People don't kill people. Ideas do │Steemosophy 4/4 │

4년 전

Guns don’t kill people. The people that are pulling the trigger do. But they are convinced to do so by the ideas that reside in their head.

Is there any reason beneath such ideas? How can such monstrous ideas find fertile soil in the minds of so many people, to grow into dreadful actions that inflict so much pain to humanity?
I would love to hear your opinion on this matter.

I believe there are many factors at work here. I will start from where we left the in the last 3 posts – knowledge.

We saw in the previous posts that our knowledge is limited while our ignorance is limitless.
Throughout history, humans have improved the paradigms through which they acquire knowledge until science was born.
With the birth of science, humanity has achieved new heights of evolution, and will continue to do so in the future.

Science helped us debunk many fallacies of the past. But not everything that exists can be proven by science. Science relies upon empirical data. Some elements of the world transcend our capacity to empirically capture them.
This leaves room for unscientific science – theories that are not proven by science but are believed to be true or, at least, have some legitimacy that people are willing to act upon them, be it consciously or unconsciously.


We are born believing. A man bears beliefs as a tree bears apples

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our belief system is unscientific science by default. It has the capacity to influence our reality, because we always look at the world through a filter of prejudices, formed by the structure of our beliefs.

When we were born, we didn’t have a belief system. We developed one by interacting with the world around us. It’s a result of our experiences within the world, heavily influenced by our culture, parents, environment, knowledge, and the belief system itself after a certain point.

I wonder what life would be without beliefs. How would life be with pure knowledge only. Will we resemble our current peers, or will we be more like robots?
I would love to hear your take on the matter.

For me, this is a hard question. But I do know that beliefs are a big part of what makes us humans. Sometimes the greatest achievements have been a direct result of a “mistake”, a belief. Other times, the greatest horrors were inflicted upon humanity because of a fallacious system of beliefs.

So are beliefs bad or good for us? Which one in particular I’d be inclined to ask. And the one that you would ask me about, does it really have the same effect on a different person, does it integrate seamlessly in the puzzle of beliefs that everyone else are trying to figure out?

I’m not advocating here for cognitive relativism. It doesn’t matter what you know about gravity, it doesn’t matter if you agree or not with gravity. It’s neutral. It works everywhere, whether you believe in it or not.

But look at it this way:

Starting from the belief that I have a pretty good chance to get a girl’s number, rather than starting from the belief that I will most probably not get it, has a big influence on the result of my enterprise. The first one gives me courage & confidence, while the second one gives me more doubt, fear, anxiety.
And more, I can walk towards that girl with the belief that it’s no big deal if I get rejected, I lived 23 happy years without her, it’s really not the end of the world, she has her own reasons for that, and I should live with them. Or I could approach her with the belief that I am worthless if she rejects me, my life doesn’t have no meaning, I am a failure, how can I live with myself…

I know that I stretched this example to the extreme, but you can imagine the impact the first set of beliefs has on me compared to the second one.


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We have learned in a way or another every attitude, behavior, value, opinion, creed, fear. These elements became over time the bricks of your own prison.

“It’s all in the mind” says Arnold Schwarzenegger. And in the mind we all are prisoners of our own perspectives. Life, I believe, is a futile attempt to escape from our own prison. And we do, only to find ourselves trapped in a more comfortable cell upon further examination.

Can we break ourselves free forever from this prison? I do not know.

But I know that we all should acknowledge the fact that we are prisoners. We all are fighting the same war. We all have the same enemies in the end. And those enemies are all the ideas that turn us against each other, against ourselves, against life itself. They become especially dangerous when viewed as immutable & universal truths. Because, if they are treated like such, why would we keep thinking and examining life. We already possess the truth, right? Isn’t it better to enforce it one the poor people that didn’t discovered it?

This is the reason why people die, why wars are fought, why parents and children are hurting each other. Because we are blinded by the ideas in our head. They are becoming monsters that distort the world around us to fit their shape, when It should be the other way around.


