This newsletter tries to capture a myriad of topics and commentaries and bring you greater purpose and clarity in your life and the world. My hope is this can inspire you to greater heights of understanding and a create a better future for this world!
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This is the first letter! This week i’ve been thinking a lot about “Belief Systems.”
What are they?
Why do they have so much control over us?
Why do they enable us to see certain things and not others?
They define so much of what we see to be possible and not possible in our own lives. They express themselves so thoroughly through our behaviors. They express themselves through the words we say without our awareness of them. It almost seems there’s no beginning or no end to their web, or at least because they seem so ethereal. They’re deeply rooted into the connective tissues and synaptic connections in our brains. They span throughout our past, our evolutionary biology, cultural history and the present moment.
I know for sure i’ve had a lot of belief systems that inform who I am. I was born in one of the poorest countries in the entire planet (Port-au-Prince, Haiti). And now living in the United States have formalized divergent belief systems in me. Growing up catholic. Seeing the world and it’s history through a post-colonial lens. Now, as a immigrant in my belief in the American dream towards social upward mobility.
One of the side effects I would say i’ve gained from having been a production of two extremely different realities is to know when a belief system no longer serves me:
How searching for new ones creates more clarity.
Welding different branches of these systems together opens more spaces of discovery inside of me.
I now know that the ideas i’ve been taught to believe are not a fact, its a perception, a symbol, and an opinion. Its a belief and those things can changed. Thus the possibility of a more adaptive and sustainable society inside of me and externally is very possible, and desirable.
I often see so many humans in our society who hold on so closely to their belief systems even after they’ve outgrown it.
Maybe its out of passion.
It gives them their sense of rightness and justice to undo wrongs of society.
Maybe its out of fear.
They hold on to it because its familiar.
It makes sense to them.
Its endearing to them.
It was once a vast space of excitement. A vast field to explore new lands and new territories in their minds and their living life. It was an aha moment that brought to them an enfolding sense of wonder. It brought meaning and understanding into how their own universe and lives worked. How our collective society functioned. How it ought to function.
Often, this explored space of our belief systems becomes stale, dry, arid lands and is destined to transform into dogma. Something that blocks the journey of experiencing new areas of expression, new radical thought forms and new seedlings of meaning that can aid them in their own personal evolution. An evolutionary pathway that I know will always allow them to be their best selves in whatever vision they choose to journey and pursue. An evolutionary pathway towards their humanization and endless empathy.
Beliefs Systems and Our Meaning Society
Yet, I also see the pain and suffering it causes them when one holds on so strongly to old belief systems that do not serve them any longer. Micro-misery moment to moment that can be precious learnings but destroys our being of everything. The mental loops repeating in the mind over and over. The ups and downs of the life are ever greater. The attack thoughts that attack them - “your not good enough, you can’t make it, don’t do this people will hate you, you will look stupid...etc.” The habits they know that reel them into oblivion. Their rigid positionality and stubbornness. Their toxic self-righteousness. I’ve noticed this in my own life. These are sure signs that we hold within ourselves belief systems that are not ours or simply its gears have rusted and has increased the toxicity of our psychology. It has held hostage the complex meaning-society that lives inside of us.
Belief systems are a tricky thing. They do not end. Nor can their start be rooted properly. A good process I have seen for me stems from the discernment between my core values, my personal vision, my personal mission, my personal actions and decisions, and my identities. It sounds easy and simple.
But can you map them out?
What fuels each of them?
What fuels them really?
It is from a story you’ve internalized from the external world?
Are they from prior decisions in your lives in how you should live it because you see a trajectory for your path and do not want to give it up and all that you’ve worked until this point?
Do they stem from a pain you personally experienced?
It is from a friend that influenced you to go a specific direction in life?
The World As Will
Discerning these different forms are pivotal but at another threshold, deep underneath lives our ‘Wills.”
I look to German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in his ideas of “The world as will.” Within us he says lies irrational forces. Thousands of them. Thousands of “Wills” and he defines them as — “a mindless, aimless, non-rational impulse at the foundation of our instinctual drives, and at the foundational being of everything.”
The forces of these “Wills” that inhabit us are the winds that venture out past beyond the plateaus of our belief systems that we hold on to. They’re the spark of which if properly channelled can vitalize our life. But we have to tame them. Yet we have to let them flow outwardly and freely at the same time towards our destined personal evolution and not contain them within an old systems of belief that doesn’t serve you. You ‘Will’ constrict yourself.
Expanding The Umwelt
Another Idea I would refer to here is by Jakob von Uexküll, a German biologist and Thomas A. Sebeok, an Hungarian-American linguist who defined Umwelt - as a self-centered reality. Every single species on the planet lives in his own reality and holds a referential system and notices what is most salient to them. Their operating structure of their world.
This is our task, to increase our Umwelt endlessly. Increasing our sense of perception, and our awareness of the world will free us from our own suffering. It has for me.
Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator coined the term Conscientization that details this as a means of raising our own awareness about ourselves and our social reality through reflection and action. All of it can be aided by our ‘Wills’ those gut instincts, our intuition and impulses towards curiosity and newness.
It Starts With Us
In this age of information, we have a crisis in our modern society. Thought patterns are out of our control. Outdated belief systems inside each of us individually that expresses themselves collectively at the most macro level systemically.
I suspect these have created dehumanizations, polarizations, injustices and inequalities that have evolve over time in many different forms. We become more prone to control and adopting fear based systems of belief.
We cannot expect to build better social societal systems in this future (even with our best intentions) with the same level of thinking and beliefs that has created them in the first place. Especially if we haven’t created within ourselves and in our minds, an evolving belief system capable of expanding, reproducing and maintaining itself.
Thanks as always for reading. Please share this newsletter if you like it or reply if you have feedback!
In good spirit,