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Unquestioned Beliefs


Belief system Thinking and saying the same things, over and over again, creates beliefs. These beliefs, with passage of time, become ‘absolute’ truths. Yet these beliefs, in essence, are only unquestioned opinions. No belief is set in stone.

As a case in point, the term ‘coloured’ was officially defined by the South African government, from 1950 to 1991, to indicate a race of people who were non-white. The term ‘coloured’ thus came to be an accepted designation for dark skinned people, in other parts of the world as well.

Was this belief system ever questioned ? No …….. until , this poem, written by an African boy, was nominated as the UN poem for 2008.

When I born, I black.
When I grow up ,I black.
When I go in Sun, I black.
When I scared, I black.
When I sick, I black.
And when I die, Im still black.

And u white fella,
When u born, u pink.
When u grow up, u white.
When u go in sun, u red.
When u cold, u blue.
When u scared, u yellow.
When u sick, u green.
And when u die, u gray.

And u calling ME coloured ????

Bottomline : As humans we have a great capacity of rigidly sticking to beliefs. For thousands of years, we believed that the world was flat, until someone convinced us otherwise. What about our present beliefs …. That religion is ….. Women ought to …… People of that country are ….. As a parent my duty is …… It would therefore be prudent to pick up any random assumption and ask : Where has this assumption come from? What would happen if I let go of this old way of thinking? To conclude, an old adage comes to mind :

Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
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Philosophy Bank starts 2013 by bringing to you the most popular posts of 2012. The post above was one of them.

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About Neil & Nalin Gadihoke

A 'sea horse' . Having spent two decades in the Indian Navy .... the unending water expanse, its immense depth, the salt, the spray and the occasional sea gull ....ideal conditions that softened and moulded my military mind to the solace accorded by philosophy. More importantly, like you, I am also a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a neighbour , an employee ..... and many other roles that have been assigned by the Master Philosopher up there. And of course, my son, Nalin Gadihoke , an enthusiast on issues Philosophy, is the manager, keeper and volunteer..... for running this blog.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “Unquestioned Beliefs

  1. Does “tradition” precede “belief” or vice versa ?

    Posted by Col Arun Joshi (Veteran) | January 13, 2013, 7:45 pm
  2. Very aptly put Neil. I believe (ironically) the thing that needs to be fixed is the education system that would teach us to question and not merely accept what is. As humans if we don’t question, we will soon be dodos.

    Posted by Kapil | January 13, 2013, 9:00 pm
  3. Beliefs are not fotmed in a vaccuum. For all intenence and purposes the world was flat to the inhabitants
    of the world at one time.They had no reason or method of proving differently. The little black boy at some point in history thought all people were, black. In fact life is a steady flow of new revelation or should be. Our beliefs are formed in a “context” that provides boundaries for our present level of understanding in order to assimilate the truth of our environment at the time ie context. Without the invention of a ship and compass, the new belief would have been delayed even longer. With the means of travel black people were introduced to whites, again the context being significant. The social structures and beliefs of the white society , in a context of societal classes , placed a
    horrendous burden on the black people. In the class structure of the white where rich class are of better breeding
    and poor class are to be used the black poor were considered less than human, a belief accepted by many. The context of these beliefs awaited the arrival of the brave non-conformists , venturing outside the context of the present day to construct a better context for the for the discovered belief.
    The core of this process is the innate longing for mans desire to be complete, , realized and fulfilled. The truth / belief will generally inform the seeker of more truth that will form another context and the cycle of development is set in motion again. However mans limitations are unknown but they do exist . He is limited if for no other reason that he is finite and not infinite He is limited by his nature and context which are in constant struggle. The remedy for tis conflict is intervention of a Higher Nature to which we believe because our context warrants its nessecity.

    Posted by James V Heene | January 16, 2013, 11:41 pm

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