Beliefs

It’s becoming more apparent to me that stating what you believe is hard. It’s difficult to draw lines in the sand about where you stand on various subjects, because as humans we are generally very bad at disagreement.

So, I’ve decided to be more open and direct about some of my beliefs about the world, as an exercise for myself.

Belief about belief

Before I talk about my beliefs, I want to lay out what a belief is to me.

  • A non-verifiable belief is an opinion.
  • Opinions that shape a worldview are constructed from an ethereal thing called faith.
  • A belief backed up by multiple experiences is a theory.
  • A provable belief is a fact.
  • Beliefs should be subject to change, but having no belief is practically as dangerous as having an ill-informed one.
  • Beliefs that aren’t acted on are words.

Core beliefs

  • I believe in a creation-based theory of the universe, focused entirely on the Christ figure. I identify myself as a Christian, but am equally reticent to align with much of the modern Christian movement. (Reasons are better discussed in person.)
  • I believe in treating people as well as I would treat myself.
  • I believe that ego is one of the strongest prevailing forces that keep us from becoming our best selves; this is at an individual level, and at an institutional level.
  • I believe that evolution is a designed set of principles and mechanisms, and that it is not at opposition with a theory of creation.
  • Faith and optimism are not at odds with evidence and realism.

Beliefs about work

  • In an optimum state, we would all work separately and fluidly collaborate when it’s in humanity’s best interest. Alas, people are terrible at having the best interests of others at heart, and are unfortunately more motivated by capital.
  • Capital isn’t a bad thing on it’s own, but people are naturally inclined to maximize capital and excuse the means they use to do so.
  • “Work” has an undeserved negative connotation; Our healthiest self is found when we have a thing to put our minds to, alternating short periods of rest and recovery with focused diligence.
  • Gut is a powerful weapon, and too often we accidentally kill ourselves with it.
  • Luck, fortune, destiny, and randomness are friends we forget to appreciate.
  • Future plans aren’t useful without present action.
  • Work is most often a synonym for learning. When it isn’t, there’s likely some kind of inefficiency requiring brute force efforts.
  • Instead of finding a work-life balance, find a balance of Transcendental properties: Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.

Beliefs about happiness

  • Happiness is a cocktail of honesty and acceptance. Honesty about who you are, acceptance without striving.
  • Happiness manifests as a physical feeling first, which is observed by our brains and attributed second. If you’re feeling unhappy, check in on your physical well being before elevating to your existential evaluations.
  • Understanding yourself is a neverending journey; you will always reap rewards with introspection.
  • The less of yourself you have to manage, the less ego you will deal with. Choose to deplete your sense of self, and see your smallness.
  • Control is a deceptive beast of a thing. Act first as if there is no control to be had by you, and then discover the few things you have control over. Treat this carefully; even the smallest amount of control is intoxicating.

Beliefs about behavior

  • You have two sides: one is thoughtful, methodical, careful, slow, and incredibly accurate. The other is gut-based, impulsive, reactive, quick, offensive, and aversive. Both are necessary, but awareness of both is key to creating a harmony between them.
  • When your actions do not align with your intentions, your faster thinking is dominating. Slow down.
  • When you can’t seem to make a decision or move forward, as scary as it may be, find bravery in your faster gut-based thinking. You will fall a lot, but usually it won’t hurt as bad as you expect.
  • You will always be more afraid of loss than anything else. Be keenly aware of when this is controlling your decisions, and remind yourself of what you aren’t seeing: the unrealized upside.
  • Everything will always look simple in hindsight. Give yourself, and others, forgiveness quickly; this is your first time being alive.
  • Learning comes by failure, adjustment, and iteration. Shape your life and activities around the opportunities to fail without fatal losses.
  • Whether you think you can or cannot achieve something, you are actually probably wrong to some degree. Don’t put stock in your guesses; put stock in historical proof.