The Community of Experience


“Over time I came to realize that it is not that experience exists because there is an individual, but that an individual exists because there is experience. I thus arrived at the idea that experience is more fundamental than individual differences . . .”  (Kitaro Nishida, “Preface,” 1911 Edition, in An Inquiry into the Good, xxx).

If we come to realize that our personhood is grounded in and emerges from experience that we all share, we come to realize that the quality of our personal experience is directly related to the richness and diversity that is present in the community of experience of which we are all a part.  If we diminish the community of experience, we diminish the quality of experience in ourselves and for all life.  From this perspective, the most appropriate measure of personal wealth is to be found in the quality of relationships we have with our human and ecological communities of experience rather than in the acts of accumulation and consumption. From this perspective, the primary measure of the societal wealth is not gross domestic product but rather the quality of experience for all life.

About Mark Y. A. Davies

Mark Davies is the Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and Director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. He is the Executive Director of the Leadership, Education, and Development (LEaD) Hub North America of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church and an Oklahoma Humanities State Scholar. Mark has published in the areas of Boston personalism, process philosophy and ethics, and ecological ethics. Dr. Davies serves on the United Methodist University Senate, which is “an elected body of professionals in higher education created by the General Conference to determine which schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools meet the criteria for listing as institutions affiliated with The United Methodist Church.” He and his wife Kristin live in Edmond, OK in the United States, and they have two daughters. The views expressed by the author in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of Oklahoma City University or the United Methodist Church.
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