I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

430. Dichotomy, Atheism And The Transition Point

Dichotomy, Atheism And The Transition Point

The following analogy is independent from the subjective human preference for light over darkness. 

Complete darkness is the absence of light.    Light is not the absence of darkness.  
Real atheism is the absence of any faith.  Faith is not the absence of atheism.    

Day and night, light and darkness are dichotomies.   
Faith or the absence of faith, delusion or the freedom from delusion are dichotomies.  

But they are not really dichotomies, because there is a transition phase between them.  
There is twilight, it is either dusk or dawn.  
There is often either a phase of doubts or of the replacement of the content of the faith.   The shift is gradual from the most obvious irrationality like a personal god to more vague irrationality like spirituality, woo-woo, new age beliefs.   

Simple lamps function by the dichotomy, that they can only be either turned on or of. 
Using the lamp requires a dichotomy of a decision, when to consider it as night and turn the light on and when to consider it as day and turn the lamp off.  
The conscious self-labeling functions by the dichotomy of either defining oneself as an atheist or as a believer of something.   In situations, when behavior is either determined by faith or by the absence thereof without any neutral third option, the choice of this behavior depends upon the self-label.    

The transition point is sometimes fuzzy.  
Individuals have different subjective perceptions for brightness, and people linger sometimes before acting, so that they do not turn the light on or off at the same time during dusk or dawn.   
The perception, when rational doubts are as strong as the irrational needs and attractions of faith, is very subjective.   Individuals are under very different external influences, and people linger sometimes before acting.   The trigger for the transition to become an atheist is different for every individual.  

For someone sitting in a room without windows, where the lamps are operated by another person, day and night are truly dichotomous.   That person inside is ignorant of the amount of light outside.   
For a person ignorant of what goes on inside another person's head, this person's belief system is dichotomous according to his self-labeling.   The person either declares to be an atheist or not, but how much or little he really believes is hidden.   

Here ends the simple analogy.

There are many transitions, when proactive behavior, expectations for behavior, expectations towards others and legal rights change in a dichotomous way.    When the transition point is vague and invisible and not clearly defined, this can sometimes cause confusion.    This problem is solved by externally defining and fixing the transition point by a transition ritual.    

Most transition rituals are connected with growing up.   There are initiation rites in tribal groups. religious ceremonies to become a full member of a religious congregation, the reaching of legal age, ceremonies when getting a degree and many more.   

Fixing the transition point by a transition ritual has some psychological consequences. 
1. It defines the subsequent appropriate social role for the individual.  This ends confusion and cognitive dissonance between own inclinations and the role before the transition.
2.  It helps others to know, how to perceive and treat the person.
3.  It hides the information, how much or how little the person really fits the requirements of the new role.    

A transition ritual is helpful also for the transition from faith to atheism.    In Germany, every member of the two major religions is automatically paying church tax along with income tax, until the person formally declares the end of the membership.   Appearing personally in the town hall for this act serves as a transition ritual.  
In other countries, people can decide from one moment to the next to never make use of any religious service anymore, and declare themselves to be atheists at any moment.   But as this is only in their mind, instead of experiencing one clear transition point, they easily continue oscillating between self-labeling themselves as atheists and relapsing to temporary faith.  
While real atheism means the complete absence of any faith, the transition point, from where people dichotomously self-label themselves as atheists, is not yet the point, where real atheism has been reached, it is only the point of the predominance of the doubts over faith.    Self-labeled atheists can be either void of any faith or their atheism is only skin-deep, while they are rationally fighting against their wish or need for a faith.      Some of the skin-deep atheists will never really get void of all substitute beliefs, others are still on the way of overcoming all of their previous faith.