• Purple Pond
    272
    Suppose you are a 9/11 truther and someone comes over to you and says "I'll give you a thousand dollars if you stopped believing that 9/11 was an inside job". Your are homeless and really desperate for that money. How would you go about getting rid of that belief? If that wasn't hard enough, how would you prove to that person you no longer think 9/11 was an inside job?

    Some beliefs we have are not helpful to us and set us back in life. If there were a method of getting rid of beliefs it might be beneficial.
  • StreetlightX
    3.3k
    "Get it into your head that, if you are unable to believe, it is because of your passions, since reason impels you to believe and yet you cannot do so. Concentrate then not on convincing yourself ... but by diminishing your passions. You want to find faith and you do not know the road. You want to be cured of unbelief and you ask for the remedy: learn from those who were once bound like you and who now wager all they have. These are people who know the road you wish to follow, who have been cured of the affiiction of which you wish to be cured: follow the way by which they began. They behaved just as if they did believe.

    ...That will make you believe quite naturally, and will make you more docile. 'Now what harm will come to you from choosing this course? You will be faithful, honest, humble, grateful, full of good works, a sincere, true friend ... It is true you will not enjoy noxious pleasures, glory and good living, but will you not have others? I tell you that you will gain even in this life, and that at every step you take along this road you will see that your gain is so certain and your risk so negligible that in the end you will realize, that you have wagered on something certain and infinite for which you have paid nothing."

    Pascal's advice.
  • Kippo
    62
    Two ways
    1) Learn that the world of human affairs is not very structured in general, but that we tend to impose narrative on it. Conspiracy often occurs of course, but it is between a small number of people with very clear and simple goals - such as financial gain in exchange for illicit favour, and they are often found out. Large conspiracies cannot exist. Large false narratives can but such narratives are fed by group intransigence - "THEY do this evil to US" etc.

    2) Devise a new conspiracy and sell it to the person, then expose it as your invention.
  • AJJ
    102
    People buy into conspiracy theories by accepting the evidence and rational offered in favour of them, and subsequently taking all opposition to them to be part of the conspiracy. You could believe anything this way, so it seems what guides the belief is desire; they simply want to believe it. With that in mind, perhaps if the money was more important than the belief you would simply, through a desire to, accept the evidence and rational against the conspiracy theory.
  • Mariner
    332
    If you want to believe otherwise as you now do, figure out how your behavior would change, and then change it. The mind follows the body.

    If your behavior wouldn't change, why would you want to change your belief?
  • Christoffer
    121
    The only way to get rid of beliefs is to train yourself to be a constant skeptic about your own ideas and convictions. You can't erase a specific belief, it's a set of mind that challenge all ideas and through that focus on the rational and logical reasoning rather than cognitive biases.

    An important question though: does the ability to be skeptical about your own and others ideas require a certain level of IQ? Or a certain Big Five makeup? If so, it might be impossible for some people to be skeptical and instead jump between different sets of biases and beliefs rather than challenging them, regardless of motivation.
  • Mww
    98


    A belief that can be bought is a persuasion, and does not stand as determining a conviction. Receiving a thousand dollars to say something, is insufficient ground to stipulate the conviction being influenced has altered accordingly. One can easily say whatever contributes to his wants, regardless of what he actually believes.

    Belief is, after all, nothing but a single person’s judgement made on a given set of conditions objectively sufficient for him. Therefore, the only way to change his belief is with a set of conditions with objectively certain for him, which is called knowledge, or, suspension of one subjectively valid conviction for another.
  • TheMadFool
    2.7k
    Your post reminded me of a feature missing from our memory mechanism - a delete button.

    We can forget something unconsciously but not deliberately.

    You seem to, I'm probably mistaken, want such a feature for human memory. Some moments in life are truly forgettable. But are they?

    If evolution is true we have been molded by our environment into ''perfect'' survival machines.

    Now ask yourself, ''is it good or beneficial to forget?''

