The Utilities And Dangers Of Delusion

The  Utilities And Dangers Of Delusion

Presenter: Glynne Evans

February, 2018

A delusion can be of utility if it prevents mental anguish resulting from facing the truth, or if commonly held, cement society and give it a common purpose or an agreed way of handling matters, such as justice.  

Examples from an atheistic leaning agnostic :-

Belief in a merciful god, and an afterlife, or a reincarnation.
Belief in a purpose other than one generated by mankind.
Belief in the inability of one’s own offspring to do foul deeds.
Belief that it ‘can’t happen to me, or here, or in this day and age,
Belief that oneself (or one’s army) is stronger, faster, or smarter than (that of) an opponent.
Belief that oneself is more ethical than others, God is on your side
Belief that the enemy is not human, and that other cultures are inferior.
Belief that no one will seek to harm you as you are such a good person.
Belief that absence of reported evil is indication of its non existence.
Belief that one’s  ideas, inventions and causes will eventually prevail or be acclaimed by others in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
Belief in the power of the placebo or the faith healer, or a cure to defeat mortality or aging, from cryogenics to cosmetics.
Belief that one’s own actions will not hasten climate change nor are an act of responsibility while one also believes in “free will”.

As a delusion free will is useful for the individual and society as an operational framework. Without it the basis for personal morality,ethics, and culpability and punishment are not there to provide meaning. 

Consequences  in the future, are to be discounted, such as climate change an the risk of harm from all sorts of  behaviour.

Belief that this topic will be better than all others because I suggested it, and besides, it brings in the counterpoint between choice, determinism, society, and regulation of the individual, and one can have a discussion in which big philosophers, solipsism, and other notions, a priori and deduced, can be mentioned but are not necessary to the conversation.

Our logic just cannot explain much of our universe, much as we wish it could. Thinking it can is another delusion to fill the space between conception and death.

“How, who, what, when, where,”  leaving aside quantum theory, can sometimes be answered.  “Why”  is a never ending mirage.

This is submitted in the utility of the delusion of my own free will.

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