Subjective experience

Each of us lives in a subjective world, with no real way to prove that anyone or anything exists beyond our own experience. We believe concepts such as "The Eiffel Tower is in Paris, France," but what we really mean is that in the world that is in our own heads, there is such a tower in such a French city; the actual, objective existence of the tower is both irrelevant and impossible to prove without experiencing it first hand. Even then, can we really trust our own senses, or our own memories? They too are malleable and fallible adjuncts to our minds. The only thing we know exists for certain is our own stream of consciousness.


To give you a personal example: I have a cousin who travels the world much more than I do, and who has had many exciting adventures in foreign lands. But rather than feel envious or deprived because of my lack of travel compared to him, I am grateful that in my life I am fortunate to have a cousin who travels, and through whom I have come to know much of value about places I have not visited myself. I have been incomparably enriched by his experience, rather than diminished by it. 


What I'm getting at is that it's important not to get too caught up thinking about our misfortunes or blessings, faults or virtues--especially compared to others. You may not paint as well as Rembrandt, for instance, but from your point of view, you live in a world in which there fortunately was a Rembrandt about whom you are familiar, and to whose work you have been exposed and have had the opportunity to admire. On the other hand, you may be more fortunate than others in some regard, but to dwell on this advantage is to ignore the entirety of the world that is a part of your subjective experience.

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