Sunday, 15 November 2015

The eroticism of belief


Have you ever tried to wonder how convenient it is to have a belief to begin with? If we were the primates who were born thousands of years ago when there was no civilization and there were not beliefs and values, we might've been forced to be pragmatic and unflinchingly astute. But courtesy of beliefs that are passed on as emoluments from our origin and roots, we have the luxury of being dogmatic and to question only what doesn't fit in our own realm of reasoning and rationale. And hence we are spared from some of the classic problems of human existence, and are therefore ready to carouse one of the many beliefs available. and to be fondled by the Pontiffs of one of them. 

So, what are beliefs? If we don't go finicky, a belief can be defined as an established set of caveats that, given certain assumptions, may hold true. It's really worth noting that these certain assumptions are almost always intangible and are tough to define or clearly incorporate in the definition of a belief. Hence a belief is therefore one core phenomenon, surrounded by supporting pillars. The validity and viability of a belief is dependent on the strength of these pillars. If the pillars are strong and sturdy, the core value sustains and remains in its stolid and unfettered form. If, however, the pillars are frail and lurid, either the belief disappears, or worse, gets amended to the whims and fancies of a handful of people. 

A belief can be a beautiful companion. It diverts your attention from all the lepers and paupers, all the misery and despair, all the unceremonious disparity, all the ludicrous rules of hegemony, all the tainted rulers of the world, and focuses our attention on the solemn hope that following our belief can bring about the verdant happiness that the belief promises. Hence irrespective of whether a belief is garroted down our throat, or accepted via volition, once a belief finds a set of faithful loyalists whose eternity now functions around the cogs and sprockets of the belief, the belief becomes everything, and we its everlasting fawners and advocates. 

Another benefit that comes along with a belief, and almost invariably, is an exact opposite misbelief. A misbelief is almost as necessary as a belief because once the belief's proselytizing gets over on the basis of endured benefits of following the belief, a rumpus of a bedeviling contributes the largest to creation of an even more enormous following. It's as if the chief architects or advocates of the belief now seek a disparaging and virulent force, one that they can ask all the followers to direct their rage against. In the short term, more and more people give in to the larger belief because there are so many people fighting for it so it really has to be worth it, they assume. In the long term, the belief becomes paramount because if it's sustained for so long, it becomes an automatically inveterate presumption on the conjecture that "yes, this has to be a worthy addendum to life". What takes a beating in the process is the fact that the belief gets altered with many important facets omitted, and many new sections secretly added. And while all of this gives the impression of an upliftment, it's necessarily a dilution of what the belief once was! 

We all choose from a certain set of ready beliefs because the deeper we scrutinize a belief the more we realize how esoteric one is. And because we are forced to accept a belief when we're still in a jejune and novice state, we're all the more forced to simply pick up one of the beliefs. And more often than not we pick up beliefs our parents or our mentors chose, because even they never had a chance to refute or repudiate any of those beliefs which with time became their sine qua none. And thus beliefs thrive, ages after ages, epochs after epochs, until one day when they become too strong to be as much as challenged. And while everyone is happy about the perpetrators of the belief carrying out oblation of newer followers, and they hold umbrage about a few renegades who dare to question the sanctity of the belief, no one knows that maybe what the renegades are preaching was once the real belief, which with time became a palimpest of successive generations altering it completely. 

Human history is centered around beliefs, with the conflict of beliefs marking the most important milestones. Take religion and you'd know that the crusades and the intifidas resulted in insurmountable amount of bloodshed and mobilization. Take economic world order and you'd see capitalism taking on socialism. Take political maxims and you have the right and left wings. And then even within sects you can have sub beliefs like Marxism and Maoism within communism. See everywhere and you find core beliefs colliding. It's pretty good to fight for your belief because you hold it so dead. But the most doltish thing we do, and which we do day and night, is that we fight for beliefs which ever since the beginning have been held a little too consecrated since the beginning. So while at a top level any questions against the belief can be answered by averring some facts, at a lower level most of the questions cant be answered. And here comes the doctrine of unquestionability. 

Every belief, beneath a level of abstraction, can't provide you sufficient answers to the questions, and hence to prevent hard core followers from growing capricious, a custodian is to be appointed. American presidency is the custodian of capitalism, the British queen was once the cornerstone of imperialism, the Pope is the altar of Christianity and the Muslims had their caliphates. Every belief that has sustained long enough shall also be having schools expatiating and in preponderance, the virtues of the belief. Christian convents preaching Catholicism to Islamic Madrasas to the business schools and law schools of the United states literally blooming capitalism in the mental vistas of fledglings. Every belief needs to have a set system of organization. One purpose is to make the belief appear more grandiose because the institutions add to the veracity without any doubt, and two, to maintain the belief from getting diluted and inevitably too arcane. This is what's really important. 

Today, the world has become a parade of individuals, all praising some belief against some belief held by those from the opposite sect and primarily because of our ill judgment on choosing the custodians or because us never having a say in that, we've been choosing people who serve the agenda of holding the belief true, but allowing the belief to be both challenged and even partially subjugated. If a belief is the lifeblood of so many, it has to be preserved and has to be maintained. But at the behest of a handful of men who further their own ends, the belief might be contorted and be made a little too risky for anyone to follow anymore. 

Consider the Muslim caliphate for example. It's really deplorable to trace terrorism to a religion but the people at the helm of the religion have simply asked for it. While every other true blue Muslim who has read the Koran can contend that the verses not even remotely insinuate violence of any forms, just because there is no more a Caliphate whose word can be blindly trusted, and more so because there are now local heroes whose word is the only word a Muslim can seek, the verses can always be twisted to refer to something completely incompatible with the originally intended meaning. The true asset of a belief is that it's recondite and hence takes time to swallow and respect, but with the absence of a custodian, this becomes the biggest threat to the dilution of the beliecf's core values. 

Same happened with capitalism. Never in the original tenets did anyone suggest the idea of all capital expenditure being good. But with time some of the leading authorities on capitalism have advocated theories which have suggested gargantuan capital expenditures even if it means taking more leverage than you know you could ever pay. All the major collapses of the most major stock exchanges can be attributed to this financial cavorting, and all because capitalism is to tricky to be easily interpreted. No one may ever again know what the original thought leaders might have meant when they thought of capitalism. 

People all over the world have a lot of problems and everyday we wake up and wear above our own persona the accouterments of these beliefs we possess. We are proud about our beliefs because even in our lows, our beliefs tend to exhume the dead conscience out and get it back in action. Beliefs are arduous to create and more strenuous to maintain. And beliefs are really useful because they make life so simple in an ever changing effervescent world. But it's not uncommon for beliefs to become either decrepit because they were fidgeted with or obsolete because they never changed. Hence as long as we're not sure there is a honorary and venerable custodian of the belief taking care of that for us, we have to start questioning our beliefs ourselves, and to keep questioning them till we either ascertain that the belief is still intact in its original form, or till we die fighting against those who don't even allow us to question. Because it's better to die fighting for a new set of beliefs than to live with a wrong set of beliefs to begin with!