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Why do believe what we believe?


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I would like to start this topic to garner ideas from others here on the site. Seems to have gone quite of late for obvious reasons.

Why do we believe what we believe? An interesting queston. This can be applied to any belief we have not just crypto. It seems we as humans adopt a position on a topic and tend to stick to it regardless of what might happen to invalidate our views. Example, BTC maxis (I own BTC) insist that BTC will become the worlds reserve currency. This view is based on its popularity in crypto circles. The arguments against this are varied and many but the most obvious reason this will not happen is that is 51% attackable. Which world power would allow rogue actors to hijack the worlds money system via a handful people in China with better graphics cards? Seems ridiculous to me and those not in crypto. However, the notion this is possible is prevalent amongst maxis.

ETH is seen as a possible replacement to BTC as a world reserve but its fees on UNISWAP can be as high as $350 invalidating its use for this particular purpose. Yet people who hold ETH (I am one) believe in the fallacy that it might displace the USD. The chances of the US Fed Reserve supplanting their own currency in favour of a handful of ETH owners is amazing.

So, over to you. Why do we believe things which if analysed are beyond preposterous?

Cheers

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I suggest you read Prof Yuval Harari's two books; Sapiens and **** Deus where he puts forward an interesting theory that shared beliefs was the factor that made **** Sapiens so much more powerful than the bigger brained and stronger Neanderthals.  Shared belief allowed our species to unite outside family and small tribal (150 people) boundaries with strangers to build "societies".  It is the factor that made our species able to work together in huge groups and to believe in kings, our place in society and in the value of paper money.  So belief was hard wired into our species.

The obverse to this coin is "othering".  We find empathy with those we agree with, and in our empathic unity we other societies that do not share our value systems.  This propensity to dehumanise people outside our group, outside our shared belief systems, makes us tribal on a huge scale and brings with it intolerance, selfishness and wars.

Another book you might enjoy is Moral Tribes by Joshua David Greene.  This is a wonderful philosophical analysis of morality, why utilitarianism does not work and how we measure morals in others.  How our behaviour is deeply connected to a balance between two competing neural pathways; one which is fast, emotional and humane but prone to other, the second which is slow rational and can be compassionate.  I can highly recommend this book. 

Whilst belief may seem static and obstinate, it is an ephemeral thing that tricks us into believing we know the "truth".  Truth is not really a thing, merely a virtual interface for perceiving and keeping us fit in this world.  If you want to get metaphysical in your reading about belief I suggest The Case Against Reality: How Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes by Donald Hoffman.

But none of these book excuses the crass stupidity and ugly behaviour of BTC and ETH maxis

Edited by Julian_Williams
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First and foremost we're a conditioned "average" of what surrounds us. Even our gender, you might have thought it's biological? Mostly our gender awareness is what we've been taught, trained and shown. 

Freedom of thought? Nice concept, but purely based on what we know, therefore very limited. Thinking outside of one's boundaries, that might be a first step towards not only personal freedom, but also freedom from anything doctrine, maxi - or self-illusion.

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3 minutes ago, panmores said:

First and foremost we're a conditioned "average" of what surrounds us. Even our gender, you might have thought it's biological? Mostly our gender awareness is what we've been taught, trained and shown. 

Freedom of thought? Nice concept, but purely based on what we know, therefore very limited. Thinking outside of one's boundaries, that might be a first step towards not only personal freedom, but also freedom from anything doctrine, maxi - or self-illusion.

Nope. While it's certainly a mix of nature and nuture, a lot of what we believe is what we're hardwired to believe. That nope is about your hyperfocus on environment over biology, not the difficulty of truly thinking freely.

None of this obliterates freedom. It just makes true freedom very difficult to achieve. But just as Usain Bolt exists, people who are very much able to exercise intellectual freedom exist.

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I would recommend Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" for good discussion about belief in decision making.  Harari is hard for me because I love how he refuses an easy psychological reductionism/analogy (you don't have one "love" neuron that fires when you're happy), but then he plays evolutionary psychologist finding emergent properties, and evolutionary psychology is the worst sort of flim-flam.  People only see what they project - there is no "mind" data available.  Evolutionary psychology is worse than even economics.  

