Forcing oneself to believe something.

This is a random one that just popped out.

Do people (albeit not many people) ever decide to pick something to believe in (something they naturally don’t believe at the beginning) and then willingly force themselves to believe it. Even spending the rest of their lives forcing themselves to believe it? (initially knowing full well that they are deliberately and intentionally setting out to kid themselves)

It would be something unprovable in an instant, or not easilly provable, such as believing that you have a unique condition whereby your lifespan is infinite. Or you are a deity. (So that they couldn’t prove themselves wrong)

Another question: Do you think they ever succeed? (I wonder if I would benefit from setting out to make myself believe I can bend reality in ways that it is possible to do so in a Lucid dream, such as walk through walls, fly, conjur up any object or person at will)

Or perhaps re-believe something you believed as a child.

Or even more realistically: Believe that you will eventually become a billionaire.

One or two for you to ponder.

This is one I’ve pondered already. First, it is a test of what we mean by “believe”. My best literal understanding of the word tells me that you are talking about “pretending”, and that it is impossible, at least in the short term. If you force yourself, you know you don’t really think it is true, which means you don’t really believe it.

Second, it’s a study of how the mind works. Can we train our brain? Can we leave our thumb on the scale so long that we forget it is there and start trusting the higher weight? I suspect this is somewhat true, but that there is for most of us still an inkling of the truth hiding back there someplace.

Third, it’s the essence of weirdness. Why in the world would you want your brain to malfunction? Because, if you trust one thing and want to trust another, that’s what you’re asking for, isn’t it?

Does the classic “lunatic” really believes he is Napoleon?

Or does he will himself to believe he is an noble Emperor in exile, rather then the sad schmuck he really is?

I was thinking that the final aim would be that you have forgotten (at least consciously) that you ever forced yourself to believe something… And you are left just believing it.

Ignorance is bliss. Or in this case dellusion is bliss. Afterall: People with real delusions can be happy in their delllusion. And I sometimes find that knowing a lot can be get depressing.

After I rejected Christianity, I tried Wicca. I read some books about it, and tried to go with it, but in short order, I couldn’t deny that it was just as much a load of malarkey as the other religions I’d encountered. At the time, it was scary to me (indeed, it seemed rather impossible) to simply have no belief at all. So I really tried to believe it, but my brain is not put together like that.

I wonder how people who convert for the sake of love/marriage fare. Do they fake it, or, as you say, do they get to a point where they forget they chose to believe, and simply actually believe?

During my training in the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program we had a metaphorical button that was referenced fairly often by many of our instructors.

It was the “I Believe” button. A lot of the concepts involved in nuclear power, including things like radiation detection, reactor kinematics, can get pretty counter-intuitive. The instructors would do their best to teach the students what would be going on, but sometimes it couldn’t be done during class time. So, the instructor would tell the confused student, “Use your ‘I Believe’ button, for now, and let me continue this class. Come to office hours later, and I’ll try to help you understand it.”

I ended up having to use that button for a couple of concepts. The way that the reactor behaves in some situations is counter-intuitive to me, and I have to simply accept that the real behavior is always going to look odd to me. I have since come to be able to at least understand how this works. It still seems faintly wrong, but I know it’s my preconceptions that are in error.

OTOH I am still convinced that semi-conductor radiation detectors work by nothing less than Pure Fairy Magic.

This isn’t precisely what the OP is looking for, but it does represent a couple of times I have had to simply force myself to believe something.

‘Of course Bill was going to business conferences that whole time. And those panties accidentally got mixed into his stuff at the laundromat.’