Into Sandy's City, Random Thoughts
by, 08-24-2010 at 10:47 PM (259 Views)
How does one cross the divide of experience? How does one relate to something alien and disconnected from the things that one knows?
There is always a relationship between any thing said or done. Any thought or word or action can be related to any other simply because they are all human, and all perceived by human beings. If one person sees a shooting star, and another person sees a tree, the two can be related as objects viewed by eyes. Or simply as physical objects that inhabit space and have mass.
One can even relate fire, or gases to solid states or plasmas. We have even learned how to relate energy to mass. But simply having relations does not mean we understand the connection between two things. An apple may have relations to a drop of water, but what kind of connections exist between them, if any?
If someone tells me a story of a particular experience, I can relate on many different levels. I too have experiences. I make decisions and perform actions just as this other person has. I interact with objects in similar ways. So the heart of the experience must be in the culmination of all the events that happened, and the meaning we personally and universally can draw from those events in the one experience.
So if a particular experience has a universal meaning that anyone, at least in the same society, can understand, anyone from that culture should be able to draw some meaning when the experience is described. And so we understand at least basically what almost any experience means that our peers witness. But "true understanding" of an event seems to come from the personal meaning drawn from an experience.
And one generally draws personal meaning from any experience as it relates to everything that have experienced in the past. All our past experiences shape who we are and what we believe today, so the optimal and maybe the only way to understand new experiences is to relate it to prior ones (this has bad connotations for how one understands the very first experiences, but I won't go there for now).
So if someone describes an experience to us to which we cannot personally relate in any significant way, we go to the universal relation. But how does one make that universal relation into a personal one without any kind of first hand experience with similar things?
Certainly there are plenty of similar experiences, but sometimes there seems to be no experience that is similar enough to create a personal understanding of the foreign experience mentioned. And so this inability to understand and connect to the spoken experience leaves a gulf that seems uncrossable.
Maybe not every gulf is meant to be crossed. Maybe not every connection can be made. But the desire to understand deeply is always there. And it is never satisfied by a universal relation. But there are experiences that are impossible to undertake, and so the gulf remains. I only wonder that the river of life and chance that created such a gulf might widen the gulf over time, as it slowly erodes the sides of the chasm bit by bit, carrying away small pebbles of understanding deep downstream.
But maybe in all relationships those pebbles are torn from some places so that they may be deposited in others, to strengthen the connections in other areas. And maybe in doing that, the river might be shrunk, so that it never carries away too much from any one gulf, and so one may always see across the gap to the other side, and marvel at the beauties and mysteries that lie resting there.