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Since human beings have been able to think, they were asking themselves about their life, their meaning: they have taken into consideration their existence. The deepest discussed ethical questions are about life, innocence and experience. The purpose of this discussion is to demonstrate that experience can improve human life where disappointment is the essential passage from innocence to experience. Admittedly it is going to far to assert that experience also cant improve the life, for instance if a little boy affront to be subjected to the war, he could be psychologically shock for all his life.
In this sense experience can destroy the future boy life. The disappointment has for result the experience which is an indelible memory. In the following pages we will first look at the relationship between innocence and experience at the beginning of the life before seeing that all the illusions of childhood are destroyed by a gain of experience and by the beginning of adulthood.
To qualify experience through human life, we have firstly to define it.
The notion of experience is, of course, quite difficult to determine. But, according to some people, it is the experience of our own being. In this sense, it exists a need of experience, demonstrated by Shopenhawer (French philosopher), which is a constituent of our humanity. Indeed, experience is a fact of acquiring a moral knowledge, a process which starts at your birth. Childhood is a period of experience and innocence. This is a period of frivolity and naivety. Childhood is also a period where adults represent justice and honesty.
For children they cant be wrong. But most of the time, disappointments come from them. Children have their own world and illusions. They need to protect themselves against the hard reality of adulthood: credulity is the mans weakness, but the childs strength (Charles Lamb).At the beginning of life, each baby is honourable and experience less. The mind of each baby is clean as a blank paper. He is alone, and he will acquire his first experience thanks to his parents. In other words, his first experience comes with education and environment. So innocence is one basic of standard education. Nowadays many people think that experience destroy little by little innocence. So as William Blake demonstrate it in his poetry Infant joy, where he describes the opposition between innocence and experience: two contrary states of the human soul (889). In Infant joy the author describes innocence. This poetry has a joyful connotation trough the words pretty, sweet, and smile. The baby is happy and pretty :
sweet joy but two days old,
sweet joy I call thee;
thou dost smile,
I sing the while
Sweet joy befall thee. (890)
Innocence is synonymous of a joy of live, which hide all other problems. Whereas the second poetry Infant Sorrow has a negative connotation which illustrates the passage from the innocence to experience. The baby leapt and cry:
Into the dangerous world I leapt,
Helpless, naked, piping loud . (890)
In this example the baby does not want to see the reality and cries because he refuses to accept it. From this first disappointment, the life starts. In this case experience gives a realistic view of the world while the first poetry does not give it. That is why the baby is innocent and smiles. This first baby called Joy did not live any experience and have an unrealistic view of the world. In the second text of William blake, we have the lexical field of jail which reinforces the idea that the boy withdraw into oneself and showing that innocence act on the human as an invisible force preventing to sea the realties:
Sruggling in my fathers hands,
Striving against my swadling bands;
bound and weary I though best
To sulk upon my mothers breast. (891)
The reality is hidden by innocence and experience. We can qualify innocence as an innate barrier. We can take the example of Rosaura in The Stolen Party (Liliana Heker) who does not believe her mother when she explains her that the barrier between rich and poor is real : Rosaura does not want to suffer. She wants to go to her friends party with the illusion to be treated like the others whereas she is considered just like the daughter of the employee . Despite Rosaura is treated like an employee, she persists to believe that she is considered with honour and privilege . In this case, the reality is hidden by innocence and experience of Rosaura. That is why experience is necessary for human life. In fact, this new experience drives Rosaura to a new way, a best one maybe?
Disappointment is a loss of childrens believes. It causes the destruction of their conception of the world. After a life protected by dreams and hope, the child is unsettled. .Disappointment is a distressing passage : the child suffers because he is victim of injustice. He is angry against adults because he feels betrayed. He realizes that they are not very understandable as he has imagined and that they can be cruel. This revelation, this disappointment, is a kind of springboard toward the adults world. It is a moment where the child begins to give up its dreams to enter in adulthood : a child becomes an adult when he realizes that he has a right not only to be right but also to be wrong (Thomas Szasz). To demonstrate this point of view we will take two examples of disappointment. In The Stolen Party, Rosaura is very disappointed when Senora Ines does not consider her like others children: at the end of the party every child has a gift, excepted her who receives money. For Rosaura it means that she was invited at the party only to work for them, not because she was the Lucianas friend.
Rosaura realizes that her mothers advice was right. The reality that Rosaura did not want to see is now like an explosion. And this explosion hurts . The good opinion she had of Senora Ines is destroyed. Rosaura is mistaken. In One Friday Morning, Nancy Lee feels the same mixture of disappointment and anger. The injustice that submits Nancy Lee is of racial order. She learns that she has won the Artist Club Scholarship for then being an award student at the Art School. She is very proud and happy that her social class has been recognized. But when the committee of the Artist Club learns that she is coloured, and changes its plans because there have never been any Negro students in the Art School. At this moment all the hopes, all the believes which make America as a country with Liberty and Justice for all are illusions. This stage which makes up disappointment allows the child to have experience to understand and enter in the adults world. In this sense experience is necessary to survive. Without any experience, its difficult to fight the life. The experience mould the man.
Experience is the result of disappointment. It is first seen as a negative stage because it includes suffering and a lack of balance. The transition between innocence and experience can leaves bitterness and distrust : the child is disappointed to be mistaken and now he knows the doubt. After this transition, he is conscious of his ignorance and begins to think that experiences can help him to reconstruct a true world : the reality and not the fantasy.
Experience allows him to be protected against other disillusions and to be more strong. If we take the example of NancyLee, we can remark that this ordeal makes her more determined to fight against discrimination and pass through discouragements. She is more courageous and she has a goal : make one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. It is with the acquired experience that she will confront the obstacles and reach her goal. As we could see, experience and innocence are an important part of a human life. At the beginning of life, each being is full of innocence and sees the world unrealistic. Disappointment is the essential passage from innocence to experience even thought it is hard to accept. A human being will see his life in a more realistic way only by referring to his own experience. To conclude, life is somewhat an experience.
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