Last week, I discussed objective reality and why we can trust our intuitions that the world around us is there. And, we can come to know things about the world, even if limited. Today, I want to discuss subjective reality, or personal experience. This will help us see why just looking at the world outside doesn’t work for us as people. Before I get into subjective vs objective, I want to also define what I mean by subjective.
This is part of my series diving into the issue our society has reconciling truth and experience. I recommend you go back and check out the first one if you’re interested.
I would define subjective as our experience of the world influences the way we understand it. And, our subjective experience is real. It isn’t some illusion, but a phenomenon we encounter. The question is “What do we make of it?”
Personal experience and personal encounters
How do we know our subjective experience is objectively real? Here are several places it comes into play and effects ourselves and the world around us.
- Lebenswelt – (you can also read more about this topic in Roger Scruton’s The Soul of the World)
Experience isn’t relativism
The difference between subjective and relative is a bit nuanced. But, I’d like to take a stab at it. The main point is to realize that our experience is real. Relativism states that there is no truth except for what we decide to be true. Our experience may lead to misunderstandings or the truth affecting us in a way it doesn’t for others. But, that doesn’t change what is true – just how we experience it.
- Subjective is about how we experience reality through a certain lens
- Relative means there is no objective reality, but that reality is created by perspective
Where we find subjective meaning
Where do we experience the Subjective? These are the places we encounter this experience. It is where we come to understand ourselves and how we relate to the world.
- Our inner monologue