The Important Difference Between Concepts & Beliefs
The attachment can be positive or negative - comforting or protective. The more emotionally attached someone is to a concept, the harder it becomes to change and understand rationally. But there is another psychological factor at work which further reinforces beliefs: Being right makes you feel good.
Let’s think of it as a range:
There's 4 Main Groups
|Concept||Has little or no emotional attachment. Information supporting the understanding of the concept is easily integrated into the internal symbol. Information conflicting with the understanding of the concept is easily accepted when the new information is logical and comes from a credible source.|
|Belief||Has some emotional attachment, either positive or negative. Information agreeing with the belief is easily incorporated, but information disagreeing with the belief is seen with skeptical eyes.|
|Strong Belief||Has even more emotional attachment. Information agreeing with the belief will produce a positive response in the person, will be easily incorporated, and will further cement the strong belief. Information conflicting with the strong belief will cause a negative emotional reaction in the holder of the belief.|
|Core Belief||Is a cornerstone of someone's understanding of reality. Information conflicting with one of these beliefs is highly resisted and often cannot be considered by the Unconscious Mind Operating System (UMOS) due to the high level of emotional attachment. As soon as a conflict is identified, emotional reasoning takes over and any ability for logic flies out the window.|
When a concept becomes a belief, we become resistant to information contradicting that belief - even when the information comes from a credible source. It becomes increasing difficult to be objective about a concept the more emotionally charged it becomes. This is a problem in the information age, when we are constantly learning so much more about pretty much everything.
Beliefs can be dangerous. Our oceans are overfished, but people are not willing to change their beliefs about eating these creatures. Wildfires have become rampant, but many people still believe global climate change is a hoax. Political systems are proved to be corrupt, but people think more of the same can fix it. Addicts often can't recognize when they have a problem because that means they have to give up the source of their pleasure.
When it comes down to it, beliefs blind us. They stop us from seeing what is right in front of our eyes because we don't want to lose the emotional benefit the belief provides. Whether that is the delicious taste of tuna, hope the Earth will be habitable for their children, pride in one's country, the escapism of drugs, or anything else - if humanity does not start questioning their beliefs, we are in a lot of trouble.
Even scientists fall into this trap. They will resist new information because they have identified emotionally with certain concepts. With so much new information constantly being discovered, this can really hold scientific progress back.
Concepts are still able to bring us emotional satisfaction and protect us from danger. The difference is you are not emotionally attached to a concept staying a certain way because you identify it as 'me.' My concept of 'heights' keeps me from jumping off of many things, but because I do not have an emotional charge on it, I can also enjoy activities like skydiving and bungee jumping. I get a lot of pleasure from exploring and thinking about the inner workings of the mind, but if someone was to prove some or all of my theory incorrect, I would celebrate it because that would lead to an even better understanding of how the mind works!
When it comes down to it, beliefs aren't useful anymore. However, by understanding our biology and how concepts and beliefs work, we can improve communication, understand 'reality' on a deeper level, and alleviate suffering.