There is a whole lot to gain by continually reminding myself of what a fact is, vs what a belief is. Especially with regard to political and religious areas of my life.
Once I began to really examine the nature of facts, and how we know things to be true, I saw the complexity of all these things that I commonly took for granted. Fact, knowledge, truth and belief are extremely common words, but I never really took the time to sort out what they actually meant. These things are the basis of all logic and critical thinking, but I found that most “critical thinkers” rarely take the time to fully examine them.
And L Ron Hubbard, a guy who proclaimed that “the reactive mind is just a FACT!” and who created a subject that he called “the study of knowledge”, was a guy who was completely out to lunch on these subjects. I believe that it is vital for anyone who ever got themselves involved in Scientology to really study these concepts in depth, and to sort them out for yourself.
If there really is any “recovery” to having been in Scientology, I believe that sorting these ideas out is the basis of it.
So, because most of us have a past in Scientology, I’ll get all scientological on your asses, and use a dictionary to begin:
1. something that actually exists; reality; truth:
Your fears have no basis in fact.
2. something known to exist or to have happened:
Space travel is now a fact.
3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true:
Scientists gather facts about plant growth.
4. something said to be true or supposed to have happened:
The facts given by the witness are highly questionable.
1. something believed; an opinion or conviction, not necessarily based on facts
a belief that the earth is flat.
2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof:
a statement unworthy of belief.
3. confidence; faith; trust:
a child’s belief in his parents.
4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith:
the Christian belief.
These two definitions would make it seem like facts were somehow superior to beliefs. But that would be a short-sighted view of the essential nature of belief in the life of a human being. If you consider that the statement “The sun will rise tomorrow” is not a fact, but a belief, then you will see where I’m headed here.
The thought “The sun will rise tomorrow” is one of those beliefs that illuminates the nature of our own existence as mortals. Yes, you can use science to check the status and location of the sun all night to extrapolate these facts and give yourself a high probability belief that the sun will rise tomorrow. But this thought that you have as a human being, upon which so many other thoughts and plans and hopes and dreams of yours rests, is not a fact.
It is a belief.
Thus, as human beings – from the time we wake up in the morning till the time we go to bed at night – we operate primarily on belief.
So facts are not superior to beliefs. Facts are just something we should use to tether us to a planet, lest we fly off into space with our beliefs.
The skill of being able to identify a fact, and then to question and to test the quality of the evidence which establishes it as a fact, is a skill as important as testing where to put your foot next while scaling the face of a cliff. As any Ex-Scientologist knows, mistakes made with this skill can be fatal.
So facts are important, but so are beliefs.
Let’s say that it was a fact that you had an accident while driving when you were drunk. And that the primary reason for the accident was that your brain was too impaired with alcohol to make the right move with your car to avoid it.
The beliefs you accumulate around these facts can determine the quality of the rest of your life. The fact comes and goes. But the beliefs tethered to them stay. So when you look at it this way, as a human being, beliefs might actually be superior to facts.
Facts are rocks. They lay there, existing without question.
But your beliefs about facts make up your whole life.
I think that one of the reasons for the political turmoil happening in the United States right now is that people recognize that their religious beliefs are beliefs, but they think that their political beliefs are not beliefs, but facts.
This is basically a confusion on the nature of beliefs vs facts. There CAN be facts in politics. And it is vital to identify them. But it is also just as vital to identify beliefs in politics, as well.
Like I said, it is continually valuable to me to remind myself what a fact is, vs what a belief is.
3 thoughts on “Beliefs vs. Facts”
Unsurprisingly enough, this whole line of critical thought you spell out here basically reveals the cognitive dissonance at the heart of both Scientology and its most zealous opponents, and in particular, the zealous defenders of anti-cult cultist Tony Ortega.
Take a look at this video featuring Scientology celebrity Billy Sheehan, a lone quiet man taking a stand against a few very vocal and very annoying anti-Scientology protesters in early 2008: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQZxv1kdrvY — have you ever seen this video? Back then, in that final miserable year of the Bush administration, “Anonymous” successfully deflected much media attention away from the massive crimes of the government and its accomplices in the private sector at a very crucial period during the early phase of the financial meltdown.
