Editor's Desk

  “There is no new experience in life,” writes novelist Horace McCoy in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Whatever we experience, while it may seem completely fresh and unknown to us, the odds are high that, at some point in the history on this planet, another human being has experienced something very similar. Sometimes, it was even us that had the experience, though we may not recognize it as something familiar.

The benefit of having prior experience with any given occasion, moment, or challenge is that we can learn from our past responses and channel that wisdom into our present actions. As a species, we can look at how we have behaved in the past and the ramifications of that behavior to make better decisions in the future. We can possibly avoid genocide, for instance, if we remember that any dehumanization or separation from another human being is the precursor to it.

As individuals, if we take the time to reflect on our behavior after something undesirable happens, we can recognize when we are about to instigate that behavior again. Doing so gives us the opportunity to grow in our relationships and to avoid feeling like we have no power in our lives.

There may not be new experiences, per se, but by assimilating the knowledge of those experiences, we can create a new future – on both an individual and a society-wide level.   

 

Lura Jackson