We all seek perfection in almost every domain of our life. Thinking perhaps, we are like the Japanese Ikebana plant of nature, owning the perfect position, colour and harmony. But that is nature and as Turgeneve advised, only nature is perfect. What about us humans? For we work to hold but a thread of that nature’s perfection and yet always pray to no avail. Shall we go on fighting to achieve that perfect life we dream of? Or shall we analyze everything that comes our way, which in its part will assist us in achieving an experience? After all every lavishing experiences we gain are a treasure and a weapon that will assist us in foreseeing our future. Although, the question remains unasked is: what is experience?
Experience huddle around one simple, yet, rich and laudable word: knowledge. You will equally agree with me in stating what a mere truth is that knowledge is valuable. This therefore, takes us back to Plato’s Meno in addressing: “what is it about knowledge (if anything) that makes it more valuable than mere true belief?” However, others believe it is not that knowledge is highly important but our understanding of it. Consequently, one shall rephrase the definition to state: Experience is one’s understanding of knowledge.
Somerset Maugham taught us in Theatre that it is in acting and in theatre to be precise one is able to receive more training in experiencing with different characters than anywhere else. A theatre gathers and joins respectfully and exemplary variety of types of humans. Few have paid to appreciate the production put forth, others enter to gain knowledge and the majority approaches the theatre for pleasure. Many on the other hand, go for the sake to announce they have entered a theatre thinking they belong to an elite class.
Hence, theatre is a definition of life. “All the world’s a stage” Shakespeare shared in the Scottish play. “The stage is make-believe” Maugham would add. We all require playing different parts and characters in our life. Whether we are conscious of it or not, in duration of a day we all act unlimited characters that may very well be noble or rugged but anything that would suit our moment’s need would be attained. This is not a fault or a wrong act to engage in, since our motto in life is to go forward, just like a sparkling tide of river, dealing with the flow ahead.
Within each character we master, we graduate from an imperative educational level. For this will trot and transfer our experience to a particular silent power, that will shine when needed in whatsoever errands facing us, to place all in their position. It will also enable us to change roles and be that master and star once again. That is the accomplishment in its fullest: the ability to smoothly shift roles without anyone’s notice, for experience Oscar Wilde shared “is a question of instinct about life”.
Experience, is to grasp from life with an eagle’s eye, the marrow of existence. As Maugham in A Summing Up informed how we have one life, we “should like to get the most we could out of it” and then “death would in the end round off in complete fulfillment”. But, that does not mean to always look ahead for the future and forget the present. Seeing that Max Beerbohm believed: “A very young man is not content to be very young, nor even a young man to be young: he wants to share the dignity of his eldest”.
We need to live each day to the fullest for this day will not be repeated again nor would we be given a second chance to go back and change it. If you are young, then be advised to own your youth and act to the best of your ability, limit and joy. For that future you swim for, will soon be your past. That “passing moment (Maugham communicated) is all we can be sure of…the future will one day be the present and will seem as unimportant as the present does now”.
What about the past, you may wonder. Confucius believed one must “study the past in order to divine the future”. Study, that’s all. We should not assemble around it for long, for if we do, it will convey to mean, we have no future.
Therefore, set free our soul to experience each day’s theatre to gain that day’s experience. It requires energy and time to devote to an idea or a theory. But most importantly it necessitates patience and dedication to the subject. Devotion is loyalty camouflaged in patience. Persistence of rehearse performances. For one can measure a person’s life with the amount of experience they treasure.
I would like to leave us all with Oscar Wilde’s thought on experience in Lady Windermere’s Fan “Experience (he began) is the name everyone gives to their mistakes”. Do you agree? For I do not see myself complying completely to endorse this particular reflection!