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    Thread: Probability vs Possibility, what is it better to believe in?

    1. #1
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      Probability vs Possibility, what is it better to believe in?

      Is it better to focus on things which are most probably true, or to believe in things which make you happier? Or, to put it another way, is it better to strive for objective truth or functionality?

      I've been thinking about the effect belief has on reality. If you're a magician, then you subscribe to the belief that your outer world reflects your inner world. In other words if you cultivate your inner world into something beautiful, your outer world has no choice but to fall into place. This belief has been propagated since Buddha. Napoleon Hill, author of the book "Think and Grow Rich," is essentially the father of the Law of Attraction as we know it today. But I'm not necessarily arguing in favor of law of attraction. I don't think it's necessary you believe in the law of attraction in order to take this argument seriously. All you have to agree on is that it's impossible for a mind to conceptualize exact reality. You are capable of nothing more than a translation of reality, something which is not true no matter what. But just because truth is out of your grasp doesn't mean you can't calculate probability in order to put statistical advantage in your favor. In other words, the results are always up to chance and never completely under your control, but your action is under your control and you can perform the actions that give you the best chance by ascertaining the highest probability.

      For example, it's very improbable that the world will end on friday. You therefore have a greater advantage if you act as though the world will continue. The truth is out of your hands, and you cannot predict with any certainty that it will or will not end. But you can place a pretty sure bet that it won't. The odds are heavily in your favor.

      And this same model can be applied to everything. You know nothing, but you can ascertain likelihood and make better decisions. Other than the decisions you make, what is actually real is irrelevant. If you can accept that claim, then the question becomes obvious. Beliefs don't go away, after all, just because you realize they're never exactly true. So is it more important to invest your beliefs in the most accurate version of reality you can, or to invest your beliefs in possibilities that make you happier? If you buy into Law of Attraction, the answer is obviously the latter because if you invest belief into happier things you'll get a happier life. However, if you do not invest belief in Law of Attraction, the question remains, Why Live in the Lack?

      Let's look at another example. Let's say you aspire for a particular job, but there's thousands of candidates for it and you're simply not very likely to get it. If you get your hopes up, you're gearing for disappointment. But if you really, really want the job then the possibility alone will fill you with happiness. So why not enjoy the possibility? It has to go someone, and it could be you. You don't know the future, anything could happen. But you'll feel a lot better in the present if you invest more belief in the possibility rather than limiting yourself only to what is probable. Probability is for action. There's no reason to short yourself an ounce of happiness now simply because the future is uncertain.
      Last edited by Original Poster; 12-20-2012 at 10:02 AM.
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    2. #2
      Dreaming Shaman ZeraCook's Avatar
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      Personal opinion, Better to focus on whats probably true, This is due to being lied to and knowing the truth, but letting myself believe in a lie because I didn't want to get hurt, In the end I decided to give into the truth and now I feel better after I got over the initial disappointment, No one should lie to themselves.

      Then again im the kind of person that doesn't wear a 'mask' in public or change face based on who i'm with and always state my opinions regardless of who get hurt or offended.
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      " I couldn't stand her at first, But then I loved her so bad It Hurt "

    3. #3
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      It seems like you're speaking of religion or something similar, so let's use God as an example to make my point.

      God probably does not exist, he doesn't make any sense and there's no rational reason to believe in him. The reasons to believe in God are purely irrational, and based in fear.

      But as long as I act as though God does not exist, whether or not I invest belief in him becomes irrelevant. Belief and action are not necessarily married. Regarding God, there does not appear to be much purpose in divorcing belief from action. But there are plenty of aspects of life where it is more practical to divorce the two. Going back to my job example, if you believe you will get the job and act accordingly, despite the odds being against you, this may lead you to quit your current job. And then your fucked. It's obviously better to act in accordance with probability to save yourself from putting all your eggs in one basket. But it'll make you happier to live in the possibility rather than the probability. It'll also make you willing to take the right risks. Just because the odds are against you doesn't mean you shouldn't apply, after all. If every ball player simply assumed they would miss in order to save themselves the disappointment, why would they ever shoot?

      And seriously, who gives a fuck what reality actually is, assuming it actually is at all? Make the best decisions you can, which means take actions that will make you happy because nothing else really matters.
      Last edited by Original Poster; 12-20-2012 at 04:34 PM.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    4. #4
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      I'm kinda caught up in the middle. To me life seems so insignificant that you might aswell believe whatever makes you most happy, then again living by probability can make you happy too.
      I like to live by probability more as a way of thinking than a way of living (if that makes sense), I almost always assume what seems most fitting but I try to never say never because everything is possible. Instead of just assuming that everything with the highest probability is right.
      Take for example dream sharing, I know that it is probabily not possible but I don't disregard it because it makes me happy to think that it might be true, and I will continue to try it until I have proven to myself the answer.

    5. #5
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      I'm not about to spend actual money on a book by David Wilcock or Gregg Braden but I don't see anything wrong with watching their youtube videos. You stand nothing to lose from listening to someone's theory. Besides, they're pretty entertaining. I've even made a drinking game out of watching Alex Jones. Just because the information is ridiculous, sensationalist and highly improbable doesn't mean the world is going to end if I subject myself to it. And honestly, I've found some real gems out there in my search. I take most of it with a grain of salt, and I buy into very little of what I research. But I enjoy the hell out of the process. I just think a little more ambivalence and uncertainty would be healthier. Our society is addicted to facts, and sure facts serve their purpose but I find it funny how we're pressured to form opinions so immediately. It's like the word maybe has become taboo.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      I personally say we should all try to see reality for what it is, and try to view the truth of the matter. That doesn't mean people can't try to make a difference though. It is obvious that nothing you do is going to make the world end on Friday and believing such does nothing. However, when it comes to getting a job you can actually do things to improve your chances of getting that job.

