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Experience as a prerequisite

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Curious George, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    @Epic Beard Man had said this in a different thread. Behind this statement is the idea that some things require in group experience in order to accurately speak to an issue. This notion is often touted. I am wondering when we people believe it is true and when they do not.

    Common areas where we see this notion are parenting discussions, sex/gender discussions, race discussions and even spiritual discussions.

    Do you feel that in-group experience is a prerequisite to accurate understanding on all issues? Some issues? No issues? Which issues, if any, is experience a prerequisite? Why or why not?

    I am wondering if someone can defend the idea with an internally consistent approach, or if someone can unseat the idea without just pointing to the obvious question begging.
     
  2. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    An example of me is a headache. There can be scientific discussions about what causes headaches and the physiological processes that occur when someone has a headache.

    But unless someone has experienced one, the depth of understanding is superficial. For example, I have a sense what a migraine is from people's description but I don't really know the full level of pain and negative emotions people suffer when they have one.

    This is even more true about bigger things like childbirth. I really don't know all the depth of emotions and pain a woman goes through to give birth.
     
  3. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Kind of true. You don't know me, can't really relate to my experiential life.

    However there maybe some experiences we have in common. Parenting or maybe involved in the same religion, or went to the same college. We are all human beings, so there is some common experience there.

    It's a mistake though IMO to assume this group of common experiences is larger than it is. Not all White/Black people share the same experiences for example.

    Between you and me, we might find common experiences we can relate to. Between you, me and Joe Blow, unless Joe involves himself in the discussion, we shouldn't really be making the assumption of a commonality of experience.

    Kind of bigoted right? For you and me to assume Joe shares in our common experience especially without Joe being around to say one way or another.

    So I'd say there is no reason to assume a commonality of experiences of folks not involved in a discussion regardless of how you try to superficially group them together.
     
  4. David T

    David T Well-Known Member
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    Experience can be very subjectively interpreted. The speed between experience and interpretation can happen at the speed of light. That can be slow down and examined but culture conspires against that. So yea you can get a larger demographic but it doesn't mean more clarity always.

    Its the problem in religion. Someone accepts jesus and has an experience and swears their conscious decision Was the causality that's totally wrong. It more deeply rooted than a simple verbal intellectual statement. It's also curious and not surprising that whole phenomena isn't explored more. But science can't and religion Is ill equipped.
     
  5. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    I can trust that you can't know what a migraine is because you say so. That does not mean that others cannot.
     
  6. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    This is the statement on which I would like to focus.

    Why Do you think I can not relate to ypur experiential life because I dont know you? Moreover, what does it mean to know someone (biblical jokes aside)?
     
  7. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

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    Of course it's impossible to understand things we have never been a part of. If you've never been discriminated against based on religious belief(or lack thereof), food you eat, gender or racial profiling instead of just for yourself, you will have some strange ideas about it.

    On the mystic side, it's hard to take seriously people who don't have the experiences if they try to approach the topic.

    It's possible, but they have to know what they're talking about instead of taking third hand sources and making up stuff.
     
  8. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    What do you mean by "been a part of?"

    And why is it imossibe?
     
  9. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    I think everyone has relevant experience to this kind of question because they’re ultimately about human emotions, instincts or responses and we’re all (presumably!) human here. Clearly different individuals will have different levels of knowledge and first-hand experience directly relevant to a given question but I don’t think that means anyone’s opinion should be dismissed out of hand nor should it mean anyone’s opinion should be deemed definitive and unquestionable.

    I think the key isn’t about denying some people’s right to comment but us all understanding and acknowledging the limitations of our own viewpoint and opinion, even (especially!) in discussions where we might be deemed to have particular expertise.
     
  10. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    While that is compelling rhetoric, Why?

    Why should we look at our view as limited in contrast to a view that admittedly lacks some experience that is central to a topic? Are you suggesting that experience is not central? What are the limitations? (If this is meant as a broad notion of limitations which are variable, perhaps you can offer examples.)
     
  11. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    It’s not about recognising our view as limiting in contrast to anyone else. Our view is always limited regardless of the level of experience and knowledge we have (or think we have) on the topic. Dismissing other people’s opinions out of hand is really just the mirror of that problem.

    I don’t think direct personal experience is central to any discussion. It’s clearly relevant but other things such as academic knowledge, understanding of wider guiding principles or experience of different but comparable things could be just as relevant or at least offer enlightening viewpoints or ideas.

    The limitations of personal experience come from its very nature. We can only experience so much in one life and will only experience them from our personal perspective. I could have spent most of my life as a parent but I’ll never know what it’s like to be a mother for example. There can also be a problem with our over-reliance on personal experience, assuming that just because we experienced something means that must be how everyone else does, will or should experience it too. We’re generally pretty bad at putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, especially if there are significant differences in culture, characters or nature.
     
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  12. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    You perhaps know a little about me from my posts, assuming I've been honest in them.

    However really, I think we'd need to list what experiences we had in common. Like where we grew up, went to school. Kind of jobs we've both held. Early childhood, like did you know both of your parents. Where you ever homeless. Was your family middle class, wealthy or poor, what religions you've been involved with etc...

    From that we'd have a basis to discuss common experiences.

    I could tell you about some of my experiences but I think a lot fo the reality would be missing. Only so much can be conveyed through words.

    Like I could tell you about Hawaii, and maybe you'd could get a mental image of it but it'd be nothing really like having actually been there your-self.
     
  13. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    On what basis do you assume that?
     
  14. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Having been told about Hawaii prior to actually going there.
     
  15. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    So, from your Experience? But your experience cannot contemplate my experience accurately, or so you have said.
     
  16. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    That's why discussion would be important. To find common experiences we could both relate to.
     
  17. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    So then without discussion you cannot know whether my mental hawaii image was nothing like having been there myself?
     
  18. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Without discussion, I wouldn't know much about you at all.
     
  19. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    Yet you assume that without experience I could not accurately speak of what it is like going to Hawaii?
     
  20. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Pretty much. Of course you are free to prove me wrong on that, but this would require discussion.
     
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