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Experience vs. Opinion

To: alt.magick
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Experience vs. Opinion
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 07:31:14 GMT

Joshua Geller wrote:
> Are you saying that if you have not done something, you do have
> experience of it?

I am not Peggy (obviously) but i have a thought to add here ... 

A central characteristic of human intelligence is the ability to perform
"as if" activities and to experience "as if" emotional states, without
actually engaging in the experiences or the emotions. 

For instance, i know i will not like hang-gliding. 

I don't need to experience hang-gliding to know this. 

How do i know it, then? Because i did not like the following things,
which i *did* experience:
     sudden-drop roller coasters (the smooth ones are fun, though)
     the egg-beater ride at a carnival
     the octopus ride at a carnival
     flying in airplanes
     standing at the edge of the roof of a building
     standing at the top of a 15' tall ladder

Hang-gliding encompasses visual and proprioceptive stimulae similar to
those experiences above which i did not enjoy -- hence i know i will not
enjoy hang-gliding. 
Similarly with ... oh, let's just pick some at random:

Pet axolotls -- probably a no-go for me because i bnever wanted  
     a pet fish, even though friends raise them. Axolotls are
     not fish, but they are kept in tanks of water, enough of
     a similarity to cause me to rule them out as pets, even 
     without trying one.

CD burner -- this probably will be great because i like making 
     compilation tapes and i like computers and CD players.

Mac G4 -- i liked the Mac, Mac II, Mac Quadra, and Mac G3 so i am 
     sure enough that i will like the Mac G4 that i see no need to 
     test-run one before buying it. 

New brands of commercial salad dressing -- nope; i have never yet 
     liked ANY brand of commercial salad dressing, so about 15 years 
     ago i stoped trying any new ones, even though they are all
     supposedly different from each other. 

See what i mean, Josh? The human mind is capable of filling in
a-yet-to-be-experienced activity from a template comprised of similar
previous activities. 

In the case of polyamory, William Woody explained very clearly that this
is something we can experience through dating, prior to having sex. 

In my case, i didn't like the emotionally disjointed way i felt while 
non-sexually dating two different boys in the 9th grade, so i could
accurately assume that i wouldn't like the feeling of having sex with
two different grown men in my 20s or beyond without having to
"experience" it in a literal sense. I mapped my several "dating multiple
boys" experiences on to of my several "having sex with a man"
experiences in my mind and achieved a highly accurate sense of what
"having sex with multiple men" would feel like. 

This is how inventors work, by the way, and creative artists... 
cat yronwode 

     Lucky Mojo Curio Co.

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