SONGSOPTOK: «Belief is simple acceptance that a proposition is true, without regard to reason(s) while faith is the acceptance of a proposition rather than an epistemological (evidence-based) reason.” Does this reflect your understanding of the two words? If so, why? If not, then how would you distinguish between the two?

CLIFF GOGH: Love is important to consider when beliefs and faith are considered. Because beliefs and faith tend to divide people, often pitting them against one another. More important than beliefs and faith, to my mind, is to care about human beings, to make sure they're safe, to practice compassion and feel empathy for anyone suffering.

Certainty in anything is a kind of error, because human beings are using faulty equipment to begin with. The brain incorporating reality based on sensual perceptions is limited to what it can perceive, whereas the truth of things might be quite different than anything imaginable by a human being. Beliefs are based on what the brain can assume about reality, but what the brain can assume is hardly the whole extent of reality. Faiths are likewise: to have faith in something without proof is not very different than having a belief. Because the brain is limited by what it can perceive and then imagine based on those perceptions.

The way I would like to philosophize is with uncertainty; that is, to be uncertain that anything I think is true, that it is possible that nothing I think has any truth in it. I view that as being something very useful in this world in which humanity is continually struggling against itself, people fighting people, over philosophies and ideologies that they are convinced are accurate and truths worth killing over.

Again, it is more important to love one another than to divide into factions according to beliefs and faiths. This requires only one belief: that human beings are worth loving.

SONGSOPTOK: Each person can inherit, adopt or construct her own set of beliefs and faiths, or it is a combination of the two. How would you qualify your own personal set? Were your faiths and beliefs handed down to you by someone? Who? Or were they acquired? If so, how?

CLIFF GOGH:  Sometimes I am drawn to an idea or an ideology, but ultimately I return to a place in which I believe only that they are all more than likely errors. For instance, it was once believed the world was flat, but that never made it true. It was once believed that gods lived in volcanoes, but that never made it true. Our current modes of thought, all of our certainties, are like that: modern beliefs that in time might just be considered ridiculous.

My view is that it is extremely important to take care of humanity, to care for each other, and that that is very difficult, but necessary and of the highest good. In order to gather together, instead of separate, nations and people must let go of the ideas and ideologies that divide them into opposing groups.

It is very important that we come together, and nothing else is more needed; whatever is true, it doesn't matter so much as that people view the whole of humanity as a united kinship, take care of each other, and work together instead of against others. Much more could be accomplished by modern society to provide a better life for the future of humanity if fighting and bickering came to an end.

SONGSOPTOK: In your own personal sphere, do you consider worship as a religious act involving rites, rituals or other types of practices? Or is it related to something that transcends religion? Can you explain your position with some examples?

CLIFF GOGH:  I view human beings as miraculous wonders and tend to see them as embodiments of a greater whole. To worship life would be a wonderful way to live life, and I don't feel the need to look any further than humanity for a reason to be spiritual. People are wonders. Life is incredibly miraculous. Each person might as well glow under the surface. Things exist that are impossible to witness, but that suggest something unimaginably vast and great of which we are all a part.

As for me, I don't practice rituals, but rather look and see and wonder about life. I try to look into people. deeper inside than the surface troubles, the grimaces, the pain, the suffering. Because inside them is a being more beautiful than everything up on the surface. It requires no rituals. It only requires that I look for something in people that is underneath, and that thing is underneath all things, requiring nothing to see it but a mind able to see it in oneself.

SONGSOPTOK:  “Faith takes over where reason leaves off” – do you agree? Can you explain your point of view?

CLIFF GOGH:  I don't concern myself with either of these. In my view, reason is flawed, and so is faith, because both are based on a limited perception of what actually exists. It doesn't matter to me if one or the other is being argued, because both are equal in their absurdity. Faith is still based on the same organ that cannot see truly, and reason is likewise. Both come from the same place: limited perception. To abandon certainty in faith and certainty in reason might leave us with a better world in which ideas don't compete against other ideas, a more peaceful world, a world in which the human brain is viewed not with self-importance but with a casual disregard. Take care of health. Take care of life. Take care to continue living. But disregard anything that comes from the mind if it doesn't support all life, if it fights against some life and attempts to establish itself as the better over other people.

