The New Yorker has an article called “I don’t want to be right” which discusses studies that explore why peoples’ beliefs are stubbornly resistant to change. This quote from the article inspired my drawing above:
“When there’s no immediate threat to our understanding of the world, we change our beliefs. It’s when that change contradicts something we’ve long held as important that problems occur.”
I strongly agree and have posted on this issue before and hope this drawing may also help make the different views more clear — better than paragraphs.
Many people misunderstand beliefs. They don’t understand how our brains form them or use them. They don’t realize that we often hold beliefs because we perceive them to aid important parts of our lives. It is often fruitless to discuss beliefs without understanding how our beliefs actually serve us — because the brain cares less about the truth of a belief than about the belief’s function.
Much like the particle-wave models for light, I think beliefs can be visualized accurately using both of the models I have illustrated above, but by themselves, each model is lacking. Beliefs support us, or carry us — as I once tried to illustrate in post with this balloon drawing too.
Question to readers: Have you ever noted some stubborn non-religious belief you had which you only gave up once it no longer served your life?