Campfire tales III: Knowledge / Experience

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Campfire tales III: Knowledge / Experience

Postby rachMiel » Mon Jul 06, 2015 5:37 pm

Advaita favors knowledge over experience, reasoning that experience is fleeting whereas knowledge is enduring. Once you know with certainty that you are The Totality, you never un-know it ... nor do you have to keep realizing it experientially.

Buddhism (particularly Zen) favors experience over knowledge, asserting that knowing (intellectually) only provides you with a fancy conceptual image of ultimate truth, whereas experiencing makes you consciously realize it.

What mix of knowledge and experience do you favor? And why?
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Re: Campfire tales III: Knowledge / Experience

Postby rachMiel » Mon Jul 06, 2015 5:47 pm

I'd say that, in my "spiritual quest" I'm something like 2/3 knowledge and 1/3 experience guy.

It used to be more extreme: Almost exclusively knowledge (studying, analyzing, pondering) and just enough experience to test out the theory. But I eventually saw the cul de sac of this: I was *thinking* life instead of *living* it.

These days I only fully trust spiritual discoveries that are grounded in both knowledge and experience.

So if I experience something remarkable (a feeling of oneness on a walk, say), after the experience has ended I examine it, work to understand its essence, then find where it belongs in my library of personal knowledge and file it away.

Likewise, if I conceive of something (for example, the role of knowledge in spiritual development), I test it out in the lab of self via experience.

How about you?
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Re: Campfire tales III: Knowledge / Experience

Postby lmp » Mon Jul 06, 2015 8:02 pm

As I see it I am definitely the experience type of guy, lets say at first 3/4 experience and 1/4 knowledge. For a long time I couldn't make sense of my experiences. I think/thought that I'm on a path of beauty rather than of understanding or knowledge. Lately I would say it is more 50/50. I've had to work very hard with the thinking machine, often I doubt that people I talk to will have as much patience as I have had with it, while the experiences where there early on. But I guess it's just easier to understand for some. In the past I would go out driving or to the forest or the beach, pretty much expecting bliss or beauty to be there, and it was, while thinking more clearly about it has probably just come in the last 5 years or so. Something like that anyway.

I'd say experiences may be and are fleeting but they bring their own kind of certainty.

There's no shortage of bright ppl to ask if I get stuck somewhere mentally. I wonder how it works for others the other way around?
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Re: Campfire tales III: Knowledge / Experience

Postby smiileyjen101 » Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:12 pm

What mix of knowledge and experience do you favor? And why?

Simultaneous both if possible, curious, cautious but courageous (feel the fear, know the risks, choose wisely if possible) opening if not.

There is a little wise character in the last of Traci Harding's Ancient Future Trilogy books (thoroughly recommend them) that says "Wisdom, is knowledge, gained in experience and implemented with love'.

On reading it my heart, mind and soul said "Yes!"

It was kind of at the point in the journey of the major characters reflecting and looking for the 'reasons', having trudged through and grown through the matters of life/lives.

An untested theory, no matter how 'smart', will not bring wisdom. Experience without learning from it, or widening our understanding of it will not make us any smarter.

Any of it not implemented in love - for self and others, will only bring suffering.
Mastering knowledge and experience - is growing and knowing life consciously, knowledge and experience feed into each other simultaneously, whether we are aware of it or not. The 'wisdom' that comes, comes from implementing both with love - gratitude & generosity for self and others.

My Granny used to say 'What you won't be tell't (told), you'll be taught', and in wisdom, I know there's opportunity for all of us to understand the nuances of how to implement with love.

The nuances of 'stuff' (foo, what is) are often unknown in the theories, we disregard that which we either do not know (or even know that we do not know), or that which we do not think 'valuable' enough, do not know well enough, to include in the formulae feeding into cause-effect.

Experience offers us the opportunity to open up to the nuances, the unknown elements and possible outcomes (not just the probable ones). In experience we either embrace them if we are willing to know them, or close down if we'd prefer to stay safe in our knowledge of what we think a thing is. In conscious experience we find out what the theory actually means and involves with the nuances open to us. In the theories we can less personally evaluate cause & effect and natural consequences.

Both are valuable.

Nothing used to scare me more than experts espousing only on theory, for surely they would be taught the nuances that they would not be told (or would not hear), and for that they need participants, volunteers blind or awake to 'practice' on.

Now I tend to sigh :wink: and choose more wisely that which I participate in in experience.
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Re: Campfire tales III: Knowledge / Experience

Postby Rob X » Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:53 pm

rachMiel wrote:These days I only fully trust spiritual discoveries that are grounded in both knowledge and experience.


I agree with this. Some sort of mix is preferable. I'm probably 4/5 experience, 1/5 knowledge.

I originally came to this stuff by accident about sixteen years ago following a powerful existential experience (I've described it in my intro post.) When it happened I was not remotely interested in spirituality or nonduality or whatever - I had never read a book on the subject and I had no idea what was happening. It was an unexpected, authentic insight - which changed my outlook on life.

Since then I have had an interest in understanding this insight, comparing it with other reports and claims etc. (This has led to an aptitude for spotting the high degree of BS and waffle that pervades the nonduality/satsang scene. :D) Along the way I became part of a Buddhist group for a couple of years and I have read hundreds of books on the subject - most of which ended up at my local charity shop. Knowledge can only go so far - much of it is speculation anyway. Ultimately I'm content to just sit and watch and let existence reveal itself... in all of its mystery.
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Re: Campfire tales III: Knowledge / Experience

Postby rachMiel » Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:11 pm

Thinking out loud ...

Is there really a clear line between knowing and experiencing?

Isn't the act of knowing an experience?

Likewise, isn't experience a kind of subjective knowing?
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Re: Campfire tales III: Knowledge / Experience

Postby Rob X » Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:43 pm

rachMiel wrote:Is there really a clear line between knowing and experiencing?

Isn't the act of knowing an experience?

Likewise, isn't experience a kind of subjective knowing?


Ah… that's a different question/point. If the original question had been 'what is your mix of know-ing and experiencing?' it probably would have generated a different response.

What was originally implied was a polarity between knowledge (what you defined as "studying, analyzing, pondering") and direct experience.

So yes, I would agree that know-ing and experiencing are facets of the same phenomenon. Also it's probably true to say that when we experience something we gain a new understanding of some kind (knowledge.)

It's a semantic thing. Words like know, knowing and knowledge have subtle differences of meaning dependent on the context in which they are used.
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Re: Campfire tales III: Knowledge / Experience

Postby rachMiel » Wed Jul 08, 2015 2:38 am

The main focus is to compare the paths of knowledge and experience, as I laid out in the OP.

This last bit about knowing and experiencing being two sides of the same coin is just a tangent.

I'll reel it back in. :-)
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Re: Campfire tales III: Knowledge / Experience

Postby rachMiel » Wed Jul 08, 2015 2:44 am

We all experience stuff, pretty much 24x7.

You could say we're all masters of experiencing.

Does that mean we're all on the path of experience? If not, what's missing?
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Re: Campfire tales III: Knowledge / Experience

Postby lmp » Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:58 pm

"His perception of life is shaped by the concepts already established in his mind. The content of his consciousness is his entire existence. This content is common to all humanity." - krishnamurti

What I had in mind when I answered your first question was actually experience that is not of a 'familiar kind' or traditional kind, but experience that somehow belongs to ones own discoveries. Experience not governed by concepts.

I dont think buddhism/adviaita values the knowledge/experience that I am Swedish.

We are not necessarily masters of experience, but rather our experience is terribly conditioned. At the outset of the journey anyway.
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