    The answer is ''no'' because memory is part of learning which is essential for survival. If you forget that your friend died after eating a poisonous mushroom it is likely that you too will err in the same way. So, forgetting is bad and remembering is good.

    Does this mean that forgetting is an evolutionary disadvantage?

    Forgetting is taken to be a fault of memory and we're advised in many ways how to sharpen our remembering skills.

    But, is forgetting really bad?

    It seems that our unconscious amnesiac tendency has evolved along with remembering skills. Sometimes people forget traumatic events (paradoxically as remembering would be an advantage for future avoidance) and that seems to ''help'' the person(s) concerned cope. To remember, in such cases, would be to relive the horror and make life miserable. So, forgetting seems to be an ''advantage'' here.

    A fine line to tread isn't it? To remember enough to get by and forget enough to be happy.
  • Jake
    1.1k
    I'm not sure it's possible to get rid of beliefs, but it is possible to undermine them through the processes of philosophy. It seems to me that every idea ever invented can be ripped to shreds in the right hands. Seeing this tends to put all ideas in a different light, useful to a degree, but never a perfect "one true way".
  • hachit
    23
    So if I'm understanding you right the 9/11 thing is irelivent and your asking how do you actually put down what you belive. Simple you hang around others that belive the same as you what to belive. Called social engineering we form believes base on exposure to things. So to disregard a beleve you need to be exposed to the opposite. May take years though.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5k
    I think the best way to get rid of unwanted beliefs is to forget them. Unlike The Mad Fool, I think that this is actually very possible. The best way to forget things is with distraction and time. Time will actually do it on its own and we get forgetful when we age, then we die and I assume all memories are lost.

    If evolution is true we have been molded by our environment into ''perfect'' survival machines.

    Now ask yourself, ''is it good or beneficial to forget?''

    The answer is ''no'' because memory is part of learning which is essential for survival. If you forget that your friend died after eating a poisonous mushroom it is likely that you too will err in the same way. So, forgetting is bad and remembering is good.
    TheMadFool

    The answer is ''no'' because memory is part of learning which is essential for survival. If you forget that your friend died after eating a poisonous mushroom it is likely that you too will err in the same way. So, forgetting is bad and remembering is good.[/quote]

    Just because it is more often than not, beneficial to remember, doesn't mean that it is always beneficial to remember. We have evolved such that living creatures die, and memories are lost, so this argument about survival is a bit weak. "Survival" in the context of evolution is about survival of the species, not the individual. So it appears to be good for the species if the individuals, with their own idiosyncrasies, and personal memories, pass on. Life evolving on this planet needs a mechanism whereby memories which are good for the creatures are passed on, and memories which are bad for the creatures are forgotten. The mind is fallible and the mistakes which it makes must be somehow forgotten in order that we can look at things in a new light.
  • TheMadFool
    2.7k
    I said we can forget unwittingly. I also said forgetting could be a blessing sometimes.

    What I meant was:

    1. We have an urge to remember
    2. It isn't possible to wilfully forget. Try forgetting your name. Unless you have brain damage that isn't possible even if you distracted yourself or emply other techniques you suggest.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5k
    2. It isn't possible to wilfully forget. Try forgetting your name. Unless you have brain damage that isn't possible even if you distracted yourself or emply other techniques you suggest.TheMadFool

    I think you can willfully forget through distraction. It would be very difficult to forget your name though because people keep reminding you. Maybe if you lived in isolation you could accomplish that Every time the thought comes back which you want to forget, distract yourself so that it goes way. It gets easier and easier to make it go away, and the memory gets more and more vague, coming back less often. Eventually it just doesn't come back. The thing is, remembering takes effort so forgetting is not as difficult as you might think.
  • DingoJones
    403


    I think what the Mad Fool is saying is that its impossible to forget by simply willing it to happen, it would take more than that as you describe.
    Correct me if im wrong Fool.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5k

    Well of course, no one would expect that you could simply will anything to happen, you have to act on it to achieve success.
  • TheMadFool
    2.7k
    I think you can willfully forget through distractionMetaphysician Undercover

    I don't think you're actually talking about memory here. Distraction takes your mind off of something. Say there's a problem you're facing and you just don't want to think about it because it's irritating. What do most people do? They distract themselves.

