Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Why Your Experience Rarely Matters

When ten people encounter an event together, why does each person recall a different story about it?  One’s point of view can obstruct what is seen.  By point of view, I’m referring to mental, not physical.  With that question, it makes you wonder: Do we really experience what we say we experience? 

The day we are born, we have no
language.  Therefore, we have no way of distinguishing the objects in our environment.  On that day, we don’t distinguish people from doors or dogs from chairs.  In fact, we have no distinction for love or hate.  However, the adults around us go to work immediately to change that. 

From the day we are born, we are taught language.  We are told that we have fingers and a face.  With language, we are told the difference between a dog and a chair.  We are even given constant demonstrations for what love is and how to respond to it through a reward and penal system. 

By the time we are old enough to reason, we have already been indoctrinated with the facts of life.  When we experience people and events, we experience them through the stored information we, thus far, were given by our parents and others.  And we are expected to adhere to that information.  If we call something out of the name we were given, we are corrected.  If we make that error in school, we are penalized with bad grades, even if we attempted to express our authentic experience of something.

From another perspective, perhaps a human’s true experience of life, events, people and objects occurs before we have language.  Except, science has not been able to validate that.  Without language, we will encounter something as an ‘occurring’, not as a dog or chair.  When we engage it as something occurring (I use occurring for lack of another way to express it in language), we don’t experience it as the thing we were told it was.  As an example, an infant has the possibility of experiencing something, as it is ‘there’ or occurring.  The infant’s experience would not be tainted by language. 

On the other hand, an adult would have a predetermined experience for the same occurring.  Their experience would be a direct correlate of what their environment gave them.  If one person’s environment gave them the belief that problems are bad and you should get rid of them, that individual would have one response to an uncomfortable situation.  If another person’s environment gave them the belief that problems are great opportunities to see what you are made of, that person may have a different response to the same event as the above person.  Neither is correct or wrong in their response and neither actually experienced the situation.  They viewed it through the conversations they inherited.  

This can be proved through an infant learning to walk.  When a healthy person first learns to walk, they fall over and over again.  For an intelligent adult, common sense may tell them that if you continue to fail at something, especially if it causes embarrassment, you quit.  The infant has not learned about failure, embarrassment or quitting.  The infant has an intention, to get from point A to point B.

With that said, adults are less likely to persist with something that may end in failure.  It is not because they experienced failure.  They have inherited the meaning or representation of failure.  If failure means incompetence, it is something to avoid.  If it means to become tough and relentless, it is appropriate to persevere.  Those are not the result of experiences of the occurring.  They are indoctrinated conversations that are inherited through your environment. 

As you can see, this is what makes innovation so difficult in organizations.  Up to now, our society has relied on a few individuals to breakthrough the mindset given to them about reality. 

For those who surmise they will change their belief or opinion, they will most likely change it within the confines of the preexisting reality that was already given to them.  That equals improvement.  Infants produce breakthroughs when they learn to walk.  Learning to walk is so complex that the child literally has to invent it.  The brain is not programmed to walk.  The infant has to write the program.  Then implement it with no past experience.  That’s brilliance and experience.        

For the rest of us intelligent adults, we don’t experience what’s occurring.  We experience our experiences through our experiences.  And that experience was already formulated in the language we inherited.  To experience, you have to let go of language and all belief systems – unlearn – and allow whatever is occurring to happen.  There is power in the pure innocence of a child encountering life. 

What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback. And I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know. 

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