Experience as knowledge is generally acquired through practice and repetition. It is hands-on, involves much more than a theoretical understanding, and can often lead to expertise. I would say most experience falls into either vocational experience and life experience or life lessons. Both are practical, useful, and very similar.
Expertise is the understanding or mastery of a particular craft, vocation, field etc. It requires practice and/or field experience. Through classroom instruction and observation, a student pilot can come to an understanding of the theories behind how a working aircraft is flown. But, obviously, no one would dare trust his life to a student pilot with no practical experience.
This form of knowledge is acquired only through (often times) repetitive practice and cannot be gained by understanding theoretical abstraction or the laws of hard science — in this case how flight is possible in the first place. Most titles and licenses e.g. pilot, physician, dentist, and many others are given only after the candidate demonstrates his or her ability based in practice, with the ideal scenario being the more practice, the more experienced, and thus, more advanced, one becomes.
The same can be said for a musical instrument. After a lesson in piano theory, one may know how to read all the notes on the scale, but that does not make him knowledgable when it comes to playing the piano.
Life Experience (Life Lessons)
Life experience (or life lessons) – At some point in our lives, most of us admit we had to learn something “the hard way.” Typically, these lessons cannot be learned by reading a book or by someone telling us what to do or how to do something.
It is expressed through statements like:
- “I’ve experienced a much happier and more intimate marriage when I realized which sacrifices of my time and energy made my spouse happy and thus, more affectionate toward me.”
- “I regret marrying him, but I was very young, and no one could convince me I was making a mistake. Now, I see what they saw, and it’s too late to try and make this work.”
- “After six failed attempts, I finally figured out a way to make my business sustainable and even grow.”
- ”Over the years and after trying several different methods, I have learned to get along well with aggressive people by doing this…”
More often than not, this type of knowledge increases as we age. We typically find that older people are wiser. It often involves failures, as well as anticipating failures and other seemingly unexpected results. It can include a certain amount of trial and error, but it is not scientific. Many times it involves the acceptance of both our shortcomings and those of the people around us.
Experience as a form of knowledge is pretty apparent, but it still warrants covering in our discussion of the various forms of knowledge.
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