A metabelief is a belief about beliefs themselves. It is above or on the next level to the belief under consideration. Thus, a metabelief operator is a concept or a function or an agent that operates on, transforms, or introduces changes into belief systems. The metabelief operator is outside the belief system that it operates upon. It thinks outside the box, or at least it perceives that there is a box. A metabelief operator transforms beliefs, and thereby transforms the perception of reality.
The concept of the metabelief operator is useful in understanding the problems posed by the process of our making facsimiles of the various facets of the realities external and internal. Here the term operator is used in the mathematical sense of something that operates on something else to change or transform it.
The metabelief operator can be weak, strong, or nonexistent. If we are quite content with our facsimiles of inner and outer realities, and content with our life as it occurs, there may be little need for a metabelief operator. We are content with our beliefs with regard to our family, business, religion and politics, and our beliefs work satisfactorily. Our intention is not devoted to questioning and transforming our beliefs.
In this case, the metabelief operator may be so weak as to be insignificant or function only to entertain the self. A crisis, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, can activate a metabelief operator in someone who previously did not have such an operator, or strengthen a weak one. A brush with death, a profound religious experience, a serious accident, a prolonged illness, a financial disaster, or a sudden unexpected confrontation with violence, can generate a need to change beliefs about Self, about external reality, and about internal reality. Here the metabelief operator may appear and function for a time. It may continue its operations or it may become dormant again.
Some people, geniuses of one sort or another, acquire metabelief operators quite early in life and continue to use them throughout their lives or they may let them die. Certain artists, scientists, businessmen, and politicians are creative through such metabelief operators. Once successful, the need for the metabelief operators may become weakened because the beliefs have become satisfied and the need for change has approached zero. Others maintain their metabelief operators throughout their lives. Curiosity and interest in challenging and transforming beliefs may be kept alive for decades and be unaffected by aging.
Consensus reality is that set of beliefs, which includes assumptions, postulates, interpretations, and simulations, that we have learned are real and true in our culture, society, family, school, and so on. Consensus reality is that which is agreed upon to be real and true by a family, a group, a nation, or a group of nations. Some examples are the various human legal structures, like city, county, state, and nation. These are pictures of realities created by media like newspapers and radio, financial realities such as those created by banks, taxes, salaries and wages, and the scientific community’s picture of reality.
It is fairly easy to see consensus reality at work in fanatical cults, yet generally difficult to see their operation in our world. Yet, in a sense, we all live in a cult whose members agree upon what is real and unreal, what is right and wrong, good and bad, possible and impossible.
In other words, consensus reality is a collection of simulations of internal reality and external reality, with which members of a particular group agree or disagree. Most of our sacred beliefs are actually agreed upon simulations of reality. Feedback, positive or negative, from lovers, family, as well as with religious, political, and business groups, generates beliefs and disbeliefs in each of us. Once programmed, beliefs are difficult to unearth because we are generally unaware of their powerful existence and influence on our thinking, doing, and feeling. The degree to which we function from this programming is, in a sense, the degree to which we are biorobots. Humans are distinctly different from robots, however. The human biocomputer can program its Self.
An important subset of the consensus realities is paper realities and their counterpart-film and tape realities. In our society we record on paper our contracts, our marriages, our wills, our financial transactions, our news, our history, our thoughts, our opinions. These records determine our actions, our thinking, and our doing to a large extent.
We live up to, or break, our contracts. We marry one person and live together according to our beliefs as to what is a marriage. We make a will in the expectation that its provisions will be carried out after our death. A checking account works because enough people believe in its paper reality. Otherwise a check for a thousand dollars is nothing more than a worthless piece of paper. We believe or disbelieve stories printed in newspapers and shown in TV newscasts. We tend to believe as true that which we read in books and magazines and what we see in motion pictures and on TV To a large extent, paper reality represents consensus reality. We are immersed in a representation of reality fed to us on paper, on film, on tape.
The metabelief operator can chance beliefs at various rates, from zero to the maximum speed available to the person. During a crisis, the speed of change can be such that the basic beliefs change in a few seconds, hours, or days. By contrast, during slow social change it may take years for beliefs to change.
Consensus reality itself is an aspect of a very large hyperstable multiple individual feedback system. It changes slowly in the absence of war, violence, or catastrophe. metabelief operators derived from consensus reality reflect this slow rate of change characteristic. In fact, fast belief changes are generally suspect by the group at large. The person is considered abnormal, far out, diseased, mentally ill, a fanatic, or unstable. They go from operating at the norm to being deviant, different from the group.
The consensus reality feedback loop keeps belief systems stable, static and unchanging. Getting out of the consensus reality feedback loop is necessary to speed up belief change. But how can we do so when we are quite literally immersed in it? There is only one way, go into the void, a place devoid of sensory stimulation and feedback from the consensus reality.