I Believe…. Whatever I want

I believe that “believing” is a choice. As a child I was
told to what to believe, and that there were just some things in life that I was
just “supposed” to believe. My upbringing in a Christian household lead me to
believe that there were inherent truths or beliefs in this world that everyone
should have and if they didn’t have those beliefs then they were wrong. I think
that’s a load of shit nowadays.

From religion to education to politics people pick and choose
what they want to believe. Some people choose to believe that President Obama
wasn’t born in America even though evidence has been presented against it. Others
choose to believe that the moon landing was a hoax even though evidence has
been presented against it. I believe there are few cases where one can actually
say “I believe this or that because it is true”, perhaps only in simple math. However,
there may still be someone somewhere in the world trying to get others to share
his belief that 1+1=11.

I don’t believe that
we as humans are capable of even fathoming what “absolute truth” or “absolute
knowledge” is, let alone achieving it. For years philosophers have asked the
questions “what is knowledge” and “what makes something true”. I finally have
the answer- it doesn’t exist. Our quest for knowledge as humans will always
stop there. Metaphorically speaking, I think that inside our brains millions of
beliefs and notions float around and we decide which ones we want to accept as
truth and which ones we want to dismiss as false. As children we are raised to
believe that some things are true just because our parents say they are. This translates
in our everyday lives and causes people to blindly put faith in scientists, politicians,
religious figures, and professors. We take the information that they give us
and automatically assume it to be true when instead we should first filter out
the bullshit for ourselves. When history teachers teach different versions of
the same story, how do you decide which one’s claims are more accurate? When you
analyze literature how do you know that your “farfetched” theory of what the
author meant is really so “farfetched” at all? When someone tells you a rumor and
someone else denies it who do you believe? There is no absolute truth, there is
no right and wrong only what you choose to believe.

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One thought on “I Believe…. Whatever I want

  1. Hi Daquan,

    This is a great start to the assignment. You do a great job of laying out the reasons why you believe what you do and the reasons people might have for holding different beliefs. For instance, here you say:

    “I don’t believe that we as humans are capable of even fathoming what “absolute truth” or “absolute knowledge” is, let alone achieving it. For years philosophers have asked the
    questions “what is knowledge” and “what makes something true”. I finally have
    the answer- it doesn’t exist. Our quest for knowledge as humans will always
    stop there.”

    This is great. Remember, though, that the assignment was asking you to think about your social history. Where did you develop these beliefs? When and how did you first learn to make this argument? What have been the most important influences in your life. You talk about your upbringing, but you never talk about other influences (friends, books, life events, etc.) that might have pulled you in another direction.

    The assignment isn’t about making arguments, it’s about reflecting on where your ideas and beliefs come from.

    Later on you say this about other people:

    “As children we are raised to believe that some things are true just because our parents say they are. This translates in our everyday lives and causes people to blindly put faith in scientists, politicians, religious figures, and professors. We take the information that they give us and automatically assume it to be true when instead we should first filter out
    the bullshit for ourselves. ”

    The problem here is that you’re not really looking at people who disagree with you. You believe that belief is a choice. People who “put faith” in other figures might very well believe that they choose to do so. Who disagrees with the idea that belief is a choice? Why might they think that beliefs are influenced by social context?

    Part of the problem might be that you just fundamentally disagree with the premise of the assignment. I’m asking you to reflect on where beliefs come from, but your belief is that beliefs don’t come from anywhere except individual choice. This potentially makes it hard to answer the assignment. You’ll either have to dig deep and think about where your commitment to individualism comes from, or you’ll have to just pick a different belief and start over from scratch.

    Another, riskier option would be to throw the assignment prompt out and write a much better essay defending intellectual individualism, citing sources and laying out a really compelling argument. Then just dare me not to pass you.

    You have until September 24 to complete the revisions, but I strongly suggest submitting them ahead of time in case a second round of revisions are necessary. After you’ve edited the post, inform me in-class and I’ll mark it for review.

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