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to each, his own...
#1
waxing philosophical for a bit, if i may... in reading through the many posts on the forum, i am struck by the number of people who "know" so much. typically, this is seen in posts containing remarks that are often disparaging or hurtful toward others or toward beliefs/attitudes.

from my perspective, there are two types of knowledge. there is vicarious knowledge. there is absolute knowledge. to me, the distinction is critical.

absolute knowledge is the most reliable for any individual. this is knowledge one has gained from experiencing something. a very cliche example would be... if i stick my hand in a fire, i now have first hand knowledge that it is hot. i don't anybody to tell me this fact. i have experienced for myself. if i touch water, i know first hand what it means when told something is wet. i have experienced it first hand.

vicarious knowledge is that knowledge which is acquired from sources outside one's self. examples would be.... everything you have ever read, but have not directly experienced. (such as history.) everything you have ever heard, but have not directly experienced. (gossip, lectures, news reports) everything you have ever seen, but not directly experienced. (an auto race, for example)

as you can see, in our early years, just about everything we "know" is vicarious. it was taught to us. as we age and gain experience, absolute knowledge replaces some of the vicarious knowledge. sometimes it reinforces. sometimes it replaces.

so how does this relate to vision improvement. for those of us who have not yet experienced complete vision recovery, but have read all the writings about Bates. Our knowledge is vicarious. as is our knowledge of any approach to vision therapy. until we have experienced something specifically, we have only speculation or vicarious knowledge to go on.... and yet, we often feel that that incomplete or incorrect or vicarious knowledge is enough to attack or disparage another person when discussing vision improvement. we tell adherents of another method that their method or approach is all buggered up... yet we've never experienced their method, we've only read or heard about it. we tell others something is harmful, but we've not experienced it ourselves. sometimes the vicarious knowledge if very reliable, such as scientific research results... or eyewitness reports of an event witnessed by many. sometimes vicarious knowledge is all we have to go on. but, most times.... truthfully, it is not. we just take the easy way out and take somebody else's word rather than experience it ourselves.

in short, we all do a lot of walking, but rarely in another's shoes. our mutual goal here should be to encourage, to help, to provide information that others may try for themselves, to report what we have learned, to be here for each other. it should not be to hurt, to ridicule, to be negative, to be hurtful.

there are, i am sure, a few here who will read through the above and their first response will be to pick it apart. so be it. we must each tend our own garden, so to speak.

to each, his own.

be well,

jim
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#2
Nice post.

I would like to add that "vicarious knowledge" is not necessarily a bad thing, and it is not necessarily bad to offer advice/opinions based on it. But I would be careful to say more than I have experienced, especially if it is negative. One thing I have discovered in vision improvement after trying all sorts of things is that few things will cause irreparable damage to one's chances at vision improvement. This is coming from someone who once taught himself to stare with even more strain while at the same time convincing himself that he was seeing normally! Perhaps others have had different experiences, but my experience seems to indicate that there is rarely any harm in trying something and deciding for yourself if it is worth pursuing.

That is not to say that everything works, but it varies from person to person, and without trying, one will never know. It's also worth pointing out that there are some controversial practices, and some ideas that just seem too wacky or scary (for me, that would be using a prism to shine sunlight onto the eyes). At that point, I think it has to be a judgment decision on the part of the student. In that case, I think vicarious knowledge may be inappropriate simply because it is echoing what may just be a myth. On the other hand, people who have seen benefit or harm from said practice can and should present their own story.

I have been guilty of giving advice from vicarious knowledge as well, but I try to avoid doing so, and when I do give such advice, I usually err on the positive end, which at least encourages the student to find out for him/herself.
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#3
Pikachu,

Thank you. I always enjoy your posts. You often give me cause to pause and ponder.

Be well,

jim
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#4
Indeed. All we can do until we reach full recovery is try to disassemble and reassemble what we learn through experiences in an attempt to understand until the day where we get the experience and actually understand it. Although I find discussions to try to "figure" things out helpful, if the person hasn't fully recovered I feel like there is going to be less actual understand. I know in my case there have been several times where I though I understood it only to find out I was wrong a few days later. Due to the subjective nature of vision improvement even the experts seem to have their own ideas of why it works. In the end anything said or written is an approximation of someones experience and it is useful to keep that in mind as one progresses. Thank you for the insightful post.
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