FallibleDan

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I am not familiar with the course of the many adjacent rivulets of meanings of “glauben” in German since Proto-Germanic, but it would not surprise me if the influence of translating “episteuo“ into ”glauben” had a similar effect on those rivulets of meaning as they have had in English.

By the way, German scholarship in Koine Greek was rudimentary in the early 1520s when Luther and his team were translating the Bible into a compromise dialect of German (indeed, Luther’s Bible had the effect of greatly influencing and standardizing what became modern German).

The last PPPS reminds me of the joke:

In 1905, in Listowel, a folklorist asked an elderly lady if she believed in “the Good People” (fairies & leprechauns).

“Well, no I don’t. But it doesn’t seem to matter, they’re there just the same.”

This is a joke, but it shows that although the lady doesn’t believe or love the idea of the Good People existing, yet still she is persuaded they do.

[Edited regarding distinguishing “holding dear” and “being persuaded” (and “predicting”)]

Believe has two main strains of meaning that are adjacent but have opposite emotional valences. One has to do with beinng attracted, one has to do with being levered or persuaded.

The sense of "accept as true; credit upon the grounds of authority or testimony without complete demonstration,” is from early 14c. (persuaded strain)

The sense of "be persuaded of the truth of" (a doctrine, system, religion, etc.) is from mid-13c.; (persuaded strain)

The sense of was "be of the opinion, think" is from c. 1300 (bivalent: could be either d/t holding dear or being persuaded)

Before then, only the “hold dear” strain is seen:

  • In Middle English it was bileven

  • In Old English it was belyfan "to have faith or confidence" (in a person),

Even earlier forms were the Ingvaeonic (also known as North Sea Germanic, which were dialects from the 5th century) geleafa (Mercian), gelefa (Northumbrian), and gelyfan (West Saxon)

This in turn was from Proto-Germanic *ga-laubjan "hold dear (or valuable, or satisfactory), to love"

The Proto-Germanic came from the Proto-Indo-European root *leubh- "to care, desire, love"

[source: Etymonline]

The second broad category of the senses of believe, being persuaded, is perhaps due to English speakers being heavily exposed to it being used to translate the biblical Greek pisteuo which meant “to think to be true; to be persuaded of; to credit or place confidence in (of the thing believed); to credit or have confidence (in a moral or religious reference).”

As mentioned, this sense of believe was already present in the language by 13 c., but the use of this sense was vastly increased following the publication and wide use of the The King James Bible in 1611.

(Note: Tyndale’s New Testament of 1526 relied heavily on Luther’s Bible of 1522).

Pisteuo and its noun pistos is from PIE *bʰéydʰtis, equivalent to πείθω (peíthō, “I persuade”) +‎ -τις (-tis).

So our AngloSaxon word bileven came from PIE “to hold dear, regard as satisfactory, love” but is highly colored by it later being used to convey the sense of pisteuo from the PIE “persuaded (to be true)”.

tl;dr: There are two broad senses of believe which should not be confused:

  1. holding dear, valuing, regarding as satisfactory (being attracted, the original Germanic sense)
  2. being persuaded (being persuaded or leveraged, colored by Greek pisteuo)

BTW, perhaps the color of leverage or persuasion is what OP is detecting when they are exploring whether “believe in” has anything to do with “being relied upon for prediction.”

PS: “Epistemology” has a different etymology than pistis. Greek epistasthai "know how to do, understand," literally "overstand," from epi "over, near" (see epi-) + histasthai "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."

PPS: A hostage taker’s blocked and frozen humanity can be instantly thawed by a negotiator empathizing and sincerely saying, “I BELIEVE you.” This is evidence of the hostage taker responding to someone holding them dear, not to the negotiator using leverage.

PPPS: Some people Believe in God/ ie Love God, and some even have faith in God, even though they don’t have proof and may even doubt God exists. Again, they are attracted by God, even though they aren’t persuaded he exists.

Great insights into the human operating system here.

Very actionable; I love the brevity and being written in outline format.

Off-topic: I was reviewing some principles of classical rhetoric this morning; it's interesting how many I see applied in this piece.

Thank you for your outline and pearls. Getting more skillful at framing, as you point out, is a key mindset. The framing of teaching depends on the learner's various states (current abilities in the subject domain(s); physical, social and emotional states, etc.) and the learner's context. Teaching requires that the teacher adjust to the learner's current states and the learner's context, and select the appropriate frames.

One perhaps obvious frame is to think of teaching as "that which enables learning." What enables learning?

Imprinting to the body, including, as pointed out, by doing. Sometimes called "getting the learner's skin in the game." The body is a human's interface with what is, so of course learning relies on bodies. Repetition is a particularly powerful way of getting the body's attention: "Oh, I guess this isn't just a one-off - I keep coming across this experience so I guess I'd better adapt to it." Examples: athletic or musical performance training, doing problem sets in engineering, etc. The body's strategy, including its brain, is that, for the long run (literally), an efficient response to repeated experiences is to hypertrophy muscles/neural pathways.

Example: paraphrasing, as pointed out, is a way to check whether the learner is keeping up. See whether the student "follows." The phrase, "Do you follow me?" uses the language of the body.

Engaging affective valences (joy, fear, longing, satisfaction, appreciation of beauty (e.g., maths concepts are often beautiful)). An appropriate emotional valence is crucial for long-term memory.

Engaging social or intrasocial valences - how can one belong, join, nurture or protect? 99.99% of the human operating system can be regarded as, "mammalian," but, like water to a fish, it's ubiquity makes it invisible to us. Yet who optimally trains or learns in a social vacuum or executes or performs in a social vacuum? Huge stadia and social media platforms and the fact that we love to hear and tell stories are more obvious testimony to the importance of social valences.

  • e.g., working in a group (including see one, do one, teach one); getting students to "pair and share" as a way to anchor student mindsets into a learning mode
  • e.g., working with a future self, an idealized or shadow self, or with an in-dwelling parent, child, friend, advocate or mentor

Copying the best or what has been honed over time by linking with culture. Think of culture as being the ancient apperceptive mass of humanity's experience and learning. Engage with culture, e.g., by looking up the recent (in English, most words have a Germanic or Latin origin; scientific or technical words may, in addition, have a Greek origin) and more ancient (Proto-indo-european - the payoffs in PIE are often massive) etymologies of any new word and every key concept.

In sum, teaching is often more successful if it has actionable 'relevance' (recent etymology of relevant = "apropos;" ancient etymology = "that which lightens [a burden]"). Learning is easier if the learner or learner's body senses that something is useful or unburdening to him or her or to his or her "group," especially in ways in which the body (including emotion) or culture (especially language) have already provided hooks to latch on to.