Precedents or Principles

We are a product of our own education, the word used in its broadest sense in the way we have been brought up and experienced the world through our view of reality which has been influenced by the various inputs we have received whilst exploring these experiences. When we come across new experiences we are building on the layers, happenings and sensory perceptions gained from prior knowledge of our interpretation of events and try to make sense of what we see happening. Our current thoughts are dependent on our previous experiences and we can be very selective on what experiences we choose to rationalise our current responses. We use the familiar memories and language with which we have grown up with to make senses of the current situation and our considered response, often resorting to particular language or metaphors to clarify situations in order to cope. The more experiences we experience and the more we share these experiences with other people, the more we shape society and achieve a ‘morally responsible’ way of getting along. This is how principles, rules of engagements or social contracts become norms of behaviour, we are building on repetitive and habitual ways of thinking, based on a common experience bank. New precedents shape our behaviour, principles may not exist at all if we consider that our social customs are an increasing onion skin of adaptation, grown larger by innovation and new experiences. If we cling to old ‘principles’, or seek to maintain these principles and ignore new experiences then we risk being mired in status quo and we don’t change or advance as a society , as our language and vocabulary changes to meet these new experiences and challenges, so too our principles should recognise new precedents for behaviour. If we don’t suspend our natural inclination to cling to tried and tested principles we will not embrace or engage change and our adaptability will diminish. That is why resistance is futile and precedents are only useful when they are recognised as a stepping stone or catalyst for a better society.

Inspiration- The Mind is Flat- Nick Chater