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Aaron Moritz - Believe Nothing (but understand as much as you can)

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- How you coping, kid? - It's so weird. Just when I think I've a handle on things something wholly unbelievable presents itself. Sometimes I wish I'd just stayed [at] home. - You sound like the Man. - What is He like? - He likes to listen to people talk. Christ loved to sit around the fire and listen to me and the other guys. Ya'know whenever we´re going on about unimportant shit he always had a smile on his face. If there's only real beef with mankind, it's the shit that gets carried out in his name: wars, bigotry, televangelism. The big one though, is the fractioning of all the religions. He said mankind got it all wrong by taking a good idea and building a belief structure on it. - You´re saying having beliefs is a bad thing? - I just think it's better to have ideas. I mean, you can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. People die for it. People kill for it. [voice echoing] People kill for it. (DC) So? (Narrator) Don’t believe what’s in the papers. Don’t believe what’s on TV. Don’t believe what’s on the internet. Don’t believe activists. Don’t believe special interest groups. Don’t believe corporations. Don’t believe scientists. Don’t believe priests. Don’t believe your friends. Don’t believe banks. Don’t believe me. Don’t even believe your own senses. "You're saying having beliefs is a bad thing?" There is no way to know the truth about anything for sure, ever. So instead of wasting time choosing and believing this or that, believe nothing, but understand as much as you can. Understandings are only approximations. They are ever-changing and evolving. New facts and new informations can sometimes turn your understandings over on their head. If you are wrong about something and you get corrected you don’t have to feel stupid or ignorant for ‘believing’ something that was wrong, instead you can rejoice at your new knowledge and updated understandings. Understandings have no emotional attachment and therefore allow us to align ourselves with new realities as soon as they become evident, freeing us from the lag time and emotional upheaval involved in deconstructing a deeply held belief. To say that we 'understand' something is likely true, rather than saying we ‘believe’ it, places us into a new paradigm where the false dichotomy of ‘true’ and ‘not true’ is not recognized. Because the real essence of what I’m promoting here is the removal of absolutist thinking. The end of black and white, of good and evil, of true and false. These ideas are useful sometimes for a discussion but ultimately lead to confusion because they don’t have any real-life substance. Not a single person or a single thing is all good or completely bad, it’s all shades of grey. So when presented with an idea the question is not "Is this idea true?", it’s "How much information do we have to support this idea right now?" The more information we have, the more confident we can be that this idea is true. Thinking like this, truth then becomes a never-quite-attainable, quite imaginary abstraction. It’s like infinity: You can keep counting and you’ll keep getting further ahead but you’ll never reach infinity. The best thing that we can do is continuously approximate the truth with ever growing certainty, but realizing that certainty in and of itself is also an unattainable abstraction. That doesn't mean that we can't get close, there are many things that we can be nearly certain of, but we can’t be afraid of questioning everything, from our most superficial, to our most basic assumptions, if we want to keep making progress. We must also keep in mind that valid questioning can never come from belief, but only from reasoned evidence, resulting in an updated understanding. "I just think it's better to have ideas. I mean, you can change an idea." I'm gonna make that my motto or mantra or something. So understand what’s in the news, understand who writes the news and why they write the news and who they write it for. Understand what your friends say, and try to understand where they might have gotten that information from. And what biases they might be projecting on to that information. Understand that activists usually have very good intentions and are often saying something important, but understand their passion and the fact that passions can sometimes lead people astray including lying for their causes. Same thing for priests and politicians. Understand that you can find supporting evidence for almost any position you want, if you look for it. And our greatest tool for weighting the value and accuracy of any evidence, of approximating certainty with understandings, is science. But understand that scientists are human and they are not infallible and they are often wrong. Especially when financial interests pressure researchers to find the results they want, and research is severely limited in any field from which a profit cannot be made, or a field that may infringe on someone elses profit. Understand that our senses and memories can play tricks on us and others, and our minds tend to mold our perceptions of experiences to previously held notions, without us even realising it. Maybe you disagree, maybe you have different understandings. That's good, that's fine. Just don't believe any of them. But some wonder that without belief, can these changing understandings be ‘good’ enough to direct us in our behavior? If I don’t believe that killing someone is wrong, they wonder, why don’t I just go out and have a blast slaughtering as many people as I can? Well, it´s because I value human life. And this is a value I have cultivated based on the understanding that I am a human life, and I understand and see and feel the beauty of other human lives. I see myself in them, and to do them harm is to harm myself, is to harm everyone. No need to believe anything to see that. At least that’s how I understand it. I also understand that the less harm there is going around, the better off we will all be. So yeah, I think understandings can actually offer a much more concrete direction for our species, because as with any new frontier, you must draw the map as you discover the landscape. Only a fool believes that he knows what is past the next mountain before he’s crossed it. Another thing that I have come to understand is: (George Carlin) If it’s true that we’re all from the center of a star, every atom in each of us from the center of a star, then we’re all the same thing. Even a coke machine or a cigarette butt in the street in Buffalo was made out of atoms that came from a star. They’ve all been recycled thousands of times as have you and I. And therefore, it’s only me out there, so what is there to be afraid of? What is there that needs solace-seeking? Nothing. There’s nothing to be afraid of, because it’s all us. The trouble is, we have been separated by being born and given a name and an identity and being individuated. We've been separated from the oneness, and that’s what religion exploit, that people have this yearning to be part of the overall one again. So they exploit that. They call it God. They say he has rules, and I think it’s cruel. I think you can do it absent religion. (Carl Sagan) Shouldn't we consider in every nation major changes in the traditional ways of doing things, a fundamental restructuring of economic, political, social and religious institutions? We've reached the point where there can be no more special interests or special cases. Fundamental changes in society are sometimes labeled impractical or contrary to human nature. As if nuclear war were practical or as if there's only one human nature. But fundamental changes can clearly be made; we're surrounded by them. The old appeals to racial, sexual, religious chauvinism and to rabid nationalist fervour are beginning not to work. A new consciousness is developing which sees the Earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet. One of the great revelations of the age of space exploration is the image of the Earth finite and lonely, somehow vulnerable, bearing the entire human species through the oceans of space and time. (Narrator) Understanding that we depend on our environment, our planet and each other for survival, and also understanding that our approximations of reality are likely to keep on their path of continual evolution have currently lead me to the conclusion to support The Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project. These two aspects that have just been described are central to the movements' tenants. And I suggest anyone who got anything out of this video or enjoyed it in any way; go and check out these ideas with an open mind and come to your own understandings. "Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being." -Mahatma Gandhi

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 21 seconds
Year: 2010
Country: Canada
Language: English
Producer: Infinit Yes Productions
Director: Infinit Yes Productions
Views: 135
Posted by: ltiofficial on Mar 1, 2014

Reality is ever-changing, and so too should our notions of reality be ever-changing.

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