When we consider that our very existence can come into question, we should not tumble forward into that inquiry without first stepping backward to view the odd situation that our existence can come into question at all in the first place.
While we do not know the essential matrix of a cat’s experience of being or that of a squid, we make certain assumptions that these creatures do not pose such questions. Even a dolphin or a chimpanzee seems incapable of such an enormous undertaking of intellect.
While the systems of these animals may indeed comprehend life’s complexity in ways with which we have no common basis of understanding, the animal systems (mostly) appear to avoid the crises of of isolation, which is the human condition. While some humans develop minds that override this singularity of the human experience, most do not. Most of us (who want to move beyond the isolated, selfishness of babies) must do mental (and physical) work to push ourselves beyond this experience.
Paradoxically, the human also assumes at times an almost automatic sense that “the other is not” or “the other is me”; and we are therefore not only capable of the most calculated, nightmarish acts of hubris but also of spontaneous, noble acts of altruism.
Dichotomies such as these beg a reconciliation, but this may only be so because of the limited ability of a human to understand its own variable response system.
The belief system can also act as a fastener between such dichotomies, in meaner terms, out of the descriptions of stimulus which carry the individual toward the acts of self-sacrifice or genocide appear in a qualitative form – “good” or “evil”.
If “belief” is to be taken as anything other than a tone of resonance in a vacant area between what is known and what is not known; perhaps these qualities of action contain a clue.