Re: Make Believe Beliefs

Alexander Chislenko (
Thu, 06 Feb 1997 13:09:17 -0500

At 10:41 PM 2/5/97 -0500, cyberedward@ICDC.COM wrote:

>... I just wonder how people continue to pretend
>to believe in various mandatory belief systems, such as God, JC, an
>immortal, metaphysical soul etc. to avoid censor or ostracism from
>family members or in the case of politician their constituency.

I read a story once that refers more to pretend action than pretend
belief but still seems relevant here.

After an announcement of a new communist strategy in some little
Russian town, and a mention of The-Genius-Of-Times Stalin, all the
audience raised themselves from their seats for a standing ovation.
They started clapping their hands with great force and enthusiasm,
and shouting in admiration of the Leader. The storm of applause
wouldn't subside as everybody wanted to show himself at least as
enthusiastic as everybody else - and NOBODY wanted to stop first,
or even appear tired - as there were lots of agents watching them,
and the consequences for them would be tragic. After a VERY long
time everybody felt exhausted, fake, ridiculous and scared to death,
but they couldn't stop. Whether anybody still believed in what
they were doing, is a moot point - they had to continue demonstrating

After a while it ended, with somebody stopping this insanity first
(he was sent to labor camps right after the meeting), and others
sighing with relief and sitting down.

After such things are over, each of the participants claims
the same thing - it was the pressure of the environment, they did
what they could to resist, but what could they do alone...
An interesting thing is to watch people when the mandatory behavior
patterns swing back and forth a few times. Each time they claim
that they always were for the current thing.

Also, nobody apologizes for either instilling wrong beliefs, or
following them, and nobody rewards people who fought to turn things
around. Which makes one wonder whether it's worth one's time trying
to fight for the Right Beliefs.

Alexander Chislenko Home page: <>
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