Knowledge and Experience
This text is about a topic that often appears in my mind and I hear people talk about it very often lately.
The Western lifestyle is based to a large extent on the importance of knowledge. We go to universities to study, we do retraining, we read books, we go to lectures, or we don't do any of that because we know enough and we don't want to know any more.
Acquiring knowledge helps us to find, maintain and evolve into a job, to become important on the area of our choice, to better understand how this complex field that we call the world, human beings, human societies, animal kingdoms, machinery, universe, etc.operate.
But what is knowledge really? In science, philosophy, art and various practices, knowledge is collected or created by continuous observation, testing (experiment) and application. It is the distillate of an active, systematic process that essentially what is collected as information becomes a base, an axiom, an organized information system.
Based on this information (sensory and cognitive) and its evaluation we interpret and relate with the world. For example, we know that if we put our hand on a very hot object, it will burn. So to some extent we know that we and the world operate in certain ways, the ones that the knowledge suggests.
With knowledge to a great extent we have managed to control ourselves (diseases etc) and the world (weather conditions etc). It gives us the ability and the power to predict the results of acts and conditions in order to act in the best possible way for our benefit, initially to survive and consequently to live in the way that everyone chooses to live.
But what is knowledge than processed experience?
Before the organized knowledge systems (schools, universities, colleges, institutions, etc.) people had direct experience with their environment. Knowledge was verbal and was transferred through direct experience. For example, if a father wanted to teach his child or someone else in the community how to hunt in order to feed the family, then he would take him hunting and teach him the ways he knew, regardless of how successful they were. If there was no father, then someone experienced and knowledgeable from the community would teach the nascent hunter.
Knowledge has clearly released many possibilities and people have access to information that would previously be impossible to learn. My intention here is not to demonise knowledge, but in the light of the vast field of life to explore the question about the relationship between experience and knowledge.
Knowledge is primarily related to the mind in the sense that the complex and computational abilities and functions of the mind are needed for the processing of complex information. For example, if we want to achieve a certain result then we need to collect and apply specific knowledge, that is, ways, ideas and actions to achieve it.
In contrast or better complementary experience is more related to the heart, to the unknown, to the confidence in something new. The experience surprises because it does not concern both the expected and the known but the unknown and the new, something that does not exist as information.
In the above example for achieving a goal, if the applied knowledge, does not bring the desired result, then we need to update it, to seek new information that will help us towards our goal.
A more concrete example, if we have an interview for a job that we want to have, then we can prepare for it by studying, reading, working our levels of stress and self-confidence to increase the possibilities to get it. Clearly there are factors that are beyond our control, such as the fact that we do not know who else is candidates for the position, what are the selection criteria etc.
No matter how much knowledge we have acquired previously, if during our interview we do not apply or do not know how to answer a question or have a stress on us, then the outcome of the interview will not be the desired. That is, the very experience of the interview shows whether we have implemented what we have learned or need to learn about ourselves and the world to finally achieve our goal.
If we extend this thought to the whole field of life, then we realize that knowledge succeeds in the constant relationship of application and feedback (we experience, learn, experience, etc.). The expectation of a certain result from people, relationships, life, etc. arises from the mechanical perception of the world that it functions and behaves in a certain way, the one we know, suits us and makes us feel good etc. For example, it's like we expect that vendors in a pastry shop should always be smiling with everyone, ignoring that they might be experiencing a loss or something difficult that is not fitting to our own state or expectation.
Of course we all have desires for how we want things to be, but that does not mean that things will be as we want them to be.
The experience involves to some extent a 'letting go' into the unknown, that something may happen in an experiment or in an interaction that we had not thought about or predicted before or that is not in line with the expectation we had about ourselves and the world.
And there the 'miracle' begins, the contact with a greater field of knowledge (and experience) that transcends what we already know about ourselves and life and invites us (without necessarily being easy) to something bigger (higher self, spirituality, god you choose the name).
For some people this development, becoming their 'higher' version that combines the unknown, joy and wisdom is a way and purpose of life, for some others there is nothing but what they already know and have experienced.
This is yet another personal choice..
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