Just finished a novel exploring the philosophy of creating Artificial Intelligence (AI) robotic ‘beings,’ which as a serious consideration in today’s world is both fascinating and somewhat freaky. What I enjoyed most about the book was the exposition of a specific religious perspective set against establishing proposed ‘rights’ for a new and artificially created ‘life-form,’ all of which are likely to be actual issues for the future of humanity (as it is now with ‘cloning’)—issues like the ethics and morality of actually creating a new life-form.
Another issue explored was: Is there really an afterlife for humans and/or AIs, and does an AI have a ‘soul’ that could transition to such a location upon expiration from the earth plane?
Overall the book examined FAITH in general—WHAT we believe to be true and WHY we insist on those beliefs when there is so little scientific evidence to support it.
As a book, to me it was pretty good at times when it considered serious social issues such as questioning the validity and basis of BELIEF in general, but then it slipped into the standard plot/action/main character-triumphs sort of thing to which popular fiction often resorts, which left me feeling a bit unsatisfied; but still it got me thinking about these core issues, which is a good thing.
I do love reading a good philosophical expose mainly because it helps me to clarify what I truly believe myself.
Perhaps you also might find that over the course of your lives one of the most important aspects of finding your own truth is to define what you actually DO believe about the world around you so you can better understand how and why you interact with that same world because of those BELIEFS.
Sometimes we may not even know exactly what we DO believe about life in general until we can better comprehend what it is that we DON’T believe about it—it’s a means of establishing comparative values, etc.
Other times, all it takes is for someone to make a statement against some premise that for whatever reason we hold dear to our hearts, and we are instantly ‘triggered’—our tempers immediately flare, and we know then that a ‘personal belief’ was just questioned, and we automatically reacted to the questioning of it. That’s a very insightful moment for us if we can recognize it as such.
Why that is so potentially insightful is because that many of our most basic beliefs were established during our earliest years of initial comprehension about the world around us—back when we were around 3 or 4 years of age when our brains were just starting to ‘make some kind of sense’ over all that we were experiencing daily.
PAIN and PLEASURE were big motivators back then since our newly-developing brains weren’t yet capable of logic or reasoning. And our caregivers often used those simple motivators to train us toward correct or acceptable behaviors. Threats of punishments to come or being shamed and ridiculed for displeasing them—where we felt less loved by them if we acted in certain ways—were all behavioral modification techniques employed to teach us how to view others and ourselves in the new world that we were exploring.
Back then, most parents wanted us to adopt their particular beliefs both for our personal safety and for their ease in training us in ‘acceptable behaviors’ to live in the world that they best knew—the world that had nurtured their own beliefs and had guided their own parents to train them when they, in reverse order, were babies themselves.
Dominant religious institutions in our particular world locale often tried to establish their early influence in our budding awareness to help shape the new world that we saw from their perspective, so we could either adapt easily into or counter the workings of the affecting world into which we were being forcefully thrust by simple reason of our birth there.
Even educational institutions during our early development were often a mix of secular and religious influences, depending on where we lived or how we were raised. Some were open-minded and all-faiths considering while others were restrictive and limited as to what true ‘believers’ could think, say or do.
It wasn’t until late in our young-adult development period when we first began to understand that while everyone viewed life in their own particular way, that maybe we did or maybe didn’t agree with them, but that it was okay to feel either agreement or disagreement about it. Or was it okay to question those other beliefs—or to question our OWN beliefs that we had known from childhood onwards?
Maybe we experienced some uncomfortable situations when disagreeing with the beliefs of our childhood didn’t feel so ‘okay’ to us. Maybe we found that if we were willing to agree with the established group doctrine, we were more easily accepted into the group itself; but if we disagreed with it, we were more likely to be criticized, ostracized, or even rejected by those closest to us, perhaps including family members, so it was a pretty big deal IF and WHEN we first made those rebellious noises of disagreement with the norms and standards of our previously-accepted world views.
That’s the thing about beliefs in general—everyone has them and they may not be exactly the same, but should everyone have a right to their own beliefs?
I guess that’s something you’ll have to decide for yourselves.
Intelligent beliefs are the ones you adopt with full awareness of your true feelings for WHY you feel the way that you do.
When you can at least admit that WHY-ness factor and locate the origin of your accepting that belief as TRUTH for you, then you will know that it is truly YOUR belief that you’ve adopted—not merely a reconstituted, parental belief from a time when you weren’t capable of actually considering the merits of it for yourself.
Or maybe the world around you hasn’t changed much since your childhood, but maybe YOU HAVE.