Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Experience, Words And Concepts

We rightly differentiate between experience on the one hand and words and concepts on the other. However, our experience would not be human experience if it did not incorporate words and concepts, if it were not verbally expressible. Knowledge may be concrete and experiential or abstract and conceptual but nevertheless acquisition of experiential knowledge involves application of concepts.

If I consider the consequences of a religious doctrine as I walk into town, then the doctrine is a distraction from immediate manifestations of reality: trees, gardens, the sky etc. Of course, I recognize trees as such because I have a conceptual framework as well as a sensory apparatus. There are perhaps four stages of development:

unconscious organismic sensitivity to environmental alterations;
mere immediate sensory impressions;
non-verbal conceptual frameworks applied by animals to their immediate environments;
human consciousness.

However, the doctrine that is a distraction to me is some people's way of relating to reality. They live rebirth or salvation through Christ. We relate to the eternal in different ways. For human beings, different ways involves different, mutually incompatible, concepts.

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