“A truly spiritual person is not one who is encrusted with beliefs, dogmas, rituals. He has no beliefs; he is living from moment to moment, never accumulating any experience, and therefore he is the only revolutionary being.” ~Krishnamurti
In a world that’s addicted to belief, anti-belief is a gamechanger. Indeed. In a world that is “encrusted with beliefs,” anti-belief is a superpower.
Why is this? Because anti-belief reconditions cultural conditioning. Anti-believers have removed the “crust.” They’ve shaken off the dross. They’ve pierced the veil. They’ve seen through the charlatan shams and kneejerk mollycoddling. They’ve shaved away the superfluous and found the Equation wanting. They’ve stared into the abyss and laughed.
Beneath the torn-away band aide of belief, they’ve discovered a world that is weak and petty, plotting and placating, confused and deathly afraid of its own mortality. But, rather than balk, they’ve decided to step-up. They’ve decided to take a stand, draw a line in the sand, flip the script on religion, turn the tables on tyranny, push the envelope of what it means to be a thinking being in an unthinking universe.
They don’t believe, they think. They think through fallibility, insecurity, imperfection, and the tendency to make mistakes. In fact, it is precisely because of these human frailties that they refuse to believe in anything the human mind could conceive.
For, as Scott Adams said, “The mind is a delusion generator, not a window to truth.” Therefore, a keen observer always questions the delusion generator. Always! Never settling. Never giving in to comfort, security, or false promises of a fairytale afterlife. That’s anti-belief, and it’s revolutionary.
For the anti-believer the buck stops here: at four ways anti-belief is your greatest superpower…
1.) Anti-belief gets you ahead of the curve:
“I have often laughed at the weaklings who thought themselves good because they had no claws.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
When you don’t believe anything, you can’t be trapped. Rather than belief, you choose thought. Rather than certainty, you choose curiosity. Rather than rigid laws, you choose the mighty question mark.
This gives you a cutting edge: It gives you claws. It gives you teeth to bite holes through the flimsy beliefs that have kept you toothless and meek. You become capable of discernment, not because you believe, but because you think. Not because you are certain, but because you are curious. Not because you are prideful, but because you have tasted humility.
You discover new ways of being human in the world. You become a force of nature first, a person second. You become capable of taking risks, turning tables, flipping scripts, pushing envelopes, and challenging the Powers That Be.
You become a force to be reckoned with rather than a thing to be forced.
This puts you out front, piercing the veil, stretching comfort zones until they snap, transforming boundaries into horizons, pioneering cosmos, outmaneuvering entropy, and outfoxing the infinity that outflanks you by being so over-the-top mortal that the gods weep with envy.
If, as Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it,” then it stands to reason that we stay ahead of the curve by not accepting our thoughts (which is belief) but, instead, “entertain” them by questioning them and being curious about them rather than certain.
Thus, you become the mighty question mark itself, slicing through the universe, unstoppable, unconquerable, uncontainable. Nothing rules over you because no rule is off the hook for being questioned. Cosmic sea’s part before you, revealing the unknown. And you are there to spearhead reason despite all beliefs.
2.) Anti-belief makes life more about the journey and less about the destination:
“You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light.” ~Edward Abbey
For an anti-believer there is no settled state, there is no final stage. There is always a destination to overcome. There is always an “answer” that needs to be questioned. Mastery is always recyclable. The journey is always the thing. The sword is always sharpened dullness. The diamond is always pressurized coal.
As James Hillman said, “the pearl is also always grit, an irritation as well as a luster.”
The journey is the thing that will sharpen and hone you. It is a path of triumph and tragedy, creation and destruction, adaptation and annihilation. It’s paradoxical and it asks the same of you. You must become a torn thing—torn between discipline and humor, courage and humility, passion and indifference.
The tearing is the thing. It is in the tearing where you are the most human. Torn between flesh and spirit. Torn between living life to fullest despite knowing you’re going to die. Torn between standing on earth and longing for the stars.
The tearing is your sacred space. It’s the place where you craft your own philosophy. Where you hone your soul, sharpen your character, and perfect your rebellion. It’s where you develop a master strategy for playing the game of life despite the inevitability of death.
When the journey is the thing, you’re more teachable, more open, more adaptable to reality. Belief in a destination can bog down the soul. It boxes it in. It gives the believer false hope in a universe indifferent to hope.
As Paul Bowles warned, “Security is a false God. Begin to make sacrifices to it and you are lost.”
To hell with security! Comfort zones are for licking wounds and recouping. Anything more than that is wasted time. Stop wallowing in pie-in-the-sky aftermath scenarios. Stop placating yourself and those around you. Stop playing the victim to your perceived destination. Transform yourself from a sacrificial lamb into a mighty lion by acquiring the sword of anti-belief.
Use it to disable closemindedness, self-importance, attachment, certainty, expectation, assumption, and dogmatism. Security blankets be damned! In the war between delusion and truth, there’s no time to vacillate. Clinging to a “truth” is a waste of time. The Truth Quest is all that matters.
As The Buddha said, “It is better to travel well than to arrive.”
