Nothing By Chance Blog

Belief and the Open WORD

Belief neon signA person saying that she or he believes in something is frequently making a statement of conviction. “I, too, have seen objects fall and I believe in gravity.”  Thanks to Newton, there is little controversy about believing that. There is another aspect of belief that is conjecture. As in, “I believe Melville made that reference in another book, not just in Moby Dick.”  There’s an appropriate melding of conviction and conjecture in this word, believe.  It permits us to categorize thoughts that are not facts, not events, not laws of nature but important concepts nonetheless.

When we’re told, “I believe…” It is in the realm of conviction and conjecture, and we’re being asked to suspend evidence.  Scientific, legal, financial or statistical evidence that might be brought to bear on the impending conviction is to be put aside.  Rather a personal commitment to the truth of the impending conviction is requested. When a person states “I believe…,” she or he offers a conviction beyond rational argument. It is at once weaker, due to the absence of substantiation, and more powerful, due to the personal emotion attached to it.  In essence “I believe…” is without rational, supportable evidence yet it leads to more argument and conflict among people because it’s not enough that “I believe…” It follows that you must also share the belief or the belief conflicts with a conviction held dear to you and is perceived as a personal threat.

There is no greater evidence of the irrationality of humans.  Admittedly, believing in something without others to share the belief is difficult. Conversely, a mob, no matter how large, brings power to a conviction but it does not lessen the conjecture.

A statement of “I believe…” unto itself, never poses a threat to others.  Only reactions threaten. In contrast, a statement of intention threatens because of the action it implies.  This distinction has been lost repeatedly throughout history.  Even the most benign convictions (e.g. the power of love) spark preemptory strikes.

Feelings exist without a word, a belief does not.  The natural world exists without a word but is meaningless until words are attached to it.  Existence happens without a word but not living.  Much of what occurs at Nothing By Chance Coaching clarifies the meaning of words used to form what a person believes.  Most often, it’s what the person believes about herself or himself.  The words that a person chooses to describe her/his reality blends conviction with conjecture and forms many “I believe…” statements.  Almost all of these beliefs were useful at some time and with repetition the embedded conjecture goes away.  What was useful can become a detriment to happiness, to success, and/or to meaningful relationships.

Ironic that the strongest believers are not those who ignore the conjecture within their belief.  The strongest believer allows the conviction to be open.  The belief becomes more, becomes deeper, when it has been vulnerable to conjecture and withstands the scrutiny.  Of course the opposite is also possible and very freeing, a believer open with her/his convictions may encounter conjecture that exposes a skewed reality.

From strong belief, everything is possible!