Continuing from the previous chapter, we discussed the tendency to avoid anxiety and stress by ignoring that one's model of the world is incorrect. But how can someone ignore something so obvious? Unfortunately, not only can people do this, but they often do so in a way that is masked as logical. When an idea is created and deemed to be true, it becomes a brick in a pyramid of beliefs. Each subsequent brick, built upon the foundation of the previous one, is considered more sacred than its predecessor. The construction of each brick not only involves founding itself but also incorporating every brick that supports it, making it a more arduous task than the one before it, and thus more sacred. When someone wants to avoid acknowledging that a sacred belief is incorrect, they use false logic by claiming the sacred belief is known to be true, and therefore all other ideas must conform to support it as true. They don’t realize if a sacred belief were true, its supports would naturally reinforce it, as a belief is a sacred belief because it is the result of many beliefs that are supporting it. But if it lacks support, then it’s an unsupported belief and shouldn’t be reinforced. Therefore, not only is the sacred belief false, but all the ideas conformed to support it are now corrupt with the false conclusion that the sacred belief is true. You should never use a concluded belief to prove its own supports, as this would just be a false cyclical support structure where the structure supports itself and nothing is supported with a foundation.
This happens often when people form ideas that they consider to be the concrete conclusion of reality, as they gain more life experience and knowledge, they create a clearer and more accurate model of the world. The supporters that once upheld a sacred belief may no longer do so because they now uphold a new, more accurate understanding of reality, which should become their new sacred belief. Regardless, many people remain attached to their original belief and continue to claim it as true because it was once their sacred belief, and they tried to conform all other ideas to support it. They fail to recognize that their understanding of the world was less accurate in the past, and that an idea no longer being supported by their understanding of reality means that their understanding has improved. This improved understanding is trying to guide them towards a more accurate answer, which they are failing to recognize as a result of their emotional attachment to their previous conclusion.
This is a person's final attempt to hold onto their sacred belief. Refusing to let go of a false belief and instead using false logic to support it leads to the addition of more false beliefs into one's mind, further distancing their understanding of the world from reality. These unsupported false beliefs are like bricks in a pyramid that are floating with nothing to hold them up. By hoping that false logic will work, one hopes that the sacred brick above will support the brick below. But when they try and use this model to understand the real world, gravity will show them how dreadfully mistaken they are, and it will be done in such a way that their model is not able to guide them to a better future, and instead they will be led to failure of making the best decisions for their wellbeing.
Many people use the excuse that the world is too complex to understand fully, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't work towards it. Although we will never understand everything about the world, that didn't stop us from learning to walk, ride a bike, or buy a home. People tend to stay in their pyramid of concrete beliefs and miss the bigger picture. However, just because we don't have a concrete understanding doesn't mean we can't have an abstract understanding and navigate through life. Art was not concretely understood for a long time, but that didn't stop people from creating masterpieces because they had an abstract sense of it. Nowadays, we have a concrete understanding of music with scientific measurements, this is a solid example of how concrete understanding always follows abstract understanding.
It’s important to know that having a concrete understanding of everything is not necessary for success, just as people were able to design and create new masterpieces even before people had a concrete understanding of music. While it is true that concrete understanding is better than abstract understanding, having an abstract sense is often good enough. For example, people successfully drive cars every day without knowing how they work in detail, and they use tools and objects every day without understanding the chemical composition of the materials or their atomic structures. You don't need to fully understand the world to live successfully, but you do need to adapt to the world and face new challenges. It's important to learn from your failures, by recognizing how you failed and striving to have a clearer understanding in the future, one can live a more successful life.
Although abstract understanding can be useful, it is still important to have a concrete belief structure as a sort of home base, a place of order amidst chaos, a place to retreat from the unknown. However, this does not mean that you need the entire world to be your home. If you have a concrete understanding of the entire world, you will have nothing left to learn or experience. You will no longer have any anxiety, worry, or sense of adventure. There will be no more ecstasy from achievement, no more thrills, no more emotional pain, no more fear, worry, excitement, or surprise. Converting the whole forest into your concrete belief system would signify the culmination of your mind's development and primary objective, ultimately resulting in the end of your progressive life. Beyond that moment, you would simply exist without any motivation or direction to pursue understanding. It is like a necessary evil intent for there to be good intent. You cannot have a hero without a villain. Similarly, without a problem to solve, you cannot become a victorious problem solver. A person who lacks the drive to pursue anything just exists, with no significance or direction, and worst of all they know it, with no meaning or direction. Rather than giving up because they realize they’ll never reach the end of understanding, they should be thrilled with joy that they will never be held back from being a victorious achiever, and that there will always be new problems to conquer.
People who believe that there's no point in trying to understand the world because they can never fully comprehend it don't realize that concrete understanding is built on top of abstract understanding, just as a concrete pyramid is built within a forest. The line between abstraction and concrete understanding is not clear-cut because some concrete beliefs are formed by combining both concrete and abstract ideas. It's like a jungle growing on the sides of a concrete pyramid, with vines at different heights, thicknesses, and levels, but none of them reaching the top. Every time you get a firmer grasp of an abstract idea you create a new concrete belief similarly pushing the vines back further and further from the top of your concrete beliefs.
The key to take away from this is to distinguish between true logic and false logic. Are you using a sacred idea to support itself with no structure, or are you truly supporting it with sound reasoning? You must also recognize the cost and benefit of acknowledging one’s failure along with its solution, or remaining ignorant of it along with its solution, therefore repeating the same mistakes. Adapting to an ever-changing environment requires letting go of old ideas that are no longer sufficient for navigating the always changing future.