When we talk of experience we mean that, we have seen and understood a particular system or thing, small or big. To experience an ogbject, an incident or a style is to have seen it understood it and also developed the capacity to visualize its impact reactions or repercussions. Whenever we have a particular experience, we have had to face the traumas involved, the pleasure deciphered and all that could be a part of it. It is this wisdom to understand the reactions of a particular action which is called experience. However, it is the plight of man that he realizes that a particular action is most likely to result in a specific way, yet, each one of us, yes, each one of us wish to do the experimenting ourselves, and refuse to learn from what the others have gone through. Most of us are inclined to believe that, we will not make the same mistakes the others made and so, we will not face the failures the others have had to face.
With this attitude we all wish to jump into tangles of undesirable experiences which we could very easily avoid if we learnt to learn from the experiences of others. In the bargain we suffer, we face failures and traumas, yet we refuse to learn the easier way, i.e. by the experiences of others. We find experimenting everything ourselves the most appropriate and probably, the only way to achieve. It is in this way that, experience and probably, the only way to achieve. It is in this way that, experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. At this juncture I am reminded of a saying that, 70 per cent of us are fools and the rest of us are in the fear of getting infected. When this is the position of our foolishness, we have to learn only after personal experiences rather than the experiences of near and dear ones. We must, fools as we all are, learn at the feet of experiments in failures.
On a very large plane, a very striking example that I would like to highlight in this context is the exchange of cultures of the East and the West, which is a topic of debate at several platforms today. The East lost in the maze of all that is dazzling progress of the West is trying its level best to ape the West even at the cost of leaving far behind its very rich and tried cultural strengths. In this bargain, we are losing what was ours, what was tested through annals of History. We are doing all this notwithstanding the debacles the West is facing due to its own cultural norms. The West is repenting for example, for all the freedom of sex and otherwise. The latest example of freedom of children showing itself in an ugly performance by children of the ages of twelve and fourteen.
The children of this size were lately involved in a murder of other children, and that also in a school. Seeing this, the United States is worried about too much freedom and exposure it has been giving to its children, at the young impressionable age. However, we even after reading about it, are not at all concerned about the result of freedom and exposure our children are getting. We refuse to learn the fact that, at the impressionable age children need more of care and less of freedom. We still continue to give or even increase the possible exposure to our children, all the time, waiting to experience the evils and the traumas ourselves. Is this not foolish?
We continue to grant all the licences of freedom to all and sundry and are as if, waiting to see the results. I do wonder how and why we feel that our children will never turn out to be so troublesome. As far as I think that, put into the same circumstances, all children will surely behave the same way. We should not believe that our children will never do what the children of the West are doing for, after all they belong to the East. Yes, they do belong the East, but if they are taught things of the West, they will definitely react the same way, there is no reason of believe in anything else. I do wonder why the experience of the West is not enough for us to learn, we must as if decide to learn the hard way, i.e. by personal experience. So, here comes the truth of the saying that, “experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other”.
The next glaring example of this we find in to-day’s life is in our running after the glamour of the West. The West, yes the average common man there is sick and tired of the wealth around him as, this is not all that an individual needs to be happy. They are coming to the poor East for solace in our simplicity and prayer. They are joining our religious cults to get out of the traumas that accompany excessive wealth and affluence. They are joining our Ramakrishna Mission, they are joining our organizations like Krishna Consciousness to get away from the dazzle of money and its power. Yet, we Indians, dissatisfied with our gifts of solace and belief in God, are getting lost in the maze and glamour of excessive wealth. I suppose we are once again, just waiting for the onslaughts of financial excessiveness. We will one day realize for ourselves that satisfaction that India preaches is the only solace to man’s paining nerves. This satisfaction typical of Indian tradition will once again return to us, but not without our suffering at the hands of affluence.
On the national horizon, these are the two glaring examples of East and West exchanging each other’s way of life just to test the advantages and disadvantages of each. May be both are wiser after the bout they have with experience.
On the personal level also, all of us try to copy each other, hoping that we will never make the mistakes others made, and so will be more successful than others. Regarding personal habits also, let us take a simple habit of smoking. We hear about people suffering due to cigarette smoking, we even see some suffer because of this evil habit but, we continue to follow the tread path because we are confident that such things cannot happen to us. So, I daresay that, even on very small issues we just refuse to learn from the experiences of others. We must watch and wait for our own experience, no matter how expensive the experience may turn out to be.
Thus it is very correctly said though experiencing may cause serious debacles for us, but we foolish human beings must experience everything yes, everything ourselves to understand the intricacies. How can we ever learn from the experience of others? For, if we did this there would be so much less suffering on the individual plane and so much less of destruction of generations. We continue to strive for what, we could easily shelve, and be the wiser for it – but no we have to prove the point that, experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.