Why do beliefs matter?

In my model of mind, beliefs are explicit (conscious) parts of the world model that a mind maintains. They can be communicated or revised as necessary and in that sense, they’re no different from notes on paper. So why do they matter? They’re used like notes or any other symbols that were planted in the environment as reminders of some concepts. I view this “symbol planting” as a way to (re)populate the imagination on demand. It could be your own imagination or the imagination of others. It bypasses original sensing. For example, the written description of a banana can substitute itself to the sight of an actual banana. I see beliefs as imagination primers, and imagination sets the context for (intuitive) decision making. That’s why it’s important that beliefs or their communicated form be sufficiently correct for the application at hand.

Martin Jambon, September 03, 2022