Inter-belief Conversation Cafe: How Do Our Beliefs Create Our Reality?

If our beliefs are altered do we become different people? Do we see a different world? Is there objective fact truly independent of our preconceptions? Can we live in a rational world unpolluted by our childhood? Do QAnon supporters, progressives, fundamentalists, social-media addicts, and right-thinking people (like ourselves?) inhabit the same universe? Is Reality real because we believe it so, or because objective measurements prove it? How objective is measurement? Could “Measurable Reality” perhaps be Immeasurable, limited only by the assumptions we use to create it? Should we just go with our feelings, or look at what is with sharper eyes?

Descartes stated, “I think, therefore, I am.” How did Descartes decide he was an “I,” and not a “We”? Was Descartes’ bedrock of reality his sometimes-ability to engage in rational thought? How rationally do we think? Some say the ability to make decisions depends on emotion, and that just weighing options rationally will get nothing done. Should Descartes have instead said, “We do because We feel”? Is our personality a computer weighing measured consequence or a cauldron bubbling toil and trouble? Or do we combine reasoned reality and felt dreams that lead us to our Heavens and Hells?

Do Theists, Atheists, Conservatives, and Progressives see the same reality? If we believe suffering is an illusion, are we critical of the person who yells in pain for each stubbed toe? Are there indeed no atheists in foxholes, and no survivors of war who still believe in god? Do different political or spiritual beliefs create different worlds, different ways of viewing a single world, or different attitudes about living in the world? Is there a common reality in our human spirit? Or is our tribalism rooted in our evolutionary struggle to each survive? If we shared the same beliefs, in time would we really all get along better, when at times we all hate the person we see in the mirror?

Will our beliefs change us? Will not bowing to the specter of illness keep us healthy? If we forgive, will we heal? Will anger and passion shorten our life or vivify it? Will pessimism lead to acceptance or futility? Will simplicity bring robustness or vulnerability? Will ceremonies and medicine both heal? Can Will alone overcome Fantasy? Or can Reality only come out of a bottle — or a mushroom?

Does Truth come from non-fiction or fiction? Do stories help us process the world and make sense of it? Are the Iliad and Odyssey “true” even if the Trojan War never happened and Helen did not launch a thousand ships? Do scriptures provide believers “truth” even if Adam and Eve never lived in the Garden of Eden, and Buddha never resisted an army of demons in his final meditation? Are science textbooks “true,” even if nature is less than orderly and experiments are often not replicable? Were Einstein’s “thought experiments” speculation or “Seeing the mind of God”?

On Monday, June 21 from 7-9 PM by Zoom, Inter-belief Conversation Café will ask whether reality is real or just something we believe. Our agreements of open-mindedness, acceptance, curiosity, discovery, sincerity, brevity, and confidentiality will for 2 hours be our reality. But we share one belief — that everyone should come to this conversation!

Inter-belief Conversation Cafe returns through the magic of Zoom.
The link is http://www.zoom.us/j/99973128471.