Maybe it's the totalizing power of capitalism, US crony capitalism in particular, pressurizing the need to discover the next Amazon, to escape being ground up by the 1% or to brag about your vision & virtue.  

But then there's  just a lot of people selling stuff and talking s**t on the internet, too.  Maybe most of the "true believers" who bought in just have something to sell.

Edited by WrathofKahneman
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FOOD as crazy as ever.

Local environmental stimulus + local culture is the start for most people when it comes to believe, then we grow our minds from these local believes etc to larger understandings via acquired information from all the sources available (or at least some of us do).

The best example I can give in modern times is this, in June 1999, Bhutan became the last nation in the world to turn on television. Let's just say, local beliefs and their culture was decimated.

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2003/jun/14/weekend7.weekend2

What is currency = a believed in medium of exchange or in the case of Fiat (in most developed nations) a belief by the majority that the token itself has value. Bitcoin in effect has upset this belief system for many, the masses still largely belief in fiat, because it's all they have ever known (the bankers and their friends brainwashed most of us from birth). We (crypto geeks) are crypto anarchists, but most of us have a greater understanding than most Fiat maxis, utility and token acceptance / interoperability is the key to the future of VALUE transfer & purchasing power, which is why I hold mostly XRP / XLM & XDC (all ISO 20022 tokens).

The future will still have $'s, Euros and Pounds etc, but these will mostly be seen by the central bankers and their friends as necessary illusions (believes) to be kept in circulation so the brainwashed won't wake up to the truth. "Social Order" and that phrase should be seen for all its many connotations, is kept through beliefs to a large extent. At one time, faith (religion) was used to help keep social order, the bankers replaced that faith in modern times by their unholy debt based interest bearing tokens, which we all scurry around trying to gather as many of as we can, in an effort to survive and flourish in the modern world (much to the bankers' glee).

What we will all soon be faced with is a youth that will grow up not knowing a world dominated by Fiat, but a world dominated by many, many instant global value transfer systems, which will ultimately transform peoples beliefs and cultures in ways even more disruptive than when TV was switched on in Bhutan or when WE all got the internet, Ripple / Crypto making a dent in the UNIVERSE :) 

 

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8 hours ago, WrathofKahneman said:

I would recommend Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" for good discussion about belief in decision making.  Harari is hard for me because I love how he refuses an easy psychological reductionism/analogy (you don't have one "love" neuron that fires when you're happy), but then he plays evolutionary psychologist finding emergent properties, and evolutionary psychology is the worst sort of flim-flam.  People only see what they project - there is no "mind" data available.  Evolutionary psychology is worse than even economics.  

Maybe it's the totalizing power of capitalism, US crony capitalism in particular, pressurizing the need to discover the next Amazon, to escape being ground up by the 1% or to brag about your vision & virtue.  

But then there's  just a lot of people selling stuff and talking s**t on the internet, too.  Maybe most of the "true believers" who bought in just have something to sell.

 

Daniel Kahneman has just published a new book "Noise".   I am not really sure what evolutionary psychology is.  There are so many ways of approaching mind sciences and the different camps have developed many factional terms for labelling their schools of thought.  I came across "evolutionary archology" today!  I lose track.  What is clear is that the phylogenic approach to how/why the mind evolved intelligence and then consciousness give us new lines of insight.   Peter Godfrey-Smith has written beautiful poetic books following how intelligence developed in the sea more than once, with a particular interest in the "alien" intelligence of   octopuses. (Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life  &  Metazoa: Animal Minds and the Birth of Consciousness).  Best to read them in the order they were written.

