Personal experience is one of the most important things in our lives. While people can disagree with our opinions and ideologies and earn respect, everyone who tries refuting our personal experience will definitely make a fool of themselves and lose a lot of respect.
Our experiences, unique and memorable, is a resource we can bank on as we face the vicissitudes of life. Experience in any area is a power you cannot joke with. Experience makes us have a voice in a particular area and generally very useful.
However there comes a time when we must be willing to learn from other people. There comes a time when we need not have personal experience when others have experienced it. In his timeless wisdom and sagacity, King Solomon declared that there’s nothing new under the sun. Whatever we do, somebody has done it before, or something has been in its similitude. There’s something related to what you want to do, and so you can always compare and contrast.
We have a privilege of learning from other people, and it will be unthankfulness, trying to secure first-hand experience in all things, when we can learn from other people.
And the main reason for this is simply that some lessons are costly. One person’s experience is enough for the rest to follow.
For instance if you want to know how bad disobeying your parents can be, you have a sample of delinquents around you. History has also been fair enough to preserve them for us. Look at the rebellious prince Absalom, who at the counsel of Ahithophel, slept with his father’s concubines in public and harassed the old king, making him wander like a fugitive. He didn’t go far, and suffered premature death. This should be enough of a lesson to those who probably think of disobeying their parents to see what can happen. And if you are confronted with a toxic relationship, you may not need to be long suffering enough to be a specimen of emotional abuse. Just look at the headlines and see them around, who kill each other in chaotic homicides and violent divorce and separation. Don’t wait to provide lessons for others, if you notice a red flag, don’t declare it burgundy.
If as a head of state you think of administering your country in ignorance and little knowledge, you can see them all around. Look at King Rehoboam who defied the tested and tried wisdom of sages for the superficial enchantments of the youth and lost a kingdom to a cunning rebellious servant. Look at the embattled regimes in the world today, whose methods of administration are calling loudly for reforms. Look at those countries suffering under galloping inflation whose presidents defied financial economics and while announcing their folly, instructed that money be minted so that they can be the richest country on earth, and this they did without a back up of gold!
We have enough stupid people in the world. We have enough deans of promiscuity. We have enough slothful and lazy individuals. The unkind and uncourteous are evenly distributed in the third planet that you can meet one each day without repeating. There are enough corrupt administrators who bleed the national exchequer into their private affairs. With all these at our disposal, it will be stupidity of degree B and ungratefulness of immense proportion to history, when we want to add another learning point, by repeating the same costly mistakes that have caused pain, misery and even death in the past. We cannot safely ignore this without suffering sooner or later. Our greatest challenge as George Bernard Shaw puts it:
“The Only Thing We Learn From History Is That We Learn Nothing From History.”
We must appreciate what the unquestionable pen of history has provided in the annals of time, if we will make a difference. Let’s not be too nice with nonsensical issues.
I will finish this with the statement that inspired me to write this article. It is one of the most sobering statements I have come across this week and I believe it will summarize this piece better than any other thing:
Men have looked into the crater of a volcano to see what was there, and went down to explore, without coming back to report progress. Many and many a man has gone to see what was in hell, that did see it. Many and many a man has looked to see what was in the cup, and routed a viper coiled up therein. Many and many a man has gone into the house of lust, and found that the ends thereof were death–bitter, rotten death. Many and many a man has sought to learn something of the evils of gambling, theater going, card playing, dancing, and learned it to his own ruin. And I say to every man, the more you know about these things the more you ought to be ashamed of knowing; a knowledge of them is not necessary to education or manhood; and they ought to be avoided, because when a man has once fallen into them, the way out is so steep and hard. (H. W. Beecher.)
If you don’t learn from others, you will be a point of reference on why people should not do the very thing you want to do.