Ortega and the rest of the Village Voice jumped on this tabloid bandwagon like sewer rats in heat; this marked the first time in the history of the Voice that the editorial line of the once respected alt weekly became reduced to hilariously biased tabloid garbage of the kind not even the NY Post would dare attempt. The Voice had already long degenerated into nonstop hipster dufus sarcasm and snark following its sale to New Times Media, but things took a much more surreal and sinister turn at this point.
But for all his self-righteous and holier than thou bluster and buffoonery, Ortega could never admit that his newfound obsession with Scientology was basically a very cynical attempt at deflecting away from the sex trafficking scandal erupting at Backpage.com. The Backpage scandal had become so toxic to the Voice that they had not only lost their credibility as a legitimate news outlet, but also their access to valuable whistleblowing sources, hence the lack of any groundbreaking coverage, let alone any original investigative pieces into the festering financial sickness spewing out of Wall Street, which Ortega appeared to be in total denial of, much to the chagrin of the old school Voice staff.
Now, one thing I’ve noticed among almost all of Ortega’s defenders is this fanatical refusal to admit his shortcomings, flaws and lack of journalistic credibility and ethics. This is even evidenced in the comments section of your blog here, where Ortega’s defenders will deflect from and ignore any accusation against their bearded Anti-Messiah. Any and every attempt at calling out Ortega will result in one finding him or herself the victim of bullying and harassment that is essentially the online equivalent to gangbang sec checking.
This is rather pathetic, to put it mildly. Not even the most hardcore Sea Org members are competent at this level of bullying the opposition online. Have you ever encountered that crazy ex-SO lady from Wisconsin (or is it Michigan), who runs the Scientology Myths website? She’s a rank amateur compared to the Bunker folks and I’ve heard even when she was in the SO, she was a total idiot who had to be directed to do every single little thing by Miscavige, like a puppet. Left to her own devices, she constantly shoots herself in her own foot and ends up making Scientology look like morons. Miscavige had to order this idiot to quit trying to “fix” Wikipedia and trolling comments sections and Twitter, that’s how braindead she is.
But before I go on, I’m going to blow you and your readers minds with a royal bombshell of nearly Biblical proportions. Before Herr Donald Trump attacked CNN for being fake news, TONY ORTEGA DID IT FIRST!
Yes, my dear friends, before Der Fuhrer made the term “fake news” trendy and dumping on CNN a national sport, our greasy, schlubby friend Tony Ortega accused CNN of peddling “fake news”: http://www.villagevoice.com/news/cnns-amber-lyon-ambushed-craigslist-but-she-wont-talk-to-the-village-voice-6431659
Right there in that sick little article Ortega denies in sweeping wholesale fashion the very existence of sex trafficking and child sex slavery in the United States. Try to talk to Ortega about any of this, and he’ll blacklist and permaban your ass not only from his blog, but from his entire existence. His followers will accuse you of being a Scientology shill, an operative for OSA — the very same tactics employed by the so-called “alt right” in their disgusting defense of Milo Yiannopoulous, who also denies the existence of sex and human trafficking, except as a sick joke used against Comet Ping Pong and John Podesta.
You yourself have defended this guy at times, even claiming that I was wrong and that his blog is “way more than just gossip” (!) — we’re about talking a man who, if it wasn’t for the fact that he claims to be a diehard liberal, would fit right in with “men’s rights” demagogues like Paul Joseph Watson, Mike Cernovich and Roosh V. If his blog is “way more than just gossip” then why the hell won’t any legitimate news media have anything to do with this character? Why did The Raw Story, the liberal equivalent to Breitbart, royally dump his ass just months after hiring him? Talk to people at Raw Story and they’ll tell you one of the many reasons he was so disliked was that he came across like an alt-right goon and couldn’t get along with anyone and treated beliefs and political opinions like, guess what? FACTS!
I’d like to know why Tony Ortega’s followers are behaving like Sea Org fanatics in their repeated attempts to takedown Marty Rathbun as an OSA stooge? If Ortega’s blog is “way more than gossip” then why the hell doesn’t he take a stand against that kind of crap? Why does he constantly post personal photos and information of ordinary rank-and-file Scientologists, including their children??? This is a journalist? Are you kidding me?