I recently read a book by an Irish psychiatrist with a beautiful bent for literature (The Rag and Bone Shjop; How we make memories and memories make us Veronica O'Keane).  The book itself was really a marriage between psychology and psychiatry, with a strong line for marrying anatomical functionality of the brain science to her work experiences with psychiatric patients.  I suppose a latter day Oliver Sacks. She made the very salient point that in the early 20th century psychology and psychiatry were so far apart that they did not communicate with each other at all, hence the two approaches to understand the mind both ended up in fantasy land: The psychologists became Behaviourists who would ostracise any mention/research of consciousness, the psychiatrists got stuck into Freudian psychoanalysis which is simply incompatible with physiology of the subconscious mind.      

O'Keane represents how understand physiology and mechanics of the brain has brought enlightenment to our approach to psychiatric illness.  Illnesses that were labelled "madness" are now explained in terms of brain chemistry, and conversely psychology has embraced and linked "consciousness studies" to brain physiology.  Psychiatry and psychology are becoming the same thing studied from different starting points.

When we divide Nature (how the brain is wired) and Nurture (how we learn from the environment) we are again studying one thing from two perspectives.  And again we have to you look beyond the labelling to discover all learning is about wiring (hard wiring in our formative years that becomes pruned and fixed into our umwelts, soft wiring in our later years which are the progressive building of memories that are utilised and affect our personalities).  People talk as if there is a fight between Nature and Nurture, one or the other, and by doing so create hard divisions that inhibit appreciation of the holistic approach.  Stanislas Dehearne book ("How we Learn" The one science of Education and the Brain) does a very good job of unpicking this the relationship between wiring and learning.

How the mind works is a big interest for me, and this is touching one aspect.  Just now there are many fascinating new books providing new insights about how our minds work, and they are arriving thick and fast from may different directions.  Things are getting focused and the conflicts between the different approaches are evaporating. 

 

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Level 1 - Learn language.

We learn from our parents, friends, family, schools, churches, TV.  Every source of information comes from what we see as an authority because we don't know any better.  We adopt the vocabulary of our environment and it shapes our thinking.

 

Level 2 - Learn Science

Later on, even in a poor education system, we will learn the scientific method.  We will learn to look for evidence to support or deny an idea.  We start to question what we learnt in Level 1.

 

Level 3 - Learn Maths

Just when we though it was easy...  Evidence == Facts (simple right?), we find that presentation of evidence is just as important.  We find out companies/politicians/religions are blatantly using misleading graphs, ignoring facts that don't fit their agendas, or massaging data to fit their own motives.

 

Level 4 (optional) - We try to learn Psychology/Philosophy/Brain Biology

Dismayed by what learnt in Level 3 we try to gain an understanding of why people are greedy/blind/selfish.  Will we ever get a definitive answer?  Maybe it is all ego?  I would argue it is...

 

We all know people who have failed to level up in the game of life.  I have an old Aunt who thinks that computers are the work of the Devil and only communicates via letters and landlines.  She never got past Level 1.  We can see these people today, science was too hard to understand so their egos kept them in their comfortable place. Traditions/religion/what the nice man at the political rally said becomes the only learning they need to have.  This is where the shouty burn-the-banks minority BTC maxis live.

I have a friend at Level 2.  He rejected the religious upbringing and influence of MSM, is swayed by evidence based logic, and believes every conspiracy theory that is produced.  5G, anti-vax, Illuminati, whatever you're selling he's buying it.  He never learnt maths at school, it was too hard, I think his ego limits him to stay in his safe place where things make sense.  This is where the majority BTC maxis and ETHheads live.

Level 3 is where most Zerpers live.  Many of us would have entered the cryptosphere because our interest was piqued by the shouty BTC minorities.  We saw them pointing fingers at their perceived enemies and instead of jumping on the bandwagon we took a look at what it was that was actually scaring them and found out...  Hey, they have good reason to be scared.  We weren't limited by our egos or tribe mentalities.

Level 4?  Do we need to get to Level 4?  My above examples are people who found science/maths difficult and got trapped by their egos.  I personally find Level 4 difficult.  Also I find the complexities of international finance and banking difficult.  I'm amazed by the people on this forum who are SMEs in these areas and can argue economic theory/central bank policy/regulatory concerns.  And here's the point (you knew I had a point, right?)  I'm not smart enough to mix it up with those posters in their field of knowledge, but I am smart enough to not let my ego hold me back.  I don't have to be the smartest person in the room, I just have to be smart enough to know where the room with the smart people is and listen to what they're saying. 

