Belief has a great deal of power. The person who believes themselves invincible will act very differently from the person who believes they are doomed. Belief in medicine gives us the remarkable placebo effect, belief in the stock market holds our economies together… or sometimes doesn’t.
From what I‘ve seen of chaos magic, there are systems in which cultivating your capacity to believe whatever seems expedient, is a source of power. I could easily say the same thing of politics. I have no doubt that our ability to believe has a huge influence on the world. If we used this power to improve things, it probably wouldn’t worry me so much.
We believe that the market will magically solve everything, acting with god-like intelligence to resolve all problems.
We believe that we can have infinite growth with finite resources and can persist in taking more from our planet than is sustainable and that somehow, magically, there will be no consequences.
We believe that polluting the air and the drinking water is not a problem even though we know that some 11,000 people have already died in the UK alone this year as a consequence of air pollution.
We believe that fracking is safe and will solve our energy problems, and not poison the water or really contribute to climate change, and we don’t really believe climate change is happening anyway.
We believe that short term profit is more important than quality of life and long term survivability, because the market is going to magically fix everything.
We believe that nuclear is a safe and clean option, telling ourselves that business in Japan was really unlikely and could never happen here, and not believing that the thousands of years required for the cleanup process will be an issue. It’s not our issue at any rate.
We believe that giving more power to corporations so that they can sue governments if their interests are harmed, will be just fine because the market will magically solve everything, and if business is happy, the market is happy.
We believe that poor people caused the recent economic meltdown and should be punished, while bankers are fabulous people who need a big pay rise to reward them for their mistakes.
Every now and then someone will try to tell me that Pagan beliefs are irrational. We believe in nature, in so far as one can do that. We believe in stuff that exists, all too often. But even the most exciting of fluffy new age unicorn Atlantis theories starts to look quite sane and harmless when you compare it with the beliefs western humanity seems to be holding about where the magical powers are and how the world works.