Beliefs Become Us
What we believe is the most powerful option of all. Norman Cousins
Beliefs can dilate the capillaries, increase or decrease blood pressure, stimulate emotions, etc. When you believe you are taking medicine, your belief may “cause” you to get well (the placebo effect). If you believe it will rain you carry an umbrella. Beliefs have behavioral consequences. Beliefs become prophecy.
If you believe your team can win the next game, your belief may make the win more likely. If I believe my team can’t win the game, my belief may make the win less likely. If you think you can, you might. If you think you can’t, you’re right.
The prophecy of the event leads to the event of the prophecy. Paul Watzlawick
Norman Cousins was one of the first to emphasize the mind and body connections. In Human Options, 1981 Cousins said, “The belief system represents the unique element of human beings that makes it possible for the human mind to affect the workings of the body.” My title and subtitle are borrowed from him.
The most powerful option of all means we have the choice of what we believe. However, what we believe is often hidden in the unconscious. Which means we often are unaware of what is “causing” our behavior. Belief awareness, and understanding the consequences of what one believes, has been a goal of my writing. Some beliefs are better than others.
What I have come to realize lately is that most of the belief systems that are causing major problems in the world today are not hidden in the unconscious. ISI knows what it believes. The Tea Party knows what it believes. People with racial prejudice know what they believe. And they are in favor of the behavioral consequences. You can add other examples.
My point is that beliefs dominate us and that today beliefs are threatening world peace. I may know some strategies for influencing belief awareness; I do not know strategies for changing well established, authoritatively-held beliefs considered to be absolutely true. When the option to choose to change the belief does not exist, I don’t think that bombing, beheading, suicide, religion, high-technology, or diplomacy will change the belief; I don’t know a solution.
World peace may well depend on what is going on in the minds of its inhabitants.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. Ralph W, Emerson
Can you suggest a possible solution?