And... there's a lot of smart people on this forum from different fields.  The software devs get annoyed at the chartists that complain about the Flare test-net decision.  The technology futurists get annoyed at the business folk who criticize every Ripple pivot (or vice versa).  The common sense, justice minded posters can't understand the position of the lawyers who know the judicial system follows rules not logic.  We have a lot to learn from each other but we will always need to be able to distinguish between intelligent, informed discussion by genuine people, and uneducated, Level 2 FUDers that believe what they read on Fakebook.

 

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On 7/24/2021 at 12:25 PM, Julian_Williams said:

 

Daniel Kahneman has just published a new book "Noise".   I am not really sure what evolutionary psychology is.  There are so many ways of approaching mind sciences and the different camps have developed many factional terms for labelling their schools of thought.  I came across "evolutionary archology" today!  I lose track.  What is clear is that the phylogenic approach to how/why the mind evolved intelligence and then consciousness give us new lines of insight.   Peter Godfrey-Smith has written beautiful poetic books following how intelligence developed in the sea more than once, with a particular interest in the "alien" intelligence of   octopuses. (Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life  &  Metazoa: Animal Minds and the Birth of Consciousness).  Best to read them in the order they were written.

 

I'm excited for Noise!  I appreciate your comments, really, but my bias though is that evolutionary psychology  is a pseudoscience. With respect, it is the phylogenic approach that's the problem.  

You just cant biologize cognitive science and then explain how those cognitive traits came about by evolution; it begs the question.  We do not understand the mind-body problem, so how can we create narratives about how it developed a million years ago - based on what fossil records?  It's just storie-building without any evidence.  All it is left to explore is analogy, on a compressed evolutionary time scale, with no account for culture.  But again, I am biased and the field, while popular, is very controversial.  (He said on an XRP board... I'll stop now :lol:)

 

Edited by WrathofKahneman
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44 minutes ago, WrathofKahneman said:

I'm excited for Noise!  I appreciate your comments, really, but my bias though is that evolutionary psychology  is a pseudoscience. With respect, it is the phylogenic approach that's the problem.  

You just cant biologize cognitive science and then explain how those cognitive traits came about by evolution; it begs the question.  We do not understand the mind-body problem, so how can we create narratives about how it developed a million years ago - based on what fossil records?  It's just storie-building without any evidence.  All it is left to explore is analogy, on a compressed evolutionary time scale, with no account for culture.  But again, I am biased and the field, while popular, is very controversial.  I understand others feel differently.

 

We can look at intelligence, consciousness and sentience in other living things and imagine (yes, that is the weakness of Peter Godfrey-Smith's books) how it threads together, but instead of looking in that direction I think you will enjoy more; The Case Against Reality: How Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes by Donald Hoffman.  He has an interesting theory that perception fails for similar reasons that quantum theory and relativity cannot explain time and place, and poses some very interesting ideas about approaching the whole mind body problem from another perspective.  It a book I never expected to enjoy because physics leaves me cold, but even I found it a rewarding approach.

For me reading these books is rabbit hole about drawing movement, so everything i read in these fields is then applied to my visual studies.  

Edited by Julian_Williams
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18 hours ago, PlanK said:

Level 1 - Learn language.

We learn from our parents, friends, family, schools, churches, TV.  Every source of information comes from what we see as an authority because we don't know any better.  We adopt the vocabulary of our environment and it shapes our thinking.

 

Level 2 - Learn Science

Later on, even in a poor education system, we will learn the scientific method.  We will learn to look for evidence to support or deny an idea.  We start to question what we learnt in Level 1.

 

Level 3 - Learn Maths

Just when we though it was easy...  Evidence == Facts (simple right?), we find that presentation of evidence is just as important.  We find out companies/politicians/religions are blatantly using misleading graphs, ignoring facts that don't fit their agendas, or massaging data to fit their own motives.

