Incredibly, Jordan’s newsletter came through outlining the difference between a legitimate belief system and idealism. So strange I ran across this idea and posted on it today, a synchronistic happening! Here are Jordan’s words. The link to his whole newsletter is below.
A belief system is merely trying to simplify, while retaining pragmatic utility. A belief system can therefore be partial, but still be honest. It has a purpose, which it is trying to fulfill, and the simplifications it produces are directed honestly toward that fulfillment. A belief system might therefore be considered something akin to an unbiased compression algorithm: it is trying to represent a more complex reality by sampling equally across the entire domain of that reality.
An ideology, on the other hand, is trying to simplify for reasons other than tool-like accuracy in relationship to stated goals. An ideology therefore throws away certain information, invisibly, for unstated but motivated reasons.
The emergence of error—the emergence of anomaly—further tests the distinction between a belief system and an ideology. The ideologue, who is not interested in solving the problem, is motivated to destroy the anomalous.