SONGSOPTOK: Did you ever face a conflict between your beliefs, reason and knowledge? How do you react to such situations?

CLIFF GOGH:  Each seem to me to be part of a material world. Material things are essential for life, and what will come from beings existing and evolving in a material world is a grasp of the material. However, none of them are more valuable than the others, they're all the same sort of illusory perception, and thus I can't find them in conflict: rather, I see my beliefs, reasoning, and knowledge as all the same; they're material realities built from material reality; nothing to hold onto and nothing to pay much attention to unless they're required for a healthy life.

SONGSOPTOK: Are you a believer? What do you believe in?

CLIFF GOGH:  I have a lot of faith in humanity. I believe that we'll improve the conditions of the world, sooner than later, and that the future is very bright and filled with wonderful unification.

I don't see the way things currently are in politics and national struggles as carrying on forever, but rather that the people will unite and live in much more harmony than they currently do.

This due to education, exposure to different ways of life and ways of thinking, and the general goodness of the human spirit, which has a strong tendency to desire a loving world above a hostile world, because it feels better: a healthy world feels better to us, and when we can achieve one, we'll choose to.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that it is essential to convince and convert others to your own system of beliefs and faiths? Why? Can you please describe the reasons for your answer?

CLIFF GOGH:  When people believe they are right and others are wrong, there is error. When people believe they know what's best for others, they are likewise in error. No person is a better teacher for another than one's own self. To listen to the self leads to magnificent things; there is an interior in people that is vastly more useful to a person than any external teaching can be. People need to listen to themselves. They need to pay attention to their own inner landscape, because that inner world tends to make things right on its own. It has an intuitive understanding of what needs to be done to arrive at a happier state. It's when others tell people what to do or what to think or how to act that people begin to doubt their own strength, validity, and needs. Listening to themselves instead, people find what they need to be healthy, happy, and especially at peace with themselves and others.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that each individual has some form of faith or belief, whether related to religion or not? If yes, then what do you think are the main reasons?

CLIFF GOGH:  A mind believes all sorts of things that the interior might disregard. On the surface of life, where the mind is, we need to do certain things to preserve ourselves. What the main reasons are in that regard is likely a drive to secure one's own values and propagate them into the future. It's a strong drive in humans, and part of how we control our own evolution, to spread our values, to seek to make what we care about more prominent in the world.

SONGSOPTOK: “A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.” said C.S. Lewis. Do you agree with this view? Or do you think that some form of worship is indispensable for humans? Why?

CLIFF GOGH:  Deities and worship seem to me to be part of our evolutionary heritage. I don't find them necessary for myself, and I don't believe they're essential for life. In fact, religions and faiths have separated people and caused wars enough to make me wonder if they do more harm than good. I'd worship the soul of a person, because I'd want that soul to be loved. However, religion and the divisions it has caused in the world have done a great deal of harm, made people hate each other, and made people fight. That is dispensable, not indispensable. I'd love to see a world in which humanity stopped the fighting and came together with love, regardless of beliefs.

SONGSOPTOK: You may or may not choose to answer this – but nevertheless we would like to know who do you worship? Why do you worship? How do you worship? And above all, in what way does it help you in your everyday life?

CLIFF GOGH:  If I were to worship anything, it would be peace on earth, loving-kindness, and the being that rests inside people beneath the surface troubles. I'd worship that because it's glorious; human beings are glorious, and life is beautiful and gorgeous and lovable. Viewing the world like this, viewing people with love no matter their beliefs or spiritual practices, viewing the deeper essence in them that is pure and blissful – that helps me a great deal, because in the presence of that being, love rises up and makes living quite pleasant. To love is a state of bliss, and to feel love for everyone encountered is to be in a state of bliss that nothing else compares to; it's to be very close to the oneness of the universe, the metaphysical that underlies everything, and the whole beauty of  timelessness.

CLIFF GOGH: An observer of life, highly fascinated by the deeper unconditioned nature of being.  Has traveled, wandered, and been up to the tops of mountains. His work, which has spanned over twenty years of self-searching and reflection, is an effort both to candidly reveal his own inner landscape and highlight the way the being can be open to other beings. His book, Beyond the Furthest Edge of Night, is a spiritual memoir along these lines and can be found here:


We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)


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