December 2, 2008

Accepting ghosts

There are a lot of things I know, these are things I thought, I think and I hope to think about. However, knowing them is far removed from accepting them. 

These are like the ghosts in our lives, the ones we believed in as children. When we were kids, there were many methods that our parents and elders at home devised to keep us from doing things. I am not sure of many children who have loved the dark as kids. Again, that depends a lot on the way that the parents have exposed the concept of darkness to a child. With most of the faiths believing in post mortem life, in other words, life after death, it has never been too hard to imagine those spirits of once alive people to be among us. Why, this is amongst the most popular of all genres of movies, with creepy crawlies. Ghosts, the things we sense, the things we believe we stress, dead people, coming back to haunt us, to protect us, to take care of us, to cause us harm, we have the entire gamut of emotions that we can feel, we attribute to them. No matter how many times we have read that there are no ghosts, and there is no place for such entities in the science we believe in, many of us get goose bumps when we enter a dark room, when there is a slight breeze touching us, when there is a sudden noise, for which we are not able to place the source. Then our cognitive mind comes in, reassuring us that it is either a figment of our imagination, or just a breeze or some earthly incident, and not a ghost. 

This is what happens when you have believed in something for a long time and then have that belief destroyed by reason. When we believe something, we do not need reason. It just is. God, good, evil, right, wrong, everything is a belief. The ones we choose to believe in is something we picked up from our parents and that is because since those sets of beliefs worked for them, there is a high probability that those will work for us. I am not sure if ever running away from a hungry tiger that is directly in your path, without anything separating you is bad. You can try reasoning it as much as you want, but logically, and instinctively it is the best path.

What happens when reason destroys a belief? Well, in that case, you stop believing because you can think that it is not true. However, there will be a part of you that still wants to believe for there is a comfort in belief and human beings are creatures of comfort, comfort derived from habit. The destroyed belief will leave scars, it will come back in different manifestations. It will ask, when you reasoned that I was wrong, what prevents the current belief, which came as a result of that reason from being wrong. 

If your reason is air tight, you will have an answer. However, reason cannot be airtight, for it is something mankind developed to explain things. This means that, what we know to be wrong, because it cannot be reasoned is not out from our system yet. This goes on to mean that until we can accept that the belief has gone and either find a better belief to replace it, or accept the absence of the belief, we would still be haunted of the departed belief. 

The question that arises is, since all are just beliefs, what prevents us from holding on to just the first belief, and not questioning it? Since reason, even if it is paramount, cannot be tantamount to carved in stone. So why change a belief in the first place, and then be haunted by the changed reason?

Man kind will never learn, for learning means more questions, and more questions is both a measure of ignorance, and knowledge.

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