Timid thoughts create a timid person.
Confident thoughts create a confident person.
Thoughts of helplessness create a helpless person.
Enthusiastic thoughts create an enthusiastic person.
Loving thoughts create a loving person.

Brian Tracy

Instead of perishing and making room for ideas that are empowering us, they infect the mind and are forcing upon the world their twisted reality.

Ideologies are born this way. Groups of people not employing ideas for their benefits and the benefits of others, but being employed by ideas for a supposed ideal they hold. Advocating pain and suffering for the greater good, for the utopic vision they are based upon. What greater good can there be than the human life itself?

Our cause is the right one, help us fight the other causes.
Our beliefs are the truth. Help us spread the truth by force and condemn the "un-truth".
Use this guaranteed system/10 steps program with proven formulas to achieve the X result.

Sure. Life is that simple. Let me apply these 3 proven methods of losing weight, none of which actually implies getting of my ass to work out and eating less. Yeah, let me also withdraw some money, which I made using this proprietary system I found online, to fund a crusade against any other religion, because obviously mine is right and yours is wrong.


You see? We are our own enemies.
Don’t judge a person till you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. tells us an old saying. And yet we judge.
Don’t condemn that which you don’t understand. And yet we do.

We ferociously condemn and persecute prisoners of different perspectives. But their prison might be better than ours.
How would we know that from the depths of our cells?


I will conclude this entry with an excerpt from a post made by @tarazkp, where he speaks about the relation between him and his daughter.
It’s out of context-ish so I encourage you to read his whole post, but it just resonated so much with me, I couldn’t help but include it here:

I have no answers. All I can do is support her to be the most complete she can be, which means being the best I can be. The rest is up to her.


What a wise stance to take towards a fellow human. If there only were more people like him...

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But I know that we all should acknowledge the fact that we are prisoners.

Doesn't that belief make you a prisoner?

To me the parable of the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" in the bible refers to falling from grace through the acquisition of judgement via the eating of an allegorical hallucinatory fruit. This "knowledge" is just an idea, one that creates personal pain which leads us to inflict our pain on others. But I'm the only person I know that sees that bible passage (which I would have quoted here if there weren't so many bibles out there with conflicting translations of that parable) in that light. And since almost the entire world believes in that JCM relgion (Judeo-Christian-Moslem), Judgement is built into our culture.

If there only were more people like him...

And like you.

Great post. Keep them coming. upvoted and resteemed

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Unfortunately I didn't read the Bible. Maybe one day...
You are right. I do think that the belief you pointed to makes you a prisoner in its own way. It makes you prisoner to the idea that you cannot escape being a prisoner. Or at least that's the way I look at it.

Thank you!
I have my demons, but I try to learn as much as I can from better people.

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I have my demons, but I try to learn as much as I can from better people.

We all do. Other people and Nature are the best teachers. I'm not a bible thumper either. It's just an interesting book that has been taken way out of context. It's very old and has been translated into many languages. Some of it is history, some of it is mythology. Most people who worship it don't know the difference. You know the expression, "It loses something in the translation?" Here's an example. I had a (obviously bored) friend who decided to learn Sumarian, the original language of the bible, so he could understand it better. He pointed out to me one day that the word for camel was the same word for rope. There's a passage in the King James bible that says something like, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Think that's a mistranslation? How many more do you think are in there? There's a lot of wisdom in there. I just needs to be weeded out. IMHO

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You are right!
I started reading The Bible 2 times and both times gave up at firs.
Maybe I will finish it one day, when I will be more ready for it.
Also, aren't they very strict when it comes to translating the Bible, having some kind of gathering of priests that are discussing the best way to translate it, as to not lose it's original meaning?
A professor told me that they have some kind of council for that.

