Understanding Reality: What you know vs what you believe

Last updated on May 17th, 2018  

You might think reality is self-evident but sadly it is not.

The key is to understand how your actions bring about certain results in the real world.

Knowing that a particular action will bring about a particular result is critically important and unfortunately the further you are from the action the more important is your knowledge of how the world actually works.

For example, when you vote you are very far from the action (what your representative actually does).

There is no knowledge in books

The very first confusion most people run into is that of knowledge.

Knowledge is information you have in your brain from first hand experience. That is something you have demonstrated for yourself to be true.

Information you get from a book is not knowledge.

You could read in a book that if you drop sodium into water it will react violently with the reaction releasing hydrogen gas.

However just because you read this does not mean you “know” it to be true. It is not knowledge.

You “believe” it to be true based on your “trust” in whoever wrote the book.

However belief and trust **are not** knowledge.

When I use the word “belief” I do not intend the religious meaning of belief which is more properly called “faith”. I am simply referring to “why” you think something is true. Either you “know” it to be true through demonstrating it for yourself, or you “believe” it to be true because someone else told you (or you read it somewhere).

This is the single most important pillar of understanding. You must recognize in your own mind what you “believe” to be true because that is what others have told you or you read it and what you “know” to be true because you have demonstrated it for yourself.

“Learning” in school used to be about knowledge. More recently it is about “belief”.


Developing knowledge is a slow process. Believing others can be accomplished in a second.

There was a time when many knowledgeable people wrote down their knowledge in books.

Some people thought they could benefit by getting their “knowledge” from these books. They believed it would save time.

The problem with books is that of trust.

Trust and belief can at times, work. However trust and belief at other times lead to problems.

Knowledge, on the other hand, always works correctly.

The first pillar of understanding and successfully navigating the world is knowledge.

The second pillar is trust. However trust is optional. Knowledge is enough. Trust, on the other hand, will allow you to take certain short cuts and save time.

The key here is who do you believe?

You must use your knowledge to make sure your trust is well placed. That is that you can “trust” that the information you are going to believe in is actually true.

You will always be better off with knowledge, but trust can be an substitute in many cases.

With both knowledge and belief you are attempting to get at truth.

Or more specifically you are trying to make sure that an action that you perform will bring about the result you want.

With knowledge you “know” the result you get. With “belief” you are “believing” you will get the desired result, but you won’t “know” for sure until you actually carry out the action.

It is this not knowing that leads people to be mislead.

Also unless you are carrying out the action you do not really know if it is true.

You can direct others to do things to accomplish some result. However, unless you watch them do it, you do not “know”.

For example, you could ask someone to go to the local store and pick up an item. They could later show up with the item. You do not “know” that they went to the store. They could have borrowed or stolen the item from a neighbor. You would only know if you watched them go to the store.

Even a receipt is still only a belief based on trust. They could have gone next door and printed up a fake receipt.

You may be thinking at this point that knowledge is too much work.  A very small amount of knowledge can actually get you very far.  In other words, you can leverage a little bit of knowledge to help you.  The key is to have at least some knowledge.

Knowledge is always the best solution, but belief and trust can save you time.

“Knowing” when belief and trust can be a good solution is critical.

So I will initially be helping you strengthen your knowledge and then we will use that knowledge to build a method to effectively use trust and belief.

I would like to reiterate here that we are trying to build a platform from which you can have a high degree of certainty that a particular action will bring about a particular result.

Think  about feeding the hungry. If you hand a bowl of soup to a hungry person and watch them eat it you can be pretty certain that your actions have lead to the result you wanted. That is that a hungry person has been fed.

However, if you send a donation to a charity how certain are you that a hungry person got fed? Maybe the charity spent 95% of the money on administrative costs? Maybe they just sent the money to an overseas bank account. How do you know a hungry person got fed? You don’t. You might believe a hungry person got fed based on what you read or heard but you do not know.

You are removed the action and thus you don’t know.

You are even further removed from the action when you empower the government to collect taxes from your fellow citizens and in theory spend that money feeding the hungry. How do you know what is actually happening? Are the hungry being fed? Is the money being used efficiently? The fact is you do not know and you are even further removed from the action.

This is why you often see the President of the United States in a food kitchen ladling out soup to the hungry. One, this is the only way the President can know their actions are bringing about the desired results, and two, you can know this too by watching the President ladling soup.

There is the problem that the event could be entirely staged, which is why it is better if you want to feed the hungry for you to hand the food directly to them.

You may want to review this section until you are absolutely certain you have a solid understanding of knowledge vs belief And the concept of actions bringing about the expected results.

After you are comfortable with the concepts in this section proceed to

Gravity: How you build knowledge

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