BELIEF: any concept certified by way of the feedback of self-interest

Although many beliefs are concept kites made from prefabricated kitsets or lightweight mathematical models... which only ever fly virtually, on the updraughts of dogma, hearsay, and theoretic symbolism... never-the-less vast aggregations of virtual substance are capable of being supported in a simulated antigravitational field by orographic gusts of promotional self-interest and the simulated thrust of doctrinal aerobatics. With suitably designed airfoils, aerodynamic profiles, gyrocopter and rocket technology, the modern flying stone-mill embodies the very essence of entrepreneurial faith.

The flight testing of these and similar designs is invariably conducted in secrecy due to the commercial sensitivity of the data. Any adverse publicity surrounding the investigation... suggesting the project is underpowered and overweight for example... would understandably jeopardize funding. The flight-testing of belief programs therefore tend to progressively avoid adverse weather conditions and allow self-interest factors to gain in significance. The certification process must not be seriously impeded. A certificate is in fact usually issued before due consideration is given to any of the critical performance parameters so that there will be no delay in the distribution of sales promotion brochures.

When a belief becomes enclosed in a semi-permeable sac of certainty it will inevitably mature into a delusion. It can be a very comfortable state to acquire and sustain, because the surrounding membrane allows the passage of whatever is appealing, confirming and reassuring. It also excludes whatever starkly empirical evidence of reality is unpleasant, unpalatable and unacceptable.

Many belief-delusions have attained a widespread and intransigent permanence. The belief that some form of god will punish designated evildoers and will reward enduring faith with everlasting life is one example. A second is the aspiration that eventually the world populations will live in peace and harmony, because an honourable war can bring peace to the recipients. There are many others of course, but the unavoidable fact remains that from the individual's point of view, there is much about existence that is less than appealing. The sustaining of delusionary states is an effective means of keeping the most unsavoury aspects in denial and out of mind. Stripping such a protective coating from harmless cases may serve no purpose whatsoever, and might just as well be left in situ. Unfortunately however, the behaviour of many individuals is often driven by apparent delusions which are directed at the subjugation and even annihilation of others. The delusion driven witch-hunts, ethnic purges and rooting out of unbelievers will continue as one of the least endearing activities of humans. So aggressive and intolerant do belief-deluded individuals and groups become, that those who find themselves targeted need to have put effective and pragmatic defensive systems in place.