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I don't know about that. Maybe for Catholics. They may do that now, but the bible is 6000 years old. From Sumarian to Greek to Roman (Latin) and Hebrew in there someplace. When I went to find the quote about the tree of the knowledge of good an evil, I visited this site. Look how many ways they say the same thing. To me, some of them contradict each other. And that's just English. The bible is probably the most translated book there is. Plus it's been used by quite a few hierarchical power structures. The official Christian bible left out the teachings of apostle Thomas and Mary Magdalen, because they didn't fit in with what the priests believed. Let's just say the bible is a real mess because it has been used by many to fulfill some agenda.

Thank you for giving me something to reply.

As I had the same thoughts for years and sometimes still have. But in recent times I started to shake off theory and observe more of my daily live.

During my education I heard this sentence:
"The difference between theory and practice is much greater in practice than in theory."

There are a trillion ideas out there, countless theories and approaches to this and that. I found out, that it doesn't have to be that complicated. I don't have to dig in all kinds of presented theories or science revelations anymore to understand "humanity". It is enough to understand how I tick. Though that alone isn't easy.

My life consists of single events, day by day. In every individual moment - when I deal with humans - I see that I am questioned (by myself) how my response should be. Without having ethics (or principles, values, core beliefs) I wouldn't know on which bases my reaction or action should be grounded. You mentioned that.

The ethics were given to me in my childhood and still remain as pure as pure can be. They were given to me by socialization, religion, habit, condition and what else. But as there were a million other things given to me, ethics kind of lost ground. This happened to my parents as well and to their parents and to their parents, too ...

What I did was tracking them again - the track was a deep study in many realms but in particular - after many excursions - the Buddhist approach appealed me the most. But before I got into studying it, I dealt with sociology, psychology, economy, biology, architecture, art and so on...

In the end, I find your questions can only be answered when I add to them the matter of birth and death.

I mean not in theory, but in practice.

Seeing people die and accompany them - getting in real touch with dead people. Sitting next to the dead for two or three days before burry them. Witnessing a baby being born. Skin, hair, sweat, blood, body fluids.

Would that be normal for my daily life I doubt that I would argue with someone about his or her belief. Instead, I guess, I would give hand to what has been taken care of. As I did when my mother died last year.

I had a lot of arguments with my mother - she was a strong christian and brought me often to the point my blood started to cook - I thought of her sometimes as simple minded and taking the bible to serious. I noticed that arguing mostly set us apart. Deep down I knew: I know better. In fact, I really knew what she had wanted from me but for a very strange reason I pretended that I didn't.

That "knowing" was the ethical part in me, the authority which I've chosen many times to ignore and to lose myself in "the big questions of our time" - which had merely achieved that I engaged in exhausting discussions. Or: breeding endless stream of thoughts in my chamber.

I've heard a funny expression from Sir Ken Robinson - I call him the education pope. He said: "humans use their bodies to carry their brains to the next meeting". I felt instantaneously caught by that:-)

I hope that resonates with you.

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Thank you for this amazing reply.
It is so great that it should be a post in itself.
I really liked what you wrote, and it did resonate with me, especially at a level that is too intimate for me right now to even mention it, so I won't.
I am kinda following your path. I'm studying what you listed, and am somewhat attracted to Buddhism as well. They are onto something, not completely sure what yet...

I will come back to it tomorrow to look at it with fresh eyes.

My only regret is that I can't vote it for what I think it deserves.
So I looked at other posts craving for something similar, but unfortunately I don't know German.
But judging by the quality of this reply, it's safe to assume that they are good too...

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Appreciation, thank you.

I am honored by what my view has done to you. Good thing is that you don't have to reveal the intimate stuff, because I know how it feels when some one touches a thing. When you like to read more, I gave a summary of my English posts here:
https://steemit.com/writing/@erh.germany/ladies-and-gentlemen-here-is-a-service-for-you

And I had a very interesting dialogue with @jvalentine about ethics in the comments:
https://steemit.com/ethics/@jvalentine/ethics-the-ripple-effect

Unfortunately I am having the same problem with voting, as I am new and it is not much worth. I upvoted too many posts, so my power is down the stream.

I also am looking forward to read more of what's in your mind & heart.

