I was recently engaged in an online conversation about the difference between experience and opinion. On the surface, they appear to be very different. However, when you peel back the layers, you discover they are birds of a feather.
When we are born, it is like we are given a‘life care pack’. We are told right from wrong, good from bad, beautiful from ugly and dumb from smart. Once we believe something or someone is smart or beautiful, we have expressed our opinion. Except, it’s an opinion for which we are not responsible. When we are born, we have no idea about beautiful or smart. We were told what it means to be smart or beautiful. Then we see people and situations through the ideals we were given or inherited. In other words, at a young age, we were programmed to know the meaning of beauty and smart. We did not program ourselves. Our parents, teachers, media and others programmed us. Yet, we pontificate that programming as though we made it up. It existed before we were born. And we have no idea who made up the idea or standard for beauty or smartness.
No one asked us what we thought of the ideals we inherited about beauty or smart or any of the other things we were given/programmed in the ‘life care pack’. If we disapproved of what we were given, we did the opposite. Except, we were still at the effect of what we were given. To do the opposite of anything means you are still being shaped and influenced by the very thing you did not like.
As you can see, we have nothing todo with the opinions that are given to us. When it comes to experience, it is similar. Yet, for some reason, we believe our experiences are our own. When we are told, for example, relationships are hard, we may sabotage our relationship just to prove that belief is correct. This belief permeates American society. And no one ever checked its validity. When some people enter a relationship, they enter with the presupposition that relationships are hard. Because human beings hate being wrong, they form thoughts and take actions to prove what they believe is correct. Therefore, people enter relationships already knowing it will be hard. When it’s hard, they say: “See. I told you relationships are hard”.
In their mind, the hard relationship existed before the relationship began. They never experienced a hard relationship. They had an opinion about relationships before it started. They inherited the belief. Then they engaged their significant other in a way that reinforced the belief. That belief is no different than believing someone is smart. The idea of both were given or programmed into their thought process. Once the programmed thought of relationships being hard is validated, the person claims to have experience with hard relationships. If you look closer, you see they never experienced the relationship. They experienced an opinion about relationships. Both the experience and opinion was given to the person, which means people have nothing to do with their opinions. Nor do they have much to do with what they claim to have experienced.
While this programming trap has been part of the human paradigm for eons, it is not inescapable. It requires unlearning. To address that, I will have to write at least 2 more articles.
What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback. And I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.