02023-06-02 | Book, Philosophy | 10 comments

In the book Hopeland a character declares “orthopraxy not orthodoxy” and, later, “doing not believing”.

Orthodox is the combination of two Greek words. Ortho means correct or upright. Dox means belief or opinion. The correct belief. Orthopraxy combines ortho with the word praxy, which means action, doing, or practice. The right deed, the right practice. 

There is much orthodoxy on this planet and not enough orthopraxy. 

I will not become a good guitar player by believing that I am good, but through practice. I would go so far as to say it doesn’t really matter what I believe because it is only what I do that matters. Nobody should care what I believe. My actions (or practice), on the other hand, matter. Believing is easy, doing is hard, which is why we would rather believe than do. 

I think this applies to everything in life.


  1. JaneParham

    Agreed! I must get HOPELAND.

    “Belief” is a synonym for “delusion” in my book. Lately, I’ve been trying to investigate my delusions, an exhausting endeavor. So much resistance! I make some important discoveries, then lapse into comfortable ruts of thinking. Very hard to accept reality of what I actually am rather than what I believe or wish I were.

  2. Lisi-Tana

    I love that. It’s so true. Believing takes very little. Practice, especially daily practice, is work.

    And yes…really why should anyone care what anyone else’s beliefs are? It’s when people want others to understand *and* participate in their beliefs that things go wonky.

    • JaneParham

      Good point!

  3. Y.

    In practice you can see the beauty of your efforts. Not one time of practice is like any other time.

    I had just been thinking about practice and how it changes as we grow (better? older? )

    • ottmar

      I love that: “In practice you can see the beauty of your efforts.”
      So true. Although it can take a very long time before one gets to see the result of the practice. Once I practiced something every day for a year and a half until, suddenly, I could actually execute it.

  4. anne

    Beliefs – shape us. (so does practice)

    Global data tells us religion is growing in many parts of the world. Children take on the beliefs of their parents/culture – goes from one generation to the next. There is no changing this fact.

    I care what people believe in – it is fascinating (not to mention, a key part of the puzzle). We have a world full of different beliefs – Christians, Muslims, Jewish, new age/spiritual, Buddhists, Hindus – etc

    No one group has the “Truth”,.. no one group can solve global problems but their beliefs are critical to this. Beliefs are deeply rooted and profoundly beautiful too (nobody is delusional for believing in god or not believing).

  5. Steve

    Spitballin’ here but:

    If/when we evaluate a person’s orthopraxy, we must seek to understand their orthodoxy. Which is to say,

    “Why a person does something seems to be as important … possibly more so than what a person does.” Motivation matters, No?

    Again … just spitballin’ …

    • ottmar

      There is the parable of the poisoned arrow:


      Personally, I feel that way about all action. Motivation doesn’t seem very important. Sometimes we improve just by doing something we are not really motivated to do. Motivation can follow action. Do good deeds and eventually you will be a good person. Do bad things etc…

      • Steve

        I don’t profess to be an authority on Buddhism, but isn’t there the idea or concept of The Noble Eightfold Path one item of which is “Right Intention”?

        Seems from the 10km view that there is an emphasis on the intent behind thought, action, and speech. In other words, when one acts, thinks, or speaks one should be mindful of one’s intent behind those thoughts, actions, and speech. Is the intent to foster harm and ill will or is the intent meant to bring about good will and harmlessness to those around onesself and the environment? Seems as if this is important since intent of an action creates karma, and intent is a manifestation of belief or principle. Behind it all is the intention of benefiting others in all that one does.

        And intention flows from principle or belief.

        e.g., If I don’t believe that compassion is important, then I will not have the facility of acting compassionately. If I don’t believe that not doing harm to the environment is important then I will act out of selfishness and expediency.

        But I understand the tension here: there is a path, and the most important thing is to stay on the path. No matter the motivation. Is that the case?

        No? Am I missing the point? I think there is a more subtle point here. (This is a rough draft at thinking about this)

  6. James

    Although Rome was not built in a day, would it have ever been built without belief?


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