first and strictest lesson was probably not to question it..
But where did it come from; all this obvious error and fairy tale mythology?
In a sense, it's hard-wired in. We don't have all the answers, and we have to have answers.
We are a notably curious creature. Like many of our fellow-mammals we seem to be programmed to nose about in our environment, in search of whatever: opportunity? hidden peril? pure novelty?
Having more complicated nosing equipment than our relatives, we can explore not only in physical ways but on intellectual levels not available to them. And we need to come up with more complex - and more complete - discoveries.
Because our brains are capable of symbolism and abstraction, and because we have no way of knowing precisely where the "real" and the "concrete" end and symbolism and abstraction begin, we often become confused about the distinctions.
Add to this the reassuring satisfaction of being consciously able to understand a great many things; versus the paralyzing frustration of not understanding a great many more!
Voila! Most of us are going to be misled about a good deal of reality, and strongly motivated to make up plausible scenarios to plug the great gaps in our understanding.
It is very hard to admit that we do not know; especially the answers to important questions like "Where does our consciousness go when we die?"
And it is very easy to feel that, because we can answer some important questions, we ought to be able to answer all of them; even some of the ones that don't have answers. (See the immediately preceding paragraph.)
Because we can't help running into the fact that we don't have all the answers, it is necessary for our peace of mind to believe that, nevertheless, somebody does.
Unfortunately, there is always somebody only too willing to fill that role for us, whether he, she or they actually know shit from Shinola.
They are convinced that they do and their certainty is preferable, for most of us, to the doubt and confusion that our own imperfect quests would saddle us with.
We are seduced by other people's convictions, and so we believe.
The probability of nonsense is nearly infinite, following the track of human imagination, which is limitless.
You doubt me?
Near the turn of the Millennium a couple of dozen bright, over-educated, under-experienced American techies committed squalid suicide together because their guru had convinced them they were going to hitch a ride on a space ship in the tail of a comet. ?? !!