      I think if you try to view reality truthfully then you should be able to tell the difference between times where thinking positively helps and where it doesn't. For example if you go into a casino and gamble your attitude has no bearing on your luck what so ever and thinking positively will not increase your odds of success. On the other hand having a positive attitude at your job can improve your work performance and can make you more likely to get the raise you wanted.

      Basically I agree that you should try to achieve what it possible and what you would like, just don't disregard reality. One last example, you mentioned a thousand people going for one job. Well your odds are not 1 in 1000, because not everyone has an equal chance of getting the job. Many are likely not qualified. If you are extremely qualified your chances might be 1 in 5. So there is no reason to be negative.
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      tl;dr but based on title and first sentence, probability.

    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by Alric View Post
      I personally say we should all try to see reality for what it is, and try to view the truth of the matter. That doesn't mean people can't try to make a difference though. It is obvious that nothing you do is going to make the world end on Friday and believing such does nothing. However, when it comes to getting a job you can actually do things to improve your chances of getting that job.

      I think if you try to view reality truthfully then you should be able to tell the difference between times where thinking positively helps and where it doesn't. For example if you go into a casino and gamble your attitude has no bearing on your luck what so ever and thinking positively will not increase your odds of success. On the other hand having a positive attitude at your job can improve your work performance and can make you more likely to get the raise you wanted.

      Basically I agree that you should try to achieve what it possible and what you would like, just don't disregard reality. One last example, you mentioned a thousand people going for one job. Well your odds are not 1 in 1000, because not everyone has an equal chance of getting the job. Many are likely not qualified. If you are extremely qualified your chances might be 1 in 5. So there is no reason to be negative.
      Exactly, for some reason there's no reason to be negative regarding a possible job or other potential gain, no one would hide behind the excuse that they're skeptical if they pass up the opportunity to talk to a beautiful girl just because she'll most likely reject him. And you don't call someone gullible for having the balls to talk to her just because she turns him down. That guy is someone to be proud of.

      But for some reason in regard to worldview, being too cowardly to play with possibility is seen as the mark of intelligence. And this is why people constantly assert that atheism is a religion, because so many atheists glorify cowardice in the face of unproven possibilities, just as religious zealots glorify ignorance in the face of reason. Playing with possibilities does not make you gullible, it makes you curious. There are some people that spend their savings on crystals and astrologers and all that shit, and sure those people are gullible. But there's also a whole crop of people that receive the same level of ridicule as new-age consumers simply for entertaining an untested idea. With anything, including Darwinism and every other science, people are going to exploit findings and twist them into an argument as to why you should spend money. Simply because exploitation is possible doesn't mean you should hide under a rock.
      Last edited by Original Poster; 12-25-2012 at 01:03 AM.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    9. #9
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      Anything that errs from striving towards objective truth is an insult to the universe and all of reality*.

      Anything that errs from striving towards happiness is an insult to the self.

      You can strive for happiness without making up falsities. So it is the preferred path for me.

      *Not that reality has feelings or anything. But then again, we are a part of the universe and reality, so erring from objective truth is equally an insult to the self.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

    10. #10
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      Anything that errs from striving towards objective truth is an insult to the universe and all of reality*.

      Anything that errs from striving towards happiness is an insult to the self.

      You can strive for happiness without making up falsities. So it is the preferred path for me.

      *Not that reality has feelings or anything. But then again, we are a part of the universe and reality, so erring from objective truth is equally an insult to the self, as well as potentially all other thinking beings.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

    11. #11
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      You already knowingly lie to yourself for practical purposes. The objects in the room you are looking at are mostly empty space. But it doesn't serve you to see the world around you as an illusion, even though I'm sure you know it's nothing but atoms spaced very far apart which are made up of particles, also spread out vast distances compared to their size. I mean come on, we can't even say for certain whether or not we're living in a virtual reality. We pretend that the objects we interact with are solid because it's more practical to do so. Belief is something we play with when it suits us. Most beliefs we claim authority on are things we believe in because it feels good to be right. And how many of us get a buzz from winning an argument? Even ones we have with ourselves when we think back and show ourselves how we were right? We are dreamers and we make up reality by painting our imaginations over a frame. Everything we "know" is an interpretation we buy into because we hope it will serve us.

      But somehow our western society, despite successfully climbing free from ignorant darkness and entering an empirical dawn, refuses to let go of a worldview that has already been demolished by science. Truth and Reality have become confused with the arbitrary perspective of the contemporary paradigm. Despite living through a history where we've been inevitably wrong about nearly everything, we still consider everything we presently believe in to be true. We expect foreign perspectives on reality to be proven against our own, even though one is as arbitrary as the next, as arbitrary as the dice when cast. We still utilize the attitude that what we believe is true until proven wrong, and what other people believe is wrong until proven true. And then we pretend it's because we're striving for truth and our egos have nothing to do with it! All you believe in is a lie, a shitty translation of truth. Denying that is, in your words, an insult to the universe.

      For some reason we've agreed most of what our ancestors believed in was wrong, but we still sustain their same worldview, one that has not been proven any more substantially than the imaginary bearded antagonist of atheism. We believe reality exists outside the mind, for example. There's no reason to believe this, but it's the one thing we don't agree with Buddha on despite the fact that his understanding of the universe parallels our empirical western one in every other way. He was right about everything thousands of years before the prophets of western religion we even born. But people refuse to even imagine what if the world exists inside the mind. THey refuse to entertain the possibility. And that is the most insulting part of all.
      Last edited by Original Poster; 12-27-2012 at 12:20 AM.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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