The Ungrounded Space of Belief. by George Elerick
I don't believe what I believe. It believes for me. Let me explain.
Horror films are an interesting creation to watch because the viewer knows in the back of their mind that what they are seeing isn't true in the sense of what exists in the real world. When we enter into the world let's say of a movie like Jeepers Creepers where the main character is thrown into the middle of an unreal scenario and forced to interact with an otherworldly antagonist, we are thrown into this same world world as viewers. Although we know that this interaction that it taking place in front of our eyes isn't really occurring we are forced to believe it because the actor is 'believing' it.
The actor believes for us.
Although we know the actor doesn't truly believe, he himself is acting in belief, he does so to create an atmosphere of false reality. When the viewer participates in the life of the movie, belief is suspended for pseudo-belief. In this moment, both the actor and the viewer shared in the same belief that what is happening is truly happening even though they both know in the back of their minds its not really happening. In this instance, everything else around is believing for them.
I personally define belief as the process of belief. The participatory journey towards deciding a belief, for me, is what belief is. This is why the perverse order of dogma and doctrine are backwards, because if we confess our belief in doctrine or dogma than we readily accept not the belief in these things, but for these things to believe for us. If we come to truth as something to conquer we will never win. If we enter into truth as participators we will gain something everytime.
For me to believe what I believe (defined in the 'conventional' sense) means I would have to approach truth as a 'sign-on-the-dotted-line' manifesto. I think belief is more subversive, it messes with your head. It might even consume you. Remember Peter who walked on water? A story in the Christian Scriptures. He became consumed by his belief, sure, most say its his disbelief that got the best of him, but I think it might be a bit different. Peter believed he was capable enough to step out onto the sea. What is the sea? A place of non-grounding.
Not firm. Not sure. Not a place of 'arrival'.
Peter seems to me the type of guy who liked things firm, sure, he does seem to set himself up as the rogue outsider, but he was also the one who was afraid of change in his conversation with Paul. Peter steps out, which is a big leap. So for this guy to do that to believe that there is more to this new kind of belief is scary and enough to consume you. Belief is consuming. It isn't his disbelief that makes me feel uncomfortable but his belief.
Our beliefs should make us feel uncomfortable about what we believe.
To migrate into an ungrounded region of belief upsets our rhythm of belief. But it the space of ungrounded territory where we find what we temporally believe. It is the end desert that we realize we need to water. It was on the sea that Peter realized he had a made a decision he couldn't find support for. He had made a decision that was beyond belief. I think in terms of belief, we must always be willing to move beyond belief lest we fall into the trap that what we believe leads us to belief. There is always more waiting beyond what is here, what is now, and it waits for us to move into the sea, to the unsettling place of ungrounded dexterity. This new atmosphere might suck the very life out of you. And that is a good thing.