3.) Anti-belief leads to non-attachment:
“You can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don't know it.” ~James Lovelock
Anti-belief gets you out of your own way, so that the Way can have its way. You’re better able to surrender to Flow. You’re better able to, as Krishnamurti said, “Die to everything of yesterday so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigor and passion.”
There are no limits. No boxes to think outside of. No desperate pigeonholing. No exasperating placations. You are free to transcend the lot. Transcend yourself. Transcend culture. Transcend nihilism. Transcend even transcendence itself. Because it’s all put on blast. God’s feet are always in the fire. The universe is always put to the test. Nothing is free from the chopping block of your mighty question mark. Let it fall.
Then let it go. Let your imagination thrive. Free your soul. Free it from the tyranny of belief. All beliefs, no matter how well-intended, are a hinderance to clear thought. The greatest fight in the war between belief and delusion is against our own bewitchment. Beliefs are reinforced bewitchment. Clear thought breaks the spell by ushering in a mindful nonattachment to ideas and ideals.
Think clearly. Test the thought. Let go of the thought. Repeat. Never accept it. Never settle. For therein lies the trap. Therein lies the beginnings of a shrink-wrapped comfort zone. Therein lies the muck and mire where lies become “truth.”
Never assume. Transcend instead. Think clearly. Think precisely. Then get outside of your head and analyze the data. Use the question mark sword to shave away the superfluous, the ignorance, the illogical, the unreasonable, and the untruthful. Use it to embolden the most powerful virtue in the human arsenal: a good sense of humor.
Go Meta with that humor. Utilize the Over Eyes of the bird’s eye view. Tap the Oversoul of the Overman. Laugh at the rigmarole, the seriousness, the pettiness. Trump your small picture thoughts with big picture imagination. Get above politics and religion, above good and evil, above time and space. Lighten your heart even as the world goes dark with its petty certainties and incessant seriousness.
Certainty is a cesspool. It’s clogged, closed-off, and stale. Its water is murky, poisonous, and undrinkable. Purify it with the question mark sword. Let it flow. Then cleanse the waters with the keen curiosity and healthy nonattachment of anti-belief.
4.) Anti-belief gets you closer to God:
“The center is everywhere.” ~Black Elk
Ironically, it is the lack of belief in God (the culturally/religiously conditioned version) that orients you with God (Infinity, the Great Mystery, the Ultimate Unknown, the Interconnected Spirituality, the Dancing Nothing, the Blooming Haha).
This is because God doesn’t require belief. It requires openness. It requires perspective. It requires curiosity. It requires faith.
Faith is the opposite of belief. Faith is letting go of your interpretations and renouncing your attachment to a particular result. It’s a deep curiosity regarding the absolute, whether it’s easy to swallow or not.
Belief, on the other hand, is what happens when you become attached to your flawed interpretations. It’s a vain attempt at pigeonholing the absolute into a nice little digestible package.
In short: belief is limiting; faith is limitless. Belief is mental slavery; faith is mental liberation. Belief is attachment; faith is nonattachment. Faith is a vulnerable posture regarding reality, a sacred hope. Whereas belief is an invulnerable wish and whimsy about what the truth “absolutely” is.
Break the spell. Use anti-belief to usher in faith and hope and get rid of wish and whimsy. Through the faith and hope of anti-belief the Truth is laid bare. The emperor is naked and always has been. God is stripped of religion and dogma and jealousy and judgment.
What’s left over is the piercing light of infinity and the daunting darkness of mortality. You become torn. You become eclipsed. “You” becomes a trivial thing: petty, paradoxical, finite, and all-too-mortal.
But you also become blessed and beset with a profound responsibility: to create meaning in an otherwise meaningless universe. You become lit with that light and illuminated by that darkness. You become the sharpened edge of the Golden Ratio, the sword of God. Yin-yang prominent, your true power is revealed. You are the perceiver. You are the creator. You are the process of Truth unfolding.
The center is everywhere. Thus, you are the center. Once but a mere moth, now full-frontal fire. Before this realization, you were merely God asleep. After this realization, you become God awake.
So, Nietzsche said, “God is dead”? Yes and no. It depends on how you look at it. Yes, the old caterpillar God of religious dogma had to die for the spiritual butterfly God of all things to reveal its true nature: Infinity itself penetrating in and through all things and connecting everything to everything else.
Anti-belief leads to this powerful revelation: The old gods had to die for God to shine its true light. No belief required. Just open, honest, circumspection, and curious thought.
Now, free of the mindset of a believing mind, you move into the mindfulness of an inquisitive mind. You become a question-generator that counter-balances the delusion-generator of the human condition. You get ahead of the curve, surfing Aslam’s Infinite Circle on the surfboard of Occam’s razor, in absolute awe over the beautiful unfolding of an ultimately unknowable universe. On the edge of your own curiosity, questioning all “answers” countering all beliefs, elusive of all delusions.
But not even God is safe from your ruthless inquiry.
About the Author:
Gary Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide-awake view of the modern world.
This article (The Power of Anti-belief In a Belief-ridden World) was originally created and published by Self-inflicted Philosophy and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary Z McGee and self-inflictedphilosophy.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.