Sunday, 8 January 2017

Celebrity Beliefs

One of my minor hobbies is reading the social and political comments modern celebrities seem so addicted to. Sad isn’t it?

As everyone must know, the quality of celebrity opinion is extremely variable. Some are witty, a few are informed, but many celebrity opinions betray the most astounding ignorance.

Which brings us to the question of belief. If celebrity opinions are any guide then they suggest that belief can indeed be startlingly ignorant. Celebrities are not in the business of playing the intellectual clown. It may seem like that to some of us, but they know their audience better than we do.

It is almost as if ignorance rather than knowledge is the prime requisite for a wide range of human belief. In which case where does that take us? To my mind, belief is best seen as allegiance. It takes us further than the notion that people actually analyse their beliefs. Celebrities don’t have the time anyway.

One way to look at the issue is to remember that nothing in the natural world ever happens twice. Everything is at least slightly different to what went before, so it is always best to respond to ‘now’ via an improvised version of some overarching conception of what now ought to be. Not necessarily what ‘now’ is, but what it ought to be, what a commonly held belief says it is.

So we improvise our responses to ‘now’ by adapting what worked before. That is what the natural world selects from us. Belief seems to have evolved from this need to respond to ‘now’ while keeping hold of whatever worked in the past. That is to say, whatever worked socially. Truth has its uses, but it isn’t necessarily the bottom line darling.


Ed P said...

The modern assumption that celebrities must have in-depth knowledge about anything outside of whatever it is for which they're allegedly famous is most odd.

Whilst Stephen Fry is erudite and knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects, I believe he's been fooled by the CO2-is-bad lobby (as have so many otherwise intelligent people). Goebbels would be proud - propaganda works!

Sam Vega said...

"Belief seems to have evolved from this need to respond to ‘now’ while keeping hold of whatever worked in the past"

That's certainly how my beliefs work. Having listened to Stephen Fry (et al)'s utterances in the past, I found them to be mainly drivel. So now I keep hold of that principle and assume that whatever he is saying now is also drivel. Works a treat.

I must disagree slightly with Ed P about Stephen Fry's status, if I may. It's not that he's erudite and knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects; more that he has made a living in comedy showbiz by appearing to be erudite and knowledgeable. He is to genial professorial bumbling what John Wayne was to gunslingers.

wiggiatlarge said...

From the dictionary of National Celebrity, re Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry - A Stupid Person's idea of What an Intelligent Person is Like

A K Haart said...

Ed - with Fry I see a good memory, not so sure about his ability to use it. Being fooled by the CO2-is-bad lobby can't be a good sign.

Sam - I agree, erudite and knowledgeable is part of Fry's showbiz persona. Doesn't appear to have the depth he tacitly claims but one would have to know him to be sure.

Wiggia - I'm sure it says something about the modern world too.