I’ve had a few conversations here, particularly with Matthieu and John Durant, which brought up the issue of, for an individual, why does one choose to think or believe one thing or another? John said very clearly that he is not motivated by caring one way or another about suffering; he cares about Truth and his actions and choices of thoughts, studies, and beliefs are based on a desire to approach Truth. Matthieu said that from a Buddhist point of view, beliefs are mental actions that have consequences, for your own suffering or well-being, as well as that of other beings that you have some effect on. At best, like with Sona’s talk now, I enjoy the clinician’s talks because there’s less of a deontological, romantic, drive to uphold [some abstract principle] at the expense of any real cost to self or others. I started out myself in youth with the same attitude about Truth, and in particular, “scientific truth” colored with a material and reductive bias. For whatever reason (I like to think it was because of the strength and courage of my convictions) I experienced a very accelerated and amplified manifestation of the negative effects of that belief system, until eventually I started to learn about how thoughts and beliefs affect the quality of life and experience. First from a psychotherapeutic context, and then later, with much more depth, from my study and practice of Buddhism and meditation. (I readily believe that others could obtain as much or more of that depth from therapy, or Buddhism, or any of a number of other paths; that’s just how it played out for me.) So now I personally enjoy more listening and socializing with people motivated by benefit rather than Truth.

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