Belief signifies an emotion that alters perception without veritable
evidence. It can be synonymised as faith or merely “a feeling” that cannot be
defied with reason as it isn’t tangible. In opposition to knowledge, belief is
a factor grounded to a sceptic foundation. Plato’s saying, “Unless we can
escape our limited perspectives, we never see what is really around us” fortifies
how reality is a subjective experience because we are limited and confined to
our own human way of seeing things. This title raises certain knowledge issues with
respect to its revelation in the theatre industry playing only a small part of
its overall effect. Although the hypothesis of the phrase “suspension of
disbelief” remains static worldwide, its’ interpretations and deductions may
vary on an individual basis. The formal consensus of this term objectifies it
to be the sacrifice of reason and reality to support an unjustifiable emotion
which can hardly be rationalised with based on concrete evidence. Does accepting
belief affect knowledge, or is it a predetermined idea that cannot be reasoned
with? If so, to what extent? Can rejection of belief oppose knowledge in any
way? Repeatedly asking myself these questions ultimately led to the formation
of my knowledge question being – to what extent is knowledge necessary to
oppose accepted belief systems?

Religious knowledge systems provide a variety of outlooks on how
diverse the world truly is. The bias towards blind faith in some individuals
concludes to the claim being reason and knowledge can be influenced by beliefs.

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Although difficult to believe, the modern era does include individuals who
choose to sacrifice their reasoning ability despite having sufficient
knowledge, to devote themselves to a superpower entitled God. There are
multiple individuals who choose to associate their decisions with intuition
rather than information. A supportive example of this can be taken from a case
that took place not too long ago in the late 20th century where an
11-year-old girl, Kara Neumann, suffering from undiagnosed diabetes built up to
dehydration in her body, causing her to grow rapidly weak. Despite witnessing
her critical condition, her parents chose faith over fact and decided to pray
for her recovery instead of rushing her to the hospital, sacrificing
rationality. However, due to a sane thinking aunt, she was taken to the
hospital soon after, but pronounced dead on arrival. The delay caused by her parents’
reluctant attitude to believe in an undefined entity over proven science cost
them their daughters life. The determinism of their beliefs not only resulted
in the loss their child, but also being charged with reckless endangerment for
which they faced trials. Although the outcome didn’t imprison them, in
relativism, the mere significance of getting blamed for the death of their
child was enough to disrupt their lives, to an extent where their behaviour
with their other kids was lawfully monitored to ensure no other losses as such
took place. Therefore, a response that was considered reliable in a critical
situation, resulted in a grave loss solely due to ignorance of fact and the
expectational knowledge of focus on belief.

 

In contrast however, there may be situations where reason and
knowledge are either superior or independent of beliefs. In the case of
knowledge being independent of beliefs, a very common example regarding the
existence of ghosts can be taken. As mentioned by Barry Markovsky, a well-known
sociologist, ghosts appear in fragments of the human brain that perceives what
it wishes to perceive. His interview with Business Insider shares some
propositional knowledge that deduces why exactly ghosts are, and have been such
a popular belief for the longest time. The illusion created is through the
expectation of the human mind which predicts the appearance of ghosts at the
most obvious times, such as dimmed lighting or haunted houses. These thoughts
convolute the cerebral cortex which misleads the brain to believe in the
existence of something it hasn’t actually seen. An example to explore the
superiority of knowledge over belief can be taken by explaining a philosophical
term, “indirect doxastic voluntarism” which briefly surmises that we have
indirect control over our beliefs. Although societal beliefs and parental
pressures may force us to believe in a certain cause, religion for example,
true belief is only generated from within. This form of belief can be
influenced by the environment, personal experiences and other such
circumstances. Whichever the case might be, it is our own reasoning skills that
lead us to the belief that we choose to put our faith in. Without a cause or at
least a debate in our minds, we do not simply assume something to be true.

Hence, knowledge can be independent of or superior to beliefs where logical
thinking is involved and the human mind is put to test.

To sum up, the human mind is a powerful entity on its own. Although
external factors do come into play, beliefs are strengthened by an individual’s
self-awareness and ability to think for themselves before blindly believing in
a cause. However, at times, rationality seems too outreached, and the mind
directly opts for the simpler way out which is to trust their beliefs,
sacrificing all known knowledge, in which case, the result is disadvantageous.

A different perspective to this could be viewed by taking Human Sciences
into account. Under this, psychology plays a subjective role where belief can
be swayed, and knowledge, altered. Being the science that explores the
behaviour of the mind, psychology delineates the conscious and unconscious
thoughts of an individual. It puts forth perspectives that can be viewed as a
belief or manipulated to express knowledge. Utilizing this knowledge, a claim
can be made enunciating that psychology can be used to persuade the knower
against knowledge, towards belief. A viable example of this is visible in our
society. Approximately 84 percentage of the world believes in a particular
religion. This belief may have originated from free will of ancestors and
induced as authority into the modern era. A social bias that took over
rationally thinking minds led to the acceptance of religion in society. This
psychological shift became a necessity and a long time ago with no
falsifications to defy it as the paradigm was not logical, but intuitive. As
mentioned in a cover story by Beth Azar in December 2010, religion fills the
human need for finding meaning, sparing us from existential angst. “I think
therefore I am” is a pure saying by Descartes which identifies how one’s existence
is all that is truly known in the world. However, despite having no tangible or
logical knowledge of religious beliefs, the faith does not get undermined. The
strength in belief lies in the subjective truth which does not identify any one
objective to be true as it relies on perception.

However, rationalism in individuals remains persistent in the modern
era. The outlook to life is held at a more pragmatic and mutually beneficial
degree. This proceeds to counter the claim whereby having beliefs remain independent
of the psychology used to sway knowledge of the knower. A post by Gregg
Henriques in 2016 questioning the viability in psychology being a real science
mentions paradigms notices through years of research by scientists such as
Isaac Newton. These paradigms involve quantum mechanics in Physics, molecular
forces in Chemistry and the study of genetics in Biology. A common hypothesis
that can be deduced from the above discoveries would be that they all rely on
tangible evidence that has been proven through existing methodologies in the
universe. Keeping this in mind, looking at the belief system in a scientist
such as Newton’s life, we deduce that having faith in a monotheistic God did
not prevent him from unravelling wonders in the physical world. Being born to
an Anglican family, his strong belief in Christianity was kept private to
prevent opposition of mainstream Christianity. This faith can evidently be
envisaged as a strong belief, however remains independent of the social norms
which required him to be faithful to a certain God. Thus, his innovation in the
field of Physics alongside his wilful decision to Christianize himself proves
how having beliefs remain independent of the societal psychology used to sway
the knowledge of the knower which in this case was Newton.

Therefore, psychology does hold the power to persuade a knower against
knowledge, however, the effect of rationality proves superior to any other form
of conjectures that are to be made. While having beliefs can at times sway
psychology to oppose knowledge, the human mind vindicates certain aspects of
psychology to subjectify it according to its relevance and demand of the knower
itself.

From a knower’s perspective, I believe knowledge is essential to
oppose belief systems, but where knowledge fails to prevail, accepted belief
system will thrive based on social bias and norms followed through centuries.

However, the rational thinking of the modern era precedences the viability of
knowledge, hence making the term “suspension of disbelief” a rare case in the
real world.

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