By Qadar Khan
Hamlet does not consider Denmark to be a place of gardens, rivers and sceneries but rather a place of confinements, wards and dungeons, in other words a prison; no rather the worst of prisons.
When Hamlet’s friend Rosencrantz reminds him that they didn’t think Denmark was a prions, the prince replies:
“Why then ’tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.”
We are not born with beliefs. We make our beliefs as we grow. Family, society, school, friends, teachers, parents, influence our belief system. As we grow we absorb this influence overtime until we have our own sets of belief.
The way or the environment we are brought up in determines our beliefs. This makes certain people different from others.
A child grown in a violent family thinks it is ok to be violent. Parents who constantly shout at their children experience that their children shout back at them. As they grow they start shouting at each other or even at the people outside such in schools etc. This is because they acquired the belief that it is ok, perfectly normal and there is nothing wrong to be violent and shout at others
Experience is another major contributor to forming our beliefs. A positive experience will certainly make our beliefs very positive about some people or things and the vice versa is true.
Beliefs are the way we look at life. It is our own way of thinking to judge things. In the quote above, Shakespeare rightly remarked “nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
Some people wonder why they become angry at some things, people or events while others do not. Just because of our beliefs; because of our thinking. In other words our beliefs determine how to judge and value something.
The most difficult thing is to change our beliefs formed in our childhood. Wordsworth, the eighteenth century English poet of Nature said “child is the father of man.”
Whatever we learn or acquire in our childhood has a deep impact on our personality, thinking and beliefs. Such core beliefs may not show themselves abruptly but may appear negatively at later stage in life.
Because we have different beliefs we respond differently to events. The same event may draw an inappropriate response from someone but a normal or appropriate response from others.
When out at a party, Mr Ali feels angry when Mrs Ali mixes with other men. Mrs Ali is outgoing and likes to enjoy it to the max by socialising. She talks to both male and female. She is quite relaxed with a big friendly smile and even laughs loud at times.
Mr Ali thinks that she has no regards for him and that talking to other men freely is something not acceptable to him. He would want that she stays in her limits.
OK.. Mr Ali might be coming from a culture where men and women do not mix freely. It is considered against the accepted beliefs of the people where he grew up. This triggers his anger.
On the other hand, Mr Smith wants Mrs Smith to freely mix with other people and socialise with them. He does not like her glued to him all the time. He sees it a time that they both should talk to people separately so they can have the best of time at the party. But, Mrs Smith wants to stay with her husband and prove it others that they are an ideal loving couple. At the end of the party, Mr and Mrs Smith often return home without talking to each other.
Again here you see the underlying role of beliefs. Let me remind you that I personally do not agree unconditionally with what Shakespeare said. However, it does gives a deeper insight into understanding our way of thinking and avoid forming baseless beliefs.