Our (mis)guided beliefs can create powerful things

Our (mis)guided beliefs can create powerful things

First, I want to do a shoutout to Sig, who did this amazing shadow play on the “dark room”:

It is part of my bucket list as a teacher to some day use the content of Sig and my artist friends as part of my learning sessions. Tonight, my doctoral class applied critical realism in trying to explain how the “dark room” came to be (critical realist morphogenesis), how it maintains its existence (morphostasis), and its potential outcomes using multiple theoretical lenses (e.g., deterrence theory, punishment theory, narrative theory, etc.)

One insight (of many!) that stood out from our discussions is how our beliefs, appropriate or misguided, can affect the power of things we’re supposed to believe in. In Sig’s shadow play, the (mis)guided beliefs and fear of the students allowed a seemingly normal janitor’s room into a “dark room” filled with monsters and crocodiles.

Individual beliefs can be a means to endorse or promote norms in such a way that what was individual before gradually becomes collective. Our beliefs can feed into reinforcing cycles that can empower things or entities. In that sense, our belief is very powerful.

Therefore, it is our responsibility to remain critical and creative so that we can see where our beliefs can take us and how our beliefs frame our reality. Just as the merchants in the gospel saw the church as a marketplace rather than a divine place of worship, we can be susceptible to misguided interpretations of the things we experience and perceive.

John 2:13-22. ‘He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”’


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