    To use a computer analogy, the memory object is still on the hard drive but you're occupying the CPU with some other application that doesn't need the said object. You haven't actually forgotten. You're simply avoiding processing it.
  • Bitter Crank
    7k
    If you want to believe otherwise as you now do, figure out how your behavior would change, and then change it. The mind follows the body,\.Mariner

    Your view is all too rare. William James thought that the mind followed the body as well.

    I'm not sure it's possible to get rid of beliefsJake

    I'm not sure either. It can be a very slow process, megatons of processor time for deeply seated beliefs.

    So for the 9/11 truther: We could just send you to a political reeducation camp until you decide that it is time for you to straighten out.

    Or follow just a couple of simple steps:

    a) Stop reading articles related to 9/11 -- no matter what the article says.
    b) Stop expressing opinions about 9/11.
    c) When you find yourself thinking about 9/11, think about squirrels or Brexit.
    d) avoid proximity with people who have opinions about 9/11 similar to those you used to entertain.
    e) avoid even looking at people who have strong opinions about 9/11 truthers.
    f) eliminate 9/11 from your repertoire: never set your alarm or 9:11; make no appointments for 9/11; never buy $9.11 worth of groceries; never drive 911 miles in a single trip; never swim 9 laps in 11 minutes; never dial 911.
    g) become obsessed with the history of the Golden Gate Bridge or something else a long ways from New York City.
    h) meditate on the idea that the United States Government is incompetent in all areas at all times and has always been
    j) build short, squat buildings with Lego bricks. Avoid structures which are taller than they are wide.
    k) If you live in New York City, move to Des Moines, Iowa. Cease thinking about NYC -- ever.
    l) Have your name changed, get a new social security number, cancel all your credit cards. Start over.
    m) Do not watch the first opening credits of the Sopranos
    n) Avoid situations where anyone will mention world, trade, world trade, towers, or you know what.
  • Joshs
    266
    You dont get rid of beliefs, because beliefs arent data and the memory iisn't a filing cabinet. Beliefs are subsets of larger frames of perspective that form our ongoing worldviews. Worldviews are very stable and evolve very slowly. The life work of a philosopher or artist or fiction writer amounts to variations on a slowly changing theme. Beliefs arise out of such themes. You can forget a particular belief but that wont affect the larger background worldview which justified and nourished that belief. The enduring nature of worldviews is the reason we talk past each other when we argue politics or religion. The facts of a situation mean nothing outside of a scheme of interpretation and that's where larger worldvews come into play In arguments over global warming, gun control or immigration facts are just proxies for clashes of worldviews.
  • Terrapin Station
    6k
    It doesn't seem to me that we can choose to believe or not believe anything. At least not simply or directly.

    However, I think we can steer or influence beliefs (and preferences, etc.) over time--sometimes a LOT of time--by learning or focusing on or immersing ourselves in particular things . . . although sometimes the results can be unpredictable.
  • Mariner
    332
    Your view is all too rare. William James thought that the mind followed the body as wellBitter Crank

    It is another application of Pascal's wager. If people could get rid of the prejudice and read the relevant portion of the Pensées, it would do a lot of good.
  • Jamesk
    303
    By replacing them with knowledge. Beliefs can be manipulated, knowledge can't.
  • Joshs
    266
    The only 'knowledge' that can't be manipulated is knowledge that is utterly ignorant of the contingent conditions of its production, and so blind to its inpermanence.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.3k
    The best way to get rid of beliefs is to expose them (to data, pressure, criticism, and tests, ideally).

    If a belief persists despite constant and concerted attack (by one's self and others), then congratulations, you've found an approximate truth.
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