Website owner: James Miller
Assumptions, beliefs, and opinions underlie conduct and behavior
Assumptions, beliefs, and opinions underlie attitudes, outlooks, and values which, in turn, underlie conduct and behavior. First comes the understructure of assumptions, beliefs, etc. Then comes the consequent attitudes, outlooks, and values. Then comes a consequent type of conduct and behavior. Example. Christian assumptions, beliefs, etc. create a particular way of thinking that gives rise to an understructure of attitudes, outlooks, and values. These then give rise to one kind of conduct and behavior. Godless assumptions, beliefs, etc. create a very different way of thinking that produces a very different understructure of attitudes, outlooks, and values and a very different kind of conduct and behavior. If a person at some time in his life comes to the honest opinion that there is no God, no heaven or hell, and no final justice, this will tend to produce certain attitudes, outlooks, and values and certain types of conduct. On the other hand, if a person is totally convinced in his mind that there is a God, there is a heaven and a hell, and there is final justice, then this will produce a very different structure of attitudes, outlooks and values and very different kinds of conduct. Another example. Suppose a child is of the opinion that it is important to always tell the truth and never lie. This assumption becomes the basis for a certain set of attitudes, outlooks and values and a certain way of thinking and certain consequent kinds of behavior. On the other hand, if a child becomes of the definite opinion that the best way to deal with life is to lie and deceive whenever it seems expedient, then this opinion becomes the basis for a very different set of attitudes, outlooks and values and certain consequent kinds of behavior.
Thus different assumptions and beliefs can produce very different kinds of mind and character. If a young child is indoctrinated in atheism in the school he attends this will tend to produce one kind of person. If he is indoctrinated in the beliefs of Christianity in his school this will tend to produce a very different kind of person.
The sum total of all of our assumptions and beliefs that we acquire over the years creates a particular substructure of attitudes, outlooks and values. These, in turn, result in certain kinds of behavior and conduct.
What determines the assumptions, beliefs and opinions of a person? I think that for about 99% of people their assumptions, beliefs and opinions are determined by the society in which they are immersed. The vast majority of people simply follow the crowd, assume the assumptions, beliefs, outlooks and attitudes of the crowd. They pick up the assumptions, beliefs, outlooks and attitudes of the culture that surrounds them and when cultural ideas and attitudes change, theirs change also. I think most people do little real thinking themselves. They assume the assumptions and beliefs of others. If the society at large is broken into groups, such as conservative and liberal, they assume the beliefs of the group they are most attracted to, for one reason or another. In regard to ideas, people seek the safety of others and are unwilling to be very different. Most people don’t want to be viewed as a radical. They don’t want to have any beliefs that are out of date, out of style, or that they believe to be frowned on or scorned. No one wishes to risk being laughed at or ridiculed. What determines the assumptions, beliefs and opinions of the society at large? The mass media (television, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc.). Hollywood. Churches. Schools. Government propaganda, governmental legislation.
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