Buddhism beliefs

What are your 3 deepest beliefs about the world?

Your beliefs about a place have a big impact on your behavior when you are there. For example, if you see a place as a battlefield, you are nervous and ready to fight. If you see a place as a playground, you are playing. You feel well. You make friends.

What if you see the whole world as a battlefield? Like beliefs about local contexts, global beliefs can impact us, but constantly. If that’s true, then depression, success, optimism, extroversion – honestly, most aspects of psychology people care about – could be affected.

Source: Gray Matter Group

What are our main global beliefs?

In 2013, I learned that psychologists had never tried to empirically derive (I’ll explain what that means in a moment) mankind’s most fundamental beliefs about the general character of the world. So I quit my job and became a researcher.

We arrived at what we called “early world beliefs”, or primals. For five years, I have led an effort to uncover the core beliefs of the primitive world that most humans hold. It involved 70 researchers, including some of the best in the world, such as Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Crystal Park. We published all in 2019 in the most respected journal for this stuff.

Magic of fancy statistics

For non-nerds, “empirically derived dimensionality” means that results are based on data, not theories dreamed up by researchers. For example, scientists know that personality varies along five dimensions (extraversion, conscientiousness, etc.) not because someone came up with five ideas, but because when nerds like me ask hundreds of personality questions , there are usually five patterns in the data. Statistics can even tell us which question best captures the meaning of each pattern, so we know both how many patterns there are and what they mean.

For witchcraft to work, you need an exhaustive set of questions

To create a comprehensive (or as close as possible) set of early world belief questions, we took it a step further by pursuing 10 projects. We analyzed over 80,000 tweets beginning with phrases like “the world is…” drawn from a randomly selected database of 2.2 billion tweets. 22 researchers combed through the 358 most influential texts in the history of the world – novels, speeches, treatises, films and sacred texts – to find and sort through more than 1,700 assertions about the world.

We analyzed the 840 most used adjectives in Modern American English, drawn from a representative database of 190 million words. This means we explored not only people’s global beliefs noted but the beliefs of the world which are possible. We organized 12 discussion groups in the four major religions of the world (Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism). Five scholars have collected relevant work from six disciplines – psychology, philosophy, art history, comparative religion, anthropology and political science – compiling a 415-page book.

Ten of America’s top nerds met for three days, including famed evolutionary biologist Dr. David Sloan Wilson and Stanford belief psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck. We had a retreat of top Chinese experts at Tsinghua University in China…you get the idea. We tried to cast a wide net.

The 10 projects lasted a year and a half. In the beginning, we discovered new primal candidates almost every week, with many “Wow!” How did we miss this? moments. But nine months later, it stopped. We reached what the researchers call “saturation”, indicating that few other candidate primals were likely available.

So, we took those inputs, identified a few hundred questions, gave them to a few thousand people, did the statistics magic, did a bunch of follow-up studies to make sure what we found was real, and we have now found the same results in larger and larger samples.

We found more primals than researchers knew

All these 26 dimensions are:

  • Very stable over time, as stable as personality traits like extroversion
  • Hidden; you can’t recognize someone’s primals by looking at them or knowing their life history
  • Strongly correlated with how we live our lives and our mental health
Gray matter group

Source: Gray Matter Group

But not all primals have the same importance. Most collapse for statistical and conceptual reasons into three big ones:

1. Safe World Belief

Those who are weak Sure the global belief sees the world as dangerous. These people don’t necessarily feel more frightened or threatened in response to dangers, they’re just honestly of the opinion that there’s a lot more danger out there than the rest of us suspect – from germs to sharks. through terrorism and insults. So being alert seems responsible, and relaxing is not a good idea. Prevention is better than cure.

Those high on Sure the global belief holds that truly dangerous threats are few and far between. Thus, they believe that constant vigilance is neurotic, that the risk is not so risky, and in general that people should calm down.

Gray matter group

Source: Gray Matter Group

Sure global belief is very strongly correlated with things like greater confidence, greater agreeableness, and less depression. Interestingly, men and women on average see the world the same way Sure. In reality, Sure is correlated surprisingly little to actual experiences of danger. This suggests that Sure the global belief is perhaps more like a lens used to interpret our life than a mirror reflecting what our life has been.

2. A Seductive Global Belief

Those who are weak Attractive the global belief sees the world as dull. In their eyes, truly beautiful and fascinating things are rare. Therefore, treasure hunting, social exploration, risk taking, etc., are only appropriate when it is a safe bet.

Those high on Attractive The worldwide belief is that treasure is around every corner, in every person, under every rock, and beauty pervades everything. Therefore, exploration and appreciation are not naïve. It is simply the rational way to live.

Gray matter group

Source: Gray Matter Group

Attractive is very strongly correlated with things like curiosity, gratitude, and happiness. As Sure, Attractive is not correlated with wealth or privilege; anyone can see the world as Attractive.

3. Living Global Belief

Those who are weak Living the global belief sees the world as a machine without consciousness or intentions. Since the universe never sends messages, it makes no sense to try to listen to them. Just as machine parts are interchangeable, so are people: the world doesn’t need you for anything special.

Those high on Living the world belief thinks that everything happens for a purpose and constantly listens to those ends. For them, life is a relationship with an active universe that animates events, communicates and has a role to play for each of us.

Gray matter group

Source: Gray Matter Group

Living is strongly correlated with things like spirituality and having a purpose in life. Although religious people tend to see the world as Livingmany non-religious people do it too.

Which beliefs of the primordial world are true?

Mine, of course.

I’m joking. As an empirical researcher, my job is not to tell you the truth about ultimate reality but to study the impact of these beliefs, learn where they come from, and tell you what I find. You can draw your own conclusions about the universe.

Much primal research is coming

At present, primal research is in its infancy. We have virtually no idea where primals come from, and while they could play a major role in shaping our lives, we’re not sure yet either. But that is changing.

Last year we started the UP Penn Primals Project. Today, dozens of research efforts have emerged around the world, and the primals survey is being translated into 20 languages. We have begun to investigate how origins (apparently not) influence primals, the impact of extreme life events on primals (e.g., trauma, incarceration, cancer), whether new interventions can influence primals to improve the well-being, and how the primals influence politics. We collaborate with researchers on the impact of psilocybin on primals, and even robotics experts on the effects of giving primals to robots to simulate human personality. Other projects include examining terrorist primals and how primals affect love and marriage, among several others.

So we’re going to find out a ton about primals in the next few years. My plan is to summarize the main results for psychology today like any spring. My first piece describes a beginning study about the beliefs of the primitive world that parents want to teach their children (and perhaps shouldn’t).

Scientists have identified what our early world beliefs are, but not where they come from or how they affect us. The good news: some of the best scientists in the world are now working there. The bad news: you have to wait.