Accept a few key premises (hooks) for any given system of thought and you will soon find yourself believing in that whole thought system. These premises must be accepted wholeheartedly for you to be baited. To fully integrate these premises into your being you must also lay aside any salient beliefs you have that contradict the content of these newly accepted premises. Since established thought systems that have existed for many years all have built in defenses within their frameworks, (they wouldn't have been able to survive without these defenses), one can easily perceive that given system of belief to be the correct way of viewing reality (the defenses make the structure of the system ward off attacks from competing belief systems).

Once you are hooked into a given belief system most ideas one comes into contact with appear to support that belief system. The reason for this is that we have a natural penchant for protecting whatever given system of thought that we currently accept. Imagine if one's foundational belief system was constantly being dismantled. That would not have good survival value. Evolution has selected for new ideas that challenge our foundational belief system to appear threatening. Therefore, the ideas that we encounter that cannot be easily subconsciously spun to promote whatever belief system we currently accept, are either quickly dismissed or easily forgotten.

Because of our miniscule understanding of existence we really have no way to ascertain whether any of the foundational premises that we currently hold are true. Therefore, what makes one system of belief better than another? Utility? Just because a thought system has utility doesn't mean it's true. Minimizing suffering? Because of our miniscule understand of the totality of existence we have no way of knowing whether our actions are in fact minimizing suffering in the short and long term (we can easily envision scenarios in which performing a given action can reduce suffering in the short term while increasing suffering in the long run).

I believe it's important to make a conscious decision to not hold on too strongly to any foundational belief system. The reason for this is that our pathetic understanding of existence is so limited that we really have no way of justifying any system of thought over any other.

A cool experiment one can do is to periodically accept the tenets of a thought system that you find repugnant. It's amazing but pretty soon one finds themselves believing in that thought system as strongly as any other system of thought they have ever held. Then after a while buy into the foundational tenants of another belief system and you'll find it equally compelling.

You might ask what the point of performing such an experiment might be? It gives one perspective, and in doing so promotes tolerance and understanding for those who believe in thought systems that one may currently hold as absurd. Once one realizes that every system of thought people hold is equally absurd, life becomes much more pleasant. It becomes much easier to not become emotionally affected in a negative way by the views of others and it promotes tolerance and love between all of the wonderful and perfect beings that exist. I love you all equally and unconditionally!

By Agni James