Selling out or just changing our beliefs?

Beliefs are not real, they are just the mind making itself right.

We are so emotionally invested in our beliefs that we are unable or unwilling to recognise them as anything but the truth. Kathryn Shulz in her book “Being Wrong” indicates the word ‘believe’ comes from an old English verb meaning ‘to hold dear’, suggesting that we have the habit of falling in love with our beliefs once we’ve formed them.

I find it really interesting when our beliefs change over time. We all recognise the difference in our internal beliefs, just like we understand that different people have different beliefs, however we justify our own ‘old’ beliefs as not having all of the facts. Now that we have all of the facts (apparently) our current beliefs are real, are the truth.

We have beliefs about our life partners (husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend), but when the relationship breaks down and we are no longer together, our beliefs change completely. Things we found adorable or a sign of their strengths, are now repulsive and an indicator of their weaknesses. They are more than likely the same person but our view of them has changed entirely. We justify it to ourselves with the stance that somehow they changed, but it is really just an example of our emotions having a major impact on our moving beliefs. Something we held dear, we no longer do.

Once we reject a belief we justify it with reasons how we were ‘temporarily’ ignorant. There are many people who started out their adult life as alternative, left-wing, free living, environmentalist young adults, who then turned into traditional, money obsessed, fearful of the world, and conservative as older adults.

We recognise the bias in our previous beliefs, but justify our current beliefs as somehow knowing more about life. In reality though, the bias that causes the ‘new’ beliefs can be equal to, if not stronger, than the rejected beliefs. The younger adult in the example above, with their less fearful outlook on life, might be the real person. The person before they sold out to Shouldland.

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