Putting our experience into context - Roisin Pye - 12 Oct 01

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Experience into Words : One Thread

I find that there's a question in me that asks "Is experience enough to judge things by?" I guess I'm not sure if I would totally like to trust my own experience of things. Perhaps because often with reflection your experience takes on a different light.... and sometimes I find myself rationalising and dismissing things. What is one to do with that?

I find more and more that I need to trust my feelings, but they're also quite subjective at times. How does one trust that that is the way of truth?

Thought that would get some of ye going! See ya, Roisin

-- Anonymous, October 12, 2001


A temptation, paradigatically formulated by Descartes in his "Meditations" (1641), is to view "experience" as a purely inner realm to which I alone have access, and which I may or may not bring into dialogue with the world. Part of the effective answer to this is Wittgenstein's argument against the possibility of a "private language". Every grasping of experience and -- all the more so -- every formulation of experience is already a dialogue with the world of language and with all that we share which makes language possible. Part of being a "Church" or a community of believers is that in this group we share a form of life and a language of faith which enables us to give expression to our faith experience -- to understand it ourselves (growingly -- nothing too static here if things are healthy) and to be able to share it with others.

So, is experience enough to judge things by? It is important to dwell deeply with things ("Make your home in me") and to live out of that dwelling or "remaining" (a Johannine word). In that dwelling, our awareness and sharing in a community and a language grows. Not to be moved from the heart of things is not the same as being stubborn or merely subjective. It is the subject experiencing how things are, seeing them in the space that opens up.

-- Anonymous, October 28, 2001

Am struck by the answer Philip. It seems to that in most parishes there in'nt a sense of community. Participating in religious services so often feels sterile and meaninglessFor the most part there is'nt a form to exchange experiences. For many it seems to be an occasion to fulfil an obligation,reducing the thing to an empty jesture, far removed from the sentiments of the early church described in the Acts where the early christians were bonded in a common purpose and joyful preparation in praising God. How does get around this problem in large congregations where few know each other or want to be bothered coming from our alarmed secure houses and cars. It was interesting how the Americans acknowledged each other after 11Sept. Maybe that's the reason so many young people moved away from the church and found community and sense of sharing elsewhere. so its good to have this group

-- Anonymous, November 05, 2001

I know this sounds flipant but I find myself thinking that truth is a moving experience. My subjective experiences are a part of my own truth which is a little more complete through the knowing of myself in the light of the experiences of others. But I also think that experience is such a flat and disloyal thing when it comes to us through others that the only truth which we can trust is that which comes to us through our own subjective experiences. I guess this appears as a dismissal, in one foul swoop, of thousands of years of developing tradition, as well as the endless intricacies of the teaching office of our Church, but I don't mean to dismiss them. What makes such tradition and teaching meaningful is when their truths are recognised in one's experience, like furniture at home which is only recognisable once the light has been turned on and we can lay our own eyes on it, touch it with our own hands and sit in it, lie in it, eat from it, in our own particular fashion. I think it is the weaving of many truths into a personal experience of Truth.

-- Anonymous, November 22, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