Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why Do I Believe What I Believe?

When asked to explain his success, Arno Penzias, 1978 Nobel Prize winner for physics, said "Change starts with the individual.  So the first thing I do each morning is ask myself, 'Why do I strongly believe what I believe?'  Constantly examine your own assumptions."    from "The Art of Powerful Questions" (see www.theworldcafe.com toolkit) 

We choose our beliefs (e.g. love is better than anger, hope is better than fear), but can we always logically justify why we believe it?  Everything we believe has a source - our upbringing, education, or culture form the categories through which we process our experiences.  To even answer that question, we are subject to assumptions contained in the language of our inquiry.  Assumptions within assumptions, mirrors within mirrors.

No wonder many people need to find some firm footing in a pre-existing belief system or they would feel like Alice falling through the rabbit hole.


  1. Is there a need for "belief"? All we ever have is one thing, the current moment.-the now. It doesn't require belief. It's all there is. Nothing has ever occurred in the past or the future. There is no need for "belief" in anything, is there?

  2. I think maybe there is a need for belief in determining how I spend my now. I could believe that if I save my rent money now and not give it away, I will still have a place to live tomorrow. for example - Lil