Knowledge is not experience

Knowledge, like reading this page, is intellectual.

To totally understand, one has to personally experience a concept emotionally and/or physically as well as intellectually.

One cannot learn to swim by reading a book, though it might help.

One cannot learn to swim by watching others swim, though it might help.

One cannot learn to swim by listening to a swimming instructor, though it might help.

One cannot even learn to swim by standing in the water with or without holding onto the ropes.

My father did that for almost 80 of his 87 years. We lived near the ocean on the New Jersey shore. He loved the water, but he never did learn to swim.

There’s only one way to learn to swim: knowledge with experience by practice in a sequence of sessions.

Changing your mind is like learning to swim. It takes knowledge and experiential practice. By the way, changing your mind is what psychiatrists call psychotherapy.


I too use the word, but I don’t like it because it infers a treatment (therapy) of “sick” intellect (psychic). Actually, people are not sick, they have been malprogrammed.

When I was a student at The Psychoanalytic Clinic for Training and Research of Columbia University, they use the word maladaptation. It is true that neurosis is a maladaptation to current reality. But that still tends to put down or blame the person who is unhappy.

For many people, maladaptation may be their problem but not their fault nor does it mean that they have brain damage or in adequacy. The maladaptation of the adult was probably the best adaptation the child or infant could make under the circumstances during the time they made it. They adapted themselves to pathological conditions for survival, the best they could.

For many reasons beyond their control they could not change.

One of the reasons that they could not readily change was because they were human.

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