In this article I am discussing about credulity which is not really naivety, although in some cases it may resemble. Naivety may also be associated with a child's innocence or with wishful thinking, but credulity paints the picture of blind or unfounded belief that can reach a point of pathological behavior.
Credulity is associated with credibility as someone who blindly believes something to be true may found their beliefs in something that appears to be credible but is actually not. Something may be credible but not real and we can see this in the creation of illusions about our own image or the image of other people.
An event or idea is credible if it enters our range of expectations and is supported by a very good story, full of motivations that may be ok at first glance. Our range of expectations is founded on our core set of beliefs and current experiences, amplified by constant reinforcement through repetition and motivation. The motivations and arguments are the ones that lend credibility to something but they may not be founded on reality or on discernment.
This shadow keeps us in a circular closed mindset putting a lot of energy in those beliefs or people sustaining the experience. We see this a lot in groups of people following a certain fixed dogma, like a cult. Beware of assassinating words like "cult", a cult is not necessarily bad or destructive, this word actually means a group of sages or knowledgable people in a certain domain. The word cult also is included in the word culture, defining the way a certain large group of people uniquely behave and express in their daily life.
Analyzing the words
Cred-ulity = creed - nullity. A creed or credo is a set of beliefs or laws of behavior of a group of people. But nullity says that these beliefs may not be as useful as they think or they may be empty of actual meaning. In latin languages "cred" means belief or believe.
So we can see that the word itself tells us about its meaning and helps us see that credulity represents an act of believing a dogmatic structure of thoughts that is not really useful to the person.
Cred-ibility = cred - ability. This is telling us about the ability of the belief system to impress upon the mind of the person in question.
I am speaking about the shadow aspects here so please do not think that there is something wrong with believing in something with dedication. The set of beliefs, or the way we understand and apply them, are usually de issue and not the act of believing.
What is credible ?
A credible situation or idea is an idea that is invested with great possibility of being true, according to the person or group of people involved. Many people are drawn to believe something if it has a high credibility factor, that they do not usually verify, depending on the case. A good story that is credible and well put together may have greater success with people than the naked truth. Why is that ? The truth is not always so appealing or even that credible.
A good story puts many people at ease because their expectations are met and their previous experiences are validated. This provides a safe psychological level of perception in which the person feels comfortable. Because of this, a being may twist and turn a real event in order to meet its expectations or may misinterpret some actions or proofs given.
Sometimes a person may believe a very complicated answer just because they cannot accept the simple answers. The other way around is also valid, a person may believe a simple answer because they cannot see the complexity of a situation. Simplicity or complexity is also based on the person's understanding. The range of credible things depends on the range of perception and perspective a human may be open to.
If I am totally closed to some possibilities and ideas, I will not accept or even consider them as valid. Because of this I will reject and even fight them if I am very attached to my comfortable zone.
The comfortable zone is different for each person. One being may have the comfortable zone composed of material focused answers and others may have that zone composed of spiritual aspects or very complex structures of apparently logical ideas.
The expression of this shadow
We become blind and we fall into extreme credulity when we give an idea/a person/ a set of beliefs/a group of people or a structure our undenied devotion so much that we forget about our discernment, our inner compass and divine guidance. We practically almost forget our own self or will and we expects that idea/set of beliefs/group of people to deliver us the truth, to tell us what to believe and how to behave with almost no inner filter, little rational thinking or thorough verification.
This shadow is very complex and complicated, most people having a hard time understanding that they are in it when they are. Most people do not understand or even see the degree of harm their credulity brings as they have so much faith and motivation in what they are doing.
Please understand that not all things seen as credulity or as harm by us or other people, actually are like that to the people involved. This is a complex matter of perspective and perception. Some things considered harmful by a majority of people in a group may actually not be for a few people who have a mastery in understanding those things in a totally different way. There are no absolutes in this, this is why free choice needs to be respected and supported.
What to do in this case ? This is such a delicate matter that involves a high amount of love and understanding while carefully expressing your ideas and perspectives without being forceful. Force or too much rational explanations may do more harm and trauma than the situation itself. Subtle questioning may prove more useful to push some things to the surface of the consciousness.
We all have some areas in which we may be gullible and attached to a set of beliefs and not even know it. We become aware of this shadow by self-work and observation of the world and ourselves. We need to show the same amount of love and understanding to ourselves as well, as we would give another in this situation.
The status of credibility
As I have explained above, credibility is involved in credulity. When we are into this shadow we tend to place a person/an idea/a set of beliefs/a structure/ a god/ a guru onto a pedestal and give them a high status of credibility. This would not be such an issue if we would not put ourselves under the pedestal and consider we have no credibility.
An admiration for a person is not an issue until we place ourselves in an extreme inferior position and we stop listening to our inner compass and our critical mind. Even if we may use verification, if we are very caught in the belief sets then they will be more powerful and lead us into the answers that only reinforce our beliefs. In this case, many people will not accept a different view or proof even if it is expressing before their eyes.
This is why it is called blind belief, because it excludes other things that happen and also creates illusions and false perceptions of reality.
When we invest a person/idea etc. with this high status of credibility and we forget ourselves, we fall into credulity. When this happens we confer that person/system/thing a power that we no longer have and we create high expectations that they/it will not betray us in any way. From that point on we have opened a direct door to our consciousness and a direct channel from that person/thing to us. Through this channel we receive whatever that person/thing represents without much verification.
Whatever that person/idea/system/thing says or does is now received with a label of "truth". This is what we see when people blindly follow a leader of a group/ a dogma/ an idea or system to extremes, so as such to harm themselves or others without even knowing it. In these cases the people also give the responsibility of their acts to the leader/guru/system so they feel free to follow whatever they are asked by those set of beliefs.
Please keep in mind that not all gurus or leaders or cults are like this or are harmful, I invite you not to generalize anything, even if I do not specifically mention this every time. Some people put a teacher on a pedestal even if that teacher does not desire it so and create a false image about them. False images can be created about very good teachers too, not everyone can be pleased or fulfilled in the same way. This also happens everyday, in a less intense manner, when we form false images about other people or ourselves.
The main issue here is not the act of believing but how we use it to hide the truth and create a false image, a sort of fantasy, which we feed and maintain with our own energy. We tend to get very upset when that fantasy is shattered and we can see glimpses of the truth hidden in plain sight.
To see this in a symbolic way we can imagine castles into the air, ideas that do not reach the ground or reality but are sustained with a very dedicated force, creating a lens through which all other things are viewed. This fantasy can be sustained by a very good story and complicated motivations to reinforce the lens.
How to work on this shadow ?
In order to work on this shadow we need to create a supporting space within us or to find another being who can hold that space or help us. This is a delicate process where love and compassion, patience and perseverance need to exist.
Start to question yourself and see what beliefs are most ingrained or hold pain or hardship. Approach with love and observe those spots in yourself.
- Do you leave space for a contrary view to exist ?
- Do you offer the choice for others to have and hold a different view than yours ?
- Would it be seriously painful if that belief you hold tightly wasn't true in the absolute way you think ?
- Would it be painful if this idea wasn't for you to understand right now ?
- Where do you believe without any question, filter, experience or verification ?