New ideas cannot exist in our minds independent of what already exists there. What we hear, we hear through a lens of our previous experiences. We are not able to learn without connecting new information to what we already know. So when an audience hears a politician give a speech, each person hears something different because each person has a different range of personal experience through which they hear the message. And when a million people read a bestselling self-help book, each person is going to understand the points and how to apply them differently.
Have you ever heard the same message multiple times throughout your life and interpreted it differently? Have you ever thought, “I’ve heard that before, but never really understood it until now.” The truth is, you understood it before as much as you don’t understand it now. Both are true. You always understand the concept in relation to your knowledge in any situation, the same way you are equally unable to understand it in any context that does not align with your current understanding of the world.
We can never understand a concept in the same way the one who shares it does, because we can never possess the entire body of personal knowledge through which they understand the idea. The most we can aspire to is to assimilate new knowledge into our body of understanding, and to find our own way of profiting from that knowledge.
This philosophy explains why we sometimes feel we weren’t ready to receive a word of truth at some previous time. Yet each concept we learn builds upon the previous. We can’t get to the end of the race without taking the first, and second and third steps. Knowledge grows within us at an exponential rate. Each idea we add interrelates with the others, increasing our ability to integrate more ideas at an ever-increasing capacity and aptitude.
On the other hand, if we do not add ideas, our ability to integrate and learn new concepts decreases. Even the information we once possessed decays with our memories, causing the surface of our mind to grow ever more brittle and undernourished, unable to accept even the smallest seeds of new thought.
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Tags: Belief, Reality, Choice, Knowledge