 

Level 4 (optional) - We try to learn Psychology/Philosophy/Brain Biology

Dismayed by what learnt in Level 3 we try to gain an understanding of why people are greedy/blind/selfish.  Will we ever get a definitive answer?  Maybe it is all ego?  I would argue it is...

 

We all know people who have failed to level up in the game of life.  I have an old Aunt who thinks that computers are the work of the Devil and only communicates via letters and landlines.  She never got past Level 1.  We can see these people today, science was too hard to understand so their egos kept them in their comfortable place. Traditions/religion/what the nice man at the political rally said becomes the only learning they need to have.  This is where the shouty burn-the-banks minority BTC maxis live.

I have a friend at Level 2.  He rejected the religious upbringing and influence of MSM, is swayed by evidence based logic, and believes every conspiracy theory that is produced.  5G, anti-vax, Illuminati, whatever you're selling he's buying it.  He never learnt maths at school, it was too hard, I think his ego limits him to stay in his safe place where things make sense.  This is where the majority BTC maxis and ETHheads live.

Level 3 is where most Zerpers live.  Many of us would have entered the cryptosphere because our interest was piqued by the shouty BTC minorities.  We saw them pointing fingers at their perceived enemies and instead of jumping on the bandwagon we took a look at what it was that was actually scaring them and found out...  Hey, they have good reason to be scared.  We weren't limited by our egos or tribe mentalities.

Level 4?  Do we need to get to Level 4?  My above examples are people who found science/maths difficult and got trapped by their egos.  I personally find Level 4 difficult.  Also I find the complexities of international finance and banking difficult.  I'm amazed by the people on this forum who are SMEs in these areas and can argue economic theory/central bank policy/regulatory concerns.  And here's the point (you knew I had a point, right?)  I'm not smart enough to mix it up with those posters in their field of knowledge, but I am smart enough to not let my ego hold me back.  I don't have to be the smartest person in the room, I just have to be smart enough to know where the room with the smart people is and listen to what they're saying. 

And... there's a lot of smart people on this forum from different fields.  The software devs get annoyed at the chartists that complain about the Flare test-net decision.  The technology futurists get annoyed at the business folk who criticize every Ripple pivot (or vice versa).  The common sense, justice minded posters can't understand the position of the lawyers who know the judicial system follows rules not logic.  We have a lot to learn from each other but we will always need to be able to distinguish between intelligent, informed discussion by genuine people, and uneducated, Level 2 FUDers that believe what they read on Fakebook.

 

Sure you are as smart as everyone else on this forum, with your own identity, experience and wisdom.  I was the dumbest guy in our class, in c grade in every stream and the only one in my year to fail every exam (and I was working to keep up).  Partly dyslexia, but I think that is maybe a lame excuse, I just don't do detail, remember things, put sentences together as fast as other people.  All the things you list, I don't do them.

In the end wisdom, seeing clearly and grasping concepts is about being broad minded, open and willing to give it a go and then persisting until you reach a better understanding.  This applies to academia, social interaction and moral self respect.  In my own experience I look around at my peers and their lives and find that whilst they left me in the dust in the class room, towards the ends of their lives they could not keep up with my lust to exist and prosper.   

Smartness is much more associated with attitude of mind than it is with academic abilities or what gifts God granted us when we were children in a classroom.  

Edited by Julian_Williams
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4 hours ago, Julian_Williams said:

He has an interesting theory that perception fails for similar reasons that quantum theory and relativity cannot explain time and place,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence

Emergence is a fun concept.

I'd be willing to argue that "Money" is an emergent property of human groups of a certain size. It seems to pan out across unconnected millenia and unconnected geographic locations.

The outlier would be an ILP world, where all these "money" can connect via an IoV. I don't believe humanity has ever created such a thing/network.

So is a global IoV an Emergent property of billions of humans on earth? Like "money" is an emergent property of 1000+ human groups?

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