Consciousness is primary.
It is the thing that informs how we live our whole lives, including the kinds of thoughts we have, the way we view others and ourselves, what work we go into—everything. And it’s not the beliefs we hold that determine where we fall on the consciousness scale (in the case of a racist belief, the level would be fear and/or anger). It works the other way around: The level forms the beliefs.
When personal consciousness spontaneously expands in an unconscious world, things can get very scary. Consequently, most of us tend to fall into a semi-comfortable place on the scale, and from there we proceed to make a life out of justifying why we can’t live differently. We do this unwittingly, so I don’t mean for that statement to imply judgment. (For how can we judge that which is unconsciously done?) It’s what I did and it’s what I see happening still.
The vast majority of people cannot yet psychologically afford to grow in this way, or, they have no interest in doing so. For millions, existential matters have not stared them down hard enough to cause them to come crawling to the Truth. So, for reasons beyond their control, fear wins. Smooth growth in personal consciousness depends on belonging to a conscious community, and most of our communities are just not very conscious yet.
This is even (and sometimes especially) true of spiritual communities and those that are built around specific social causes.
From lower levels, the mind is used in lower ways. For instance, if one is at the level of fear, they use the mind to find reasons to be afraid: Here the world is imagined as a threatening place where the apocalypse is nigh and people will screw you over at any opportunity. If they’re at the level of anger (a major obstacle for many people who start to see the sickness in the world), they use the mind to reinforce why it is acceptable to be angry: Here the world is imagined as a super messed up place where the apocalypse is already occurring and most other humans are idiot-garbage-people. Lots of people take up “causes” at this point: Anger is is where many, many people get stuck, expecting that changing the outside world will necessarily alleviate suffering within.
These are just blunt templates of worldviews. Really, there’s a gradient. And depending on external circumstances, one can easily fluctuate between worldview 1 and worldview 2. This is because we don’t just stay at one level, but rather hover around a few different ones in our daily lives. However, higher consciousness is always available and we all ascend to them at least once in a while. This can happen when we fall in love or meditate or create art or listen to music or sit in nature. It can also happen for no discernible reason whatsoever. This is rare, but it does occur.
Neither of the above worldviews can offer a complete picture of reality, which is to say that they are not sane ways of looking at life. In our blunt examples, both individuals have glimpses where they realize that much more is going on than they usually notice. As touched on in the above paragraph, they certainly feel love and connection and peace in specific situations, but tend to slip back down into fear/anger later on. Again: This is no one’s “fault.”
The mind is an incredibly powerful tool, but without consciousness, it is primarily used to defend erroneous beliefs. In short, at low levels, we unconsciously use the mind to stay unconscious.
And why do we do this? The fear pattern.