Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Epistemology: Why Bad Experiences are Good

An epistemological concept that grabs my attention is the value of painful memories. It is my belief that all knowledge contributes to the growth and empowerment of the learner, but how can something help and hurt you at once?

“One of the most effective ways to create an enjoyable experience is to stack the painful parts of the experience early in the process.”

-James Clear

This article by James Clear discusses how enduring painful things earlier can results in an increasingly enjoyable overall experience. For instance, if you endure a long wait for a roller coaster, you will ultimately enjoy the ride itself much more. It’s a concept a known as delayed gratification; most things feel more rewarding if they are waited or worked for.

I applied this concept to the greater picture of significant life experiences. We all have important moments in our lives that we never forget, and sometimes we wish that we could. As stated earlier, my belief is that all knowledge allows people to grow. This is where delayed gratification comes in; sooner or later in life, you will endure a great and agonizing hardship, whether it be at school, at home, socially, or otherwise. Let’s say, for instance, that you fail an important test. Not only is this a personal blow for you, but you’ve more than likely been met with your parents’ furious disappointment. You wish this horrible period of defeat would end so you can forget about it, but in actuality, this experience has been very helpful to you. Your memory of such tremendous regret will keep you from ever repeating this mistake. Thus, by enduring this painful experience, delayed gratification has rewarded you with the growth that comes with all knowledge.

It’s a simple lesson, but it’s an invaluable one. No matter how painful the experience, if you can bear to endure it, you will emerge a greater and more powerful person that you were before.

 

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