The title “Things Believed” reminds me of book by Lise Bissonnette published in Québec called «Choses crues». I always found that title appealing. It encompasses everything. It is all things believed, all things that touch the mind and soul of a person – because each person is different and each has things believed and stressed different from the next person. It makes me think of the multiple possibilities on the face of the Rubik’s Cube. All the many combinations of colours is much like the combinations of things believed by and in each person.
These beliefs may be related to politics, economics, international policies, climate politics etc. With all of these many people have quite adamant beliefs. We are not homogenous though we might like to think so. We may simply be similar and hold similar beliefs. When we think of beliefs we most often think of religion or atheism. These indeed have strong attachments and proponents of things believed. Each religion with its myriad of followers, all with a similar basic set of beliefs. So added to the religious beliefs, are the other beliefs listed above concerned with politics and economics, etc.. This rather complex assortment of beliefs, organised or not, understood or not, slavishly followed or not…are the Things Believed.
So with so much in each person we cannot expect each to be like another. There is an expectation in society and in smaller sub-societies, that there will be a conformity to the norms of that group. There was a time when the norms of a religious faith influenced the beliefs of the majority of the people in that society. But as these groups have moved away from religious observances and rejected some or all of the more difficult or inconvenient tenets of the religion, the religious beliefs have no longer been incorporated in these societies and so the secular state permits what the religious leaders reject. The result is the faithful member of the religion who at one time was simply a member of society and his or her religion is now a dissident from society, and at times, from others of the same faith and are rejected for their “new” non-conformity.
But each person must remain true to themselves:
“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Polonius (Hamlet)
To conform out of pressure or resignation is not true to beliefs and should be rejected. It is only in complete freedom that we have true belief. And we are truly free when we can hold as true that which is truly believed.