The Great Humbling S4E5: ‘Belief’

Dougald poses a big question for this episode: what do we believe in? Ed responds playfully and paradoxically with ‘self-delusion’, citing Robert Trivers work on self-deceit that includes gay pornography and erection-o-meters. And lasers. Here’s his RSA talk

Dougald talks about the formative influence of spending the first two-and-a-bit years of his life in the grounds of a theological college and what happened when he told his Sunday school teacher that he didn’t find Hell ‘a particularly helpful concept’. 

Does it matter more what we believe, or what our beliefs make us do? If there is a throne at the heart of a culture, what do we put on it?

Ed shares his own inherited belief from his late father: ‘Brickshit’. A story that entails psychedelic adventures and an uncanny set of synchronicities, a recurrent theme of these conversations.

Dougald asserts that he does not believe in coincidences, and expands on the idea of culture’s empty throne in the inter-generational absence of church-going, and the unarticulated loss that results in society. 

Does religion start as a joke that falls into the trap of taking itself too seriously? If everyone we meet is God in disguise, how might that influence our metaphysical manners? Is prayer a shortcut to ancient mysteries? 

Ed concludes with some thoughts on ‘interbeing’ and finding magic everywhere amongst the ruins.