The way people think depends a lot on their early experiences. Early experiences become filter for later experiences. No wonder culture and language plays a very important role in interpreting every experience. That is the reason that the same situation is perceived by different people differently — sometimes unbelievably differently. No wonder people look at the same experiential data and come up with different interpretations.
Some people remain open to new set of experiences and have capability to reduce the filtering effect of early experiences. Most use early experiences more or less to block completely all new experiences to allow you to see new things. And this is almost as true in sciences as it is in religion. The fundamental difference between sciences and the religion is in how you are suppose to interpret new data. In religion, you must use only established ideas; in sciences you are suppose to challenge new ideas when the data does not fit old theories.
I am always trying to train myself to learn from new experiences by reducing effect of earlier experiences. By nature, we must use earlier experiences to shape our knowledge — in fact that is the essence of learning. So the goal is not to eliminate knowledge gained from early experiences, but to remain flexible in interpreting new experiences. In fact One should keep collecting experiences so your knowledge bank has enough variety to help you in classifying new experiences for interpreting new experiential data correctly. This ability to look at the new data is becoming more important as we are collecting more data.
What is interesting is that this is as true in human thinking as it is in analyzing data. In the age of over-hyped ‘Big Data’, after the initial fascination with the size of the data and the speed of processing it, soon we will realize that processing data using wrong models (derived from earlier experiences) only gives you wrong results faster based on large volumes of data. For using big data it is important to refine models used in its analysis and those are derived from increasingly newer experiences. In the next few posts, I will share my thoughts on this topic to hear your opinions. I must mention that I consider myself an active student in this area that I just started calling Experiential Analysis.