Experience and Knowledge

Srinivas Sista sista at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Sat Nov 9 13:16:25 CST 1996

"Ms. Aikya Param" <aikya at IX.NETCOM.COM> wrote:

<deleted some of the text>
> I would like to reply:
> The example of the sunset is helpful here.  Every time you
> see a sunset, you see the sun moving.  Even as you are
> delighted by the beauty of the sunset, you know that the
> sun is still but the earth is moving.

Do I? Or is it just another theory which I use in order to
explain the cause of the experience? Does knowledge about
anything change the experience, or does it just change our
prior knowledge about the experience?

<deleted some of the text>
> We learn much from experience but experience can be
> unreliable. Emotional experiences really show this.  How
> many times have you been scared of something which
> turned out to be okay, maybe even a big success.

How can experience as such be reliable or unreliable?
It just is! Explaining it or forming a conclusion about
it(knowledge) and pondering over the possible consequences
is the catch. You can be scared only because of your
(prior)knowledge. Only in the absence of (prior)knowledge
or in the presence of knowledge about the arbitrariness
(or futility) of knowledge, there is no fear.

<deleted some of the text>
> This would be anything but
> the blissful experience of oneness with everything that
> you know from your scriptures.  It would be more like
> Arjuna's vision of Krishna in his divine form, but worse.
> Arjuna retained his individuality during that experience.
> In this other experience the individuality and identification
> with one's body goes away. It is extraordinarily disorienting.
> Driving a car or operating machinery is definitely OUT.
> You don't care if you stop at the stop signs or red lights,
> etc.  If you don't have any background, what it seems is
> that "you" have been destroyed but you are still aware. Your
> consciousness has no particular focus in the body anymore.
> You are both everywhere and nowhere and you are not
> you anymore.  It is terrifying without knowledge.

On the other hand, it can be terrifying only because of knowledge!
Because of evaluating it from the framework of knowledge. Of pondering
over the consequences of such an experience, based on knowledge.
Isn't it?

Srinivas Sista.

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