Belief is what our consciousness uses to deal with reality. Reality is used here to describe Truth in its’ absolute sense, in that it is that which cannot be contradicted by any means human consciousness has at its’ disposal. Reality is also referred to as ‘existence’ but this term is a product of consciousness whereas Reality is used here to refer to anything in or out of consciousness. Reality as we use it here is identified as having three universal characteristics. These are Multiplicity, Variation and Time. Time is essential because it cannot be stopped by any known means. But because Time passes and is subject to Multiplicity and Variation everything increases and everything is different. There are no duplicates of anything. We refer to Knowing as the state of reality we have in our consciousness, and each individual usually refers to what they know as ‘truth’, even though Reality alone defines truth. This leads to conflict between ‘I’ and the ‘other’ because Reality isn’t subject to knowing.
Change occurs in every tick of the clock no matter how short a measure of a unit anyone uses. Change is mandated by Multiplicity and Variation and so Reality is ever increasing so consciousness can never catch up to Reality, unless of course Time could be stopped. Then we could not know anything because we need time to think or sense so if time stops we could do neither. What we can know is only what we believe we know and only that exists in our consciousness. So basically, truth is relative to the consciousness under question until Reality verifies it for the consciousness. This leaves us with only the spectrum of belief until such verification occurs for each consciousness.
The range of belief runs through a number of stages from suspected to confirmed and is verified using scientific methods as our best tool to arrive at an ‘objective’ conclusion on a particular truth. This is actually a ‘shared belief’ among those who have decided that ‘objectivity’ is a standard for knowing. Only a consciousness can be capable of knowing but most seem to accept believing as a substitute for truth more often than not. Our beliefs can start with sensed evidence or occur through thinking alone. In the case of senses we generally will accept our own sensory data before any others. I may be cold but you may not is a simple example. Our sensed data is often an ‘established’ belief, which means the individual has confirmed the truth of it for themselves and will carry the belief until or unless they encounter a contradiction of it. If the ‘established’ belief is not contradicted it can become an ’embedded’ established belief and these kind of beliefs are hardest for an individual to correct. An embedded belief drives the individual consciousness in its conduct of life, and modifies much of a persons behavior. Religious beliefs are usually embedded and a consciousness is loath to accept contradictions to such beliefs.
To try and clarify, we all have a range that goes from casual beliefs (we accept a belief as conditionally true but may have doubts) to established beliefs (we have validated the belief based on supporting data in favor of the belief). Established belief is the first evidence of truth that a consciousness allows. It would seem that knowing is generally made up of established beliefs and some would even count their established beliefs as knowledge. Each consciousness can be described as common, average, intelligent or genius by another consciousness, depending on shared beliefs and the degree of self-examination. By self-examination I mean the process of questioning the truth of what ‘I’ know from what I have heard or sensed or learned by any method. We usually do self-examination through thinking as a form of self-evaluation if truth is a serious subject for the individual consciousness. People are considered ‘close-minded’ or ‘open-minded’ depending on the number of embedded established beliefs they have. An embedded belief is the toughest ‘nut to crack’ within any consciousness. An embedded established belief is ‘the absolute truth’ for the individual and is the most difficult for the consciousness of an individual to ‘let go’ of. I suspect this might be because humans have a great desire for truth but have such difficulty defining it that they accept beliefs as true because most can’t deal with the details of reality otherwise. I have an embedded established belief that reality is different from existence because existence is a perceived view of reality of the consciousness under consideration while reality possess all truth. For all of humanity it has been clear that truth is relative to the individual consciousness and subject to change like everything else. The only truths that do not appear to change are Multiplicity, Variation and Time. These are the axioms of reality and the determiners of change. Because knowing is not possible for many unless they get validation from an outside (other) source, many seek the input of others to verify a truth for them. But what if I happen to possess a truth that was not validated by an ‘other’ and separate from any knowledge I had. Where does one ‘acquire’ such knowledge, especially when reality confirms it’s truth? We would normally call such things an experience since it occurred in our consciousness and shapes our perception of reality and thus our existence.
I may have rambled a bit, but the point of all this comes from a question about the boundary between ‘you/I’ and ‘other’. I am fairly certain that there is only ‘I’ and ‘other’ as far as conscious beings go. A ‘you’ is just a particular example of ‘other’ and as far as consciousness is concerned the only barrier between ‘I’ and ‘other’ is the difference between the two consciousnesses that are mandated by the three axioms of reality.
I’ll write more on this topic at another time, in case anyone is interested. For now, don’t give up on knowing just because of the infinity of knowledge, just enjoy the search for truth and rejoice when you find some.
Live long and prosper.