Belief consists in being an interpretation of conviction or executive, a pragmatic principle of one’s life that is part of an organic whole – system, structure, horizon – characteristic of a society and of an epoch. Since not all beliefs are so in the same way, it must be said that some come from basic experiences that humanity has been carrying out since its origins. Others come from ideas, they were first ideas, that is «solutions» or individual answers that a living person created for his life from a problem, from a need; then, that idea was adopted by society, thus acquiring a character of validity that is what makes it properly a «belief».
Therefore, beliefs are valid interpretations assumed by a whole collectivity (or a sufficient portion of it); the belief is «valid for its own sake», in front of and against our acceptance of it (V,35): «To be sure, beliefs were first ideas, but ideas that slowly came to be absorbed by the multitudes, losing their character of ideas to consolidate themselves into ‘unquestionable realities’ » (Vl,61) We have, then, that what is produced by society is not the ideational content – the meaning – of the belief, but its character as such, that is, its currency. The transformation of an idea into a belief happens because it loses its nuance of revocability (of doubt), which is always the origin of an idea.
The beliefs that «contain» my life are for me like reality itself, that is to say, what appears to me spontaneously as real. Now, no concrete individual can imagine and confer to his ideas that character of «being reality itself» no matter how great the evidence with which he is able to think his idea. This can only be achieved by historically accumulated «social suggestion». Social uses and exchanges create around certain ideas something like a field of forces (one could also say: they endow the idea with a kind of invisible power that nevertheless manifests itself in vital tasks) that a mere particular and individual idea never has in itself. This field is a kind of addition of «reality», shared evidence that does not spring from the adhesion of consciousness, but that, so to speak, is what provokes or sets in motion that reaction of the «natural light» in which Descartes placed the origin of intellectual truth.
I invite you to read Matias’ post with the topic of the day
Finally, I encourage everyone to reflect on the concept of the day. No one else but us can re-signify our own being