Where Do Our Beliefs Really Come From?
Do you have faith in God or do you believe the concept is an infantile notion? Do you believe health insurance ought to be a right or that the government should keep out of the industry? Do you believe most people in the world are good or are they bad? Do you think socialism makes the best economy or is it capitalism? Is the #MeToo movement reforming society by outing sexual harassers or is it an unfair witch-hunt? Do you have a strong opinion about homosexuality, prostitution, or drug users?
When I was a teenager I noticed that people would speak for their pets. By putting words into the animal’s mouth, the person actually projected her own thoughts into it in a safe way. For example, “Spot is bored” really meant that the human was bored. People treated God like idealized versions of their fathers. This Superman version of God is supposed to look over them and save them. Guys who had mean mothers later had relationships with mean women but didn’t realize it, yet complained about it. (They projected their distrust to all women.)
These three examples showed me many things, but the one I am focusing on for this article is that people had no idea what the root of their beliefs were.
Beliefs may very well be the most powerful “things” in our reality. They turn thoughts and feelings into action. They are the catalyst of who we desire to be with, what we love or hate, what we will go to war for, how we view the universe and our place in it, how we raise kids, how we treat others, and are behind the attitudes we have in ordinary daily routines. The “secret” is that most of our beliefs are projections of our subconscious. What we accept as paradigms are actually found deep in our psyche and are used to protect us from confronting hurtful feelings.
Ego defense mechanisms cover this hurt. Here is a list of most of them and how they trick us into becoming attached to beliefs:
Repression is when the ego subconsciously keeps anxious thoughts buried and hidden. The ego is avoiding facing and dealing with them. We all have desires, which if acted upon, would be shameful, embarrassing, uncivilized, or illegal. Since most people cannot fuse their good and dark Sides, the ego allows these threatening feelings to come up in a disguised, coded way, like in dreams or creativity.
With repression, you have a narrow view of yourself: you are a “good person”. And if you are no longer a “good person”, it had to be because of someone or something else that had changed you. Since you forget or ignore your filthy desires, they come out when you are sleeping but you may also be projecting them via art, music, writing, or other creative endeavors.
Example: you are attracted to someone whom you are not allowed to have a relationship with. You could either act upon it and deal with the consequences (possibly civil, legal, or shame). So the feeling gets repressed and you could have dreams about the person, either symbolic or not. Or it could projected out if you create TV shows and your story is about this forbidden love. Even deeper still, just to show you how serious I am that everything we believe is based on our subconscious desires: this entire article is about my own ego defenses, and I am trying to pitch this article as an accurate description of reality. It could be or it could just be my own ego. It’s up for you decide on my argument’s merits.
The classical definition of projection (as opposed to the one I have been using so far) is the act of assigning unacceptable thoughts, feelings, and motives to “the others”. The easiest examples are men who condemn homosexuality but who were living closeted gay lives, such as U.S. Senator Larry Craig and Pastor Ted Haggard. They hate themselves and project it towards entire group. Now, here is the philosophical secret: just because they could have justified their beliefs about homosexuals from The Bible or extreme evolutionary belief systems, the rationality was just a cover for their projection. If you grasp this notion, you could understand the purpose of this article. Adolf Hitler may have contracted syphilis from a Jewish prostitute decades before he was the Fuhrer. Get it?
Displacement is the act of substituting/transferring the target of your unacceptable emotion with another one. Example: you get chewed out by your boss, so you go home and kick the dog. You could not kick your boss. You were rejected by a woman, so rape another one. You feel that your dad did not respect you, so you declare war on Iraq to gain his respect.
Rationalization is making excuses to cover the fact that you did something unacceptable to your ego. Example: you failed an exam, and instead of saying you just didn’t study enough or that you were not smart enough, you have to say how bad the teacher was and how poorly the questions were worded. CM Punk did not win his first and only UFC match? Well, he said it wasn’t about winning anyway, it was about the journey and to inspire kids all around the world to live their dreams.
Reaction Formation occurs when a person does or says something that is the opposite of what he/she really wants. People who get on soapboxes and shout to the world about the horrors of pornography are really projecting their shame that they indulge in it. I realize that you may be offended at this notion. After all, we are conditioned to speak up, protest, and “take action” against social injustices or things “we believe in”. Yet look at the Green Movement and how the biggest spokespeople like Al Gore an Leonardo DiCaprio waste gas in jets. The New Republic writer had to twist this into pretzels to rationalize (see previous paragraph) to defend Leo and Al. Take a look at all of the men who have been outed by the #MeToo movement: most of them were White Knights who preached about their women’s rights.