We are talking about a man who blew an entire scholarship to Columbia School of Journalism AFTER ONLY ONE SEMESTER! What did he do instead? He ran back home to California and continued his “education” at Cal State Fullerton! I dare anyone to ask him what the hell happened that he lasted barely a semester at Columbia and why he was so humiliated he could not stand to be in NYC all alone. We’re talking about a FULL SCHOLARSHIP. Who the hell screws that up?
Asking him such questions might be even worse than daring to ask him about his Indonesian Muslim wife, which explains his hatred of Muslims, which also offended his coworkers at Raw Story. Worse than even asking him why he left his wife for his much plumper and testosterone-laden anti-Arab Israeli girlfriend, which also further explains his hatred of Muslims.
Here is the final red pill in the coffin of Tony Ortega, straight up: if Ortega’s blog was “way more than gossip”, then it wouldn’t be a blog and he wouldn’t have to rely on donations and at least one credible news organization would be willing to hire this alcoholic freak masquerading as a journalist.
You know who else liked to pretend he was something he really wasn’t? L. Ron Hubbard, who happened to be considered so gifted and intelligent he was admitted into nuclear physics classes at George Washington University, only to drop out because of his difficulty with mathematics. While he obviously understood the fundamentals of engineering and physics, like Ortega understands the fundamentals of journalism, this in and of itself didn’t make him an engineer and physicist. Likewise, Ortega can call himself a journalist all he wants and his followers can believe he’s a journalist all they want, but that doesn’t it true, no matter how hard they beat they breasts and bow in fanatical reverence at the unwashed cat urine-stained feet of their idol.
If Ortega was in any way a legitimate journalist, I probably wouldn’t feel the need to take a shower every time I read his blog. Kind of like how I feel after listening to the likes of Rush Limbaugh. Gross. Just gross.
Insulting a guy’s wives and girlfriends is completely over the top and not even on your point. You distract from the point you want to make and invalidate your own credibility by doing stuff like that.
Your insults of Tony Ortega are so personal, and so character-based, that I’m wondering if you might not be a former girlfriend of Tony Ortega’s yourself.
You’ve got so much passion for Tony.
You’re still totally in love with him, aren’t you.
PS I love that Billy Sheehan video. I already had a lot of respect for him, but after that my respect for him was even greater.
Where have I insulted his Indonesian Muslim wife? All I stated was that Ortega was married to a woman who happened to be an Indonesian Muslim. I assume she dumped the schlub because of his rabid atheism and anti-Muslim extremism, but that’s speculation. Granted, there is no evidence as far as I know that he ever got divorced, so there is the possibility that they just got married so she could get citizenship.
As for his current girlfriend, all I wrote is that she is Israeli and anti-Arab, which is true. I mean, I’d be surprised if she denied it because anyone who has ever hung around these two clowns can attest to that, especially after she’s gotten a few rounds of drinks into her. I am curious though whether his intense dislike (i.e. prejudicial hatred) of Muslims stems from his broken marriage.
But we can clear all this all up very easily, if Schlubby Ortega would only be willing to open his own life up to scrutiny the same way he demands Bobby Duggan, Marty Rathbun, Tom Cruise, Carmen Llywelyn, Vonni Ribisi and basically everyone else on the planet. Everyone, of course, except for himself. Even President Obama had the balls AND credibility to strike back at even his worst and most offensive detractors with just the facts. And Ortega sure as hell doesn’t have those kind of balls, though you gotta love how Ortega considers it journalistically appropriate to refer to Giovanni Ribisi as “Vonni”, which only his very close personal friends do. Headley doesn’t even count. Whoops.
But yes, Alanzo, I do admit I love Tony Ortega. I love Schlubby Ortega the same way a film critic loves Ed Wood. They’re both just so bad and horrible they’re great. I mean, with a goofball face like his, what’s not to love? If he was bald, I can see him winking back and saying, “Who loves ya baby?”
PS Notice how Ortega has never once ever commented on this Billy Sheehan video? Though knowing how much he lacks any class, Ortega would probably find a way to use the video to insult Sheehan and blame him for “provoking” the “protester” insulting him. ‘Cause according to Ortega, anything that might just portray Scientologists in a positive light has to be FAKE NEWS! Oh, dear Schlubby. So much like his secret pal Little Fingers Drumpf.
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