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Orientation Essay

The Right to Believe

How Metahistory Fosters Love for Truth

At first sight, metahistory.org presents a deep and intricate matrix of text. One may well be reticent to enter this gaping labyrinth of words and images. A minute on the home page reveals that the site has two purposes: to examine beliefs, and to present a future myth for humanity. Along the way to these goals, it covers vast territories on myth, religion, shamanism, mysticism, ecology, astronomy, biology, anomalous phenomena, and more. The sheer volume of the writing can be intimidating. We may well ask, Why look into metahistory at all? How will the exceptional effort required to delve into this site pay off? How will the attention I give to it be served?

Metahistory.org is a learning site, so in one sense the purpose of reading it is to simply learn from it. Those with a passion for learning will find riches here, but there is another, more compelling reason to take the plunge into this site. Above and beyond all else, metahistory.org concerns the protection of a basic human right, essential to a free society and the dignity of every individual: the right to believe.

Now, it may seem paradoxical that a site devoted to a rigorous critique of beliefs and belief systems [i.e., ideologies] should affirm the right to believe, but this paradox touches the essence of metahistorical discipline. It addresses the problem of belief while asserting the necessity of believing. In plain English, metahistory gets you, coming and going!

The problem with beliefs is, we acquire them without previously determining if they are true for us, or correct on human terms, or even sane. Where faith takes the lead in our lives, there is no truth-testing process. Faith frees us – absolves us, if you will – from the tedious and daunting task of assessing the truth of what we believe. It is evident that many people who rely on faith have neither the need nor the desire to assess the truth of what they believe. Sadly, they do not consider it essential to love truth and believe only what is proven to be true, rather than to blindly regard as true what they have been told to believe, or come to believe by passive consent.

The call to love truth belongs to the pre-Christian humanist tradition. It can be found, for instance, in the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. And so does metahistory.org.

This site affirms the right to believe, not what we are told to believe, and not what we blindly consent to believe, but what we determine to be true and worth believing. It presents a way to undertake that “tedious and daunting task” by which we make ourselves accountable to truth itself.

 

 

 


Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2014 by John Lash.