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Thank you for your great words and for your links.
People like you are the reason why someone like me is able to express himself.
Your encouragement is worth more than any financial incentive, and for that I thank you!

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You are welcome! It is also my pleasure. Looking forward to exchange thoughts with you. For now I'll dive into my pillow and get some rest. Have a great evening!

Excellent post raising good questions!

Why do we DO what we do? It's a complex question, to be sure. Why do people become militant about their way; their beliefs? I have to go with fear...

From the perspective of an old dude (57) I watch people being unable to emotionally parse that a contradictory point of view can coexist with their own. There's a subtle sense of "If they can believe THAT, it casts a shadow of doubt on what I believe... and I am too invested in this to allow questioning. What if THEY are right? That scares me! (Kill them)"

Or something like that.

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Thank you!
First of all, I'm ready to fight you on your perspective that your perspective is of an old dude.

Secondly, I completely agree with everything else.
We are creatures of habits, thinking included, that are ready to deny the existence of other ways, just so we could stay in our little comfort zones.

The last phrase is so pregnant.
I will try to remember it for as long as I can, as it applies to me as much as to anybody else in certain circumstances.

Thanks for making the post 2x better just with a small comment :)

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I personally don't see thinking or beliefs as prisons. While thinking is something we certainly can't stop doing, I'd rather picture it as the engine for our lives. Much like the heart, which allows us to function, so too does the brain allow us to develop, to further that functionality and direct it towards what we believe is our goal. Yes, believe, because we can in no way know for sure what that goal should be, or will be. It is belief that shapes that goal, that self-dictated destiny we strive to fulfill.

It may be true that our genes, our environment and many more things we have no control over are what dictates our beliefs, but there is no life without them. To see them as a prison is to see life as a prison. I'd rather not hold that belief, for it will make me a prisoner for life.

Great post! I love seeing others share their views and values on philosophical topics! It's something I myself love to do as well, and steemit is a nice platform to get some ideas out there and the discussion going! Upvoted!

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You are right. Viewing your beliefs as a prison would make life a prison, and in the end - make you a prisoner for life.

And I actually think that we are prisoners for life. But let me explain in which way I see it.
Thinking is inescapable, our thinking is susceptible to beliefs, no matter how scientific or rational you might think you are. In fact, the thoughts regarding your scientism is a belief in itself.

When I say that we are prisoners of certain beliefs, I don't necessarily mean it in a bad way, I only mean that every belief has certain implications. To use a programming analogy, I think of it roughly along the lines: if belief x is present, then manifestations y are possible. And this is the "prison" I'm talking about - the possibilities and limitations of different beliefs
And since thinking happens all the time, and beliefs are arising from it, I believe we are "prisoners" for life, in sense that we will always be bound in certain ways by our beliefs. But this doesn't make our life bad in any way. In fact, I think some people have amazing "prisons", giving them a freedom that is desired by many.

What is your opinion here? Do you think that there are beliefs that don't impose any limitations on us, consequently making ourselves free from the "prison" that I used in this post?

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Well, you're completely right in the sense that if belief x is present, then manifestation y is possible. I don't think there are beliefs that don't impose any limitations. I can't possibly believe someone can become invisible with the power of a magical stone, o that communism can work, for example, and I think I have a rather "open minded" outlook on life. What you may find, as you say, is that some beliefs allow for more manifestations than others. Being a neo-nazi won't ever let you fully enjoy the wonders of jazz or practice judaism, it limits you more than, say, being agnostic.

What I believe, however, is that we aren't bound in place by those beliefs, we are those beliefs, and those beliefs change and evolve as we experience new things, react to new stimuli. I'd accept calling them a prison if, like robots, they were unchanging and set by someone else. Being that they are born from ourselves as we are born from them, I don't really feel it's accurate. They're not an external force, like the dogmas of a hardcore Christian family may be for a child, but something that grows with us.

It may simply be a matter of perspective, to be honest.

Good content bro. I am following you and I'm waiting for you upload more

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Thank you!

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