Denial refers to rejecting that you have any negative thoughts or feelings. You can easily see this when someone says they never get angry, usually in a loud voice. Denial is obvious in the pro-drug movement. People like Joe Rogan love to extol the virtues of marijuana, for example, so much to not only deny any ill-effects, but to proclaim that smoking actually is healthy for you and prevents disease. Granted Joe Rogan could cite all the studies he wants and in fact, he may be correct in that marijuana may be less of a vice than alcohol or cigarette smoking. But he denies possibility of a link between the increase in car crashes, or the danger of addiction (10%) or really any negative side effect. He has to resort to labeling any study which contradicts his belief as being government sponsored propaganda.
Regression is the act of reverting back to a child in response to a stressful situation. Although it could be harmless like sleeping with a Teddy Bear (don’t we all?), it could become dangerous, such as overeating or developing other oral fixations. Because you are not aware of this, this becomes your lifestyle which you will rationalize. Another part of acting out as a kid is that your arguments are immature, baseless, and selfish. It may also come out in OCD tidiness and cleanliness, which you will defend as being a rational philosophy, but taken to the extreme it is debilitating.
Intellectualization is an escape into reason by avoiding uncomfortable emotions. That’s why someone like Sam Harris is scary. He preaches the wonders of rational, logical thought and turned it into a pseudo-religion without a God. He condemns and is clearly arrogant and condescending, But he is hiding. From what? Who knows? But he is a perfect example of someone who built a philosophical belief system using hundreds of thousands of words to hide his emotions. Usually people like usually feel inadequate about their skills. A fictional example is how Bruce Wayne wanted to stop all criminals as Batman because he cannot cope with the murder of his parents. Another example is a rape victim who never dealt with the painful emotions in therapy, so she took up self-defense, became a social justice advocate, and super-feminist.
Sublimation is the act of taking all that raw energy your ego prevents you from acting on (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) and transfers it to a worthy cause. In many ways, this is the default setting for a productive world. You could either masturbate to porn all day while smoking out or you could actually do something with your life, such as become a programmer, artist, or go to the freakin’ gym or play sports. Ever notice how virgins make the best volunteers for church functions to help the homeless? They transfer all their sexual energy into something good.
But let’s not kid ourselves, yes, almost everyone in any position of power or who is known publicly for being a successful person in his or her given field is actually an example sublimation. Whether it be a person dealing with anger who becomes the controlling CEO, or the star quarterback or musician who is focused on conquering women, or even a surgeon who wanted to cut people, human society is built on transforming these urges into being productive citizens.
Final Examples and Summation
The powerful men in Hollywood who produced, directed, or starred in movies which featured “progressive” sex, drug, and violent scenes were projecting their subconscious ego defense mechanisms onto society…the Presidents of the United States (all of them) make more sense if you see them as a little boys in big suits…White Knight SJW dudes just want to shag…the preacher standing on the soapbox condemning homosexuality is really gay…the Alpha Males and Alpha Females who bury themselves in work and outside of work activities are running from their urges…an intellectual libertarian/anarchist like Stefan Molyneux has mommy (and daddy) issues and built a large portion of his platform on the problem of single motherhood and not having a dad to teach him how to shave…CM Punk became a rebel against society because he had messed up parents; he became a Straight Edger because he was afraid to become his dad…do you get it yet?
I am no exception, and neither are you. I am not trying to pick on anyone. I could be friends with any of the people I mentioned here, well maybe not Harvey. I get knowledge from all sources. My point is that for the most part all beliefs are founded on bullshit and it’s time we stopped kidding ourselves about how rational or “correct” they are. It is easier and arguably more effective believe in a Higher Power and Objective Morality. We still have time to go back to that.
It’s about time we came face to face with our Dark Sides and accept it as part of ourselves, and learn from it. We have to realize that the so-called best movies, books, and art of our time are projections of the creators as opposed to some objective, neutral “thing” outside of themselves.
If you knew all this beforehand, I didn’t mean to be condescending about pointing out the obvious, but the internet has articles on how to tie your shoes. The bottom line is that you must do your due diligence and stop just worshiping so-called experts and creators who are really projecting their own shit on us. We have enough of our own shit to deal with. They do not have any special skills that we do not have. We are all part of the collective unconscious, all parts of The Source of Life (to get spooky). People have to make a living so it helps to have a gimmick and come up with something to stand for, supported by some passion or logic, but the truth is that they came to it via ego defense mechanisms. You have to analyze the facts on your own.