What Does it Mean to Be “Expert by Experience” and How Might We Get There?

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Length: 52 minutes

Kevin Healey

What limits our freedom is the stories and myths we tell ourselves and each other. We fear experiences our stories tell us that we cannot understand and doubly fear those from which our myths extinguish any hope of return.

Reductionism would have us fear ourselves and each other and put our lives in the hands of “experts” and adopt their words for us. That limited map of understanding is embedded throughout society, governs who we are, who we can be, and reduces us to grim, alienated lives. That story says: “life sucks”.

A humanist approach would have us regard whatever we might experience as an adventure from which we can learn, grow and become more resilient and more connected with what it means to be alive. We can endure and find new strengths for future encounters.

What if we don't “come-back” but instead come-through, different and somehow renewed? What if we told ourselves and each other that story?

I introduce a simple framework we might choose to build our own maps of understanding, name our world in our own words. Drawing on different ways of knowing old, new, and renewed, we can regard every experience as one from which we can learn - including those we fear the most.

This approach integrates three simple models: one highly original, one as old as the ages and one from systems thinking but with an original twist. Endlessly adaptable, it sets no limits to the different sources and ways of knowing we can plug-in, play with and draw wisdom from to help us make sense of our world and keep adding to our map so it remains as alive as we can be. 

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