Jessica Figueroa

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Are bad experiences a need for human growth?

The experiences we consider bad, are necessary to reach a certain level of mature thinking?
I come from a place where life is not the easiest one, lots of poverty, many natural disaster, very unfair when it comes to justice, etc. And now that i got to travel to other countries, sometimes i see people creating a big deal over small things, some are very attach to materialistic things, many young people (mostly girls) behave like people from tv, Im not trying to judge their life style, if they feel happy like that its ok, but i just think many people are missing out whats really important in the human life, which is family, friends, working towards your goals, get the necessary stuff to survive and find the things you enjoy doing the most etc. It's quite simple. Lots of my friends ask me why i'm happy most of the time, and I ask them why do you complain about things you shouldnt complain most of the time?.

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    Oct 26 2011: I think bad experiences are necessary, and it is all about embracing the essential contrasts in life.

    Good experiences can only be perceived as such if they are seen against a backdrop of the bad. In the same way we experience light, shape and texture only if there is also contrasting dark to put it into context.

    You say you see people in other countries creating a big deal over small things. I see this too. It may be because the 'essential contrasts' are missing in their lives, and it has become necessary to subconsciously create them, however trivial those things have become in order to achieve that context.

    Another thing which may be important about bad experiences, is that they can be felt as disproportionately bad if they are experienced alone in the absence of empathic, understanding 'others' ( In fact, this may be one of the major sources of depressive illness).

    Likewise, good experiences are often best if shared with others.
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      Oct 31 2011: I totally agree with your answer. It is a major source of depressive illness, just yesterday i found down one of my classmates committed suicide.
      I wish there were tv commercials that would inspire people to love life as it is, with its beauti and ugliness, something that would make them see that they are not the only ones having life troubles.
      And i say tv commercials because i guess a lot of people with depressive illness dont seek for help. For example in a hot weather i dont seek for ice cream, but when i see a commercial about ice cream, it makes me realize maybe getting an ice cream is not a bad idea. you know its just there without having to ask for it. Sometimes simple things can make a big difference in someone else's life.
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        Oct 31 2011: Jessica, I am deeply sorry to hear about your classmate. Are there people at your college you can speak to about it? A counsellor? I think talking therapy is an essential service in traumatic situations such as the one that you and the rest of your classmates have experienced.

        Yes, TV commercials have many reasons to do what they do and they will use every trick in the book to sell stuff, to change fashion trends, to 'opinion form'. But I can tell you this, as someone who has been involved in the industry as a photographer - commercial reality does not, in any way whatsoever, represent the realities of ordinary people like you and me.

        As you say, simple things do make a significant difference to self and others. Being in nature and having contact with natural things, getting immersed in music for example, give me my much needed reality check.

        How about you? What do you do to keep yourself feeling real and happy?
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          Nov 2 2011: Thank you Allan ! Yes there are counselors that are helping the students that are having trouble accepting reality, talking about it makes them feel better.

          Also thanks for sharing your opinion and knowledge about TV commercials, you are right those things dont represent the realities of ordinary people like you and me. Same with most of the movies and tv shows, but also, there are a few movies that show some of our ordinary human life experiences, and those are the ones that get to touch people's vulnerability. Why is it so hard to create something with the same purpose on tv commercials?

          Very nice, nature and music are amazing!

          For my reality check i would say having a simple and nice conversation with someone i care about. Knowing that my family is doing ok, its quite enough to make me happy.
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        Nov 3 2011: Speaking of tv commercials, i was also confused that why did they draw up a society that seems to be perfect.Why could not they report real thing?Yet it may not be those directors' real value,but they did it just for commercial benefit.
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    Oct 30 2011: I think they are needed for personal growth because being human we find the right path by seeing what its like to stray on the wrong path.This way we learn more about ourselves,how we deal with stress,insecurity,pain etc.... Andv in the end we learn to appreciate what we have in life because there is always worse.
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    Oct 26 2011: Alberto Moravia said that one the best gifts for a child to get is a misfortune. I think this is a bit too extreme, but I do agree that up to a certain level one should get to know the "hard way" in life, if for nothing else then for character building and for the sake of comparison. If tend to forget how much we actually have just by being alive and healthy. But still, it's not always easy to keep happy just by having what we presume as a given. Perhaps I made it too complicated...sorry :)
  • Oct 26 2011: I totally agree with you and your point. And yes for good or bad - the bad experiences help you to appreciate all good things that you have. I am saying that from personal experience. Every day I am thankful for what I have coz I know what be could be if I did not have it. I appreciate the air I breath and the food I eat coz there were moments where I did not care whether I eat or breath. And for those people u are talkin about - easy life took a lot from those people. Took them the opportunity to realise what they have, what matters, their potential and the opportunities in front of them.
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    Oct 26 2011: I don't think bad experience are necessary, bad one does need experiences good or bad to grow. Vicarious experiences lead no where.