Experience is the only true source of knowledge. ~ Albert Einstein
We live in our minds. ~ Beverly Kolpin

I call it the experiencebase.

Experiencebases are the frameworks we create about the world around us. We operate continually within that framework. Simply put, an experiencebase is:

  • The compilation of our experiences, perceptions, memories, observations, conversations, feelings, emotions, language, and virtually everything we interact with.

  • The experiences and perceptions before we have cognitive and verbal skills to describe them.

  • Our interpretations of body language and other subconscious functioning.

  • It includes all of what our nervous system absorbs, whether we are aware or conscious of it.

  • Our theories about how the world an universe works based on what we have learned, experienced, and choose to believe. Though arguably those theories are also created FROM elements in our experiencebase.

The experiencebase provides the unique frame of reference from which we function. Some people may call this the “mind” or perhaps the “ego.” Both mind and ego are abstract concepts that seem to have multiple definitions. When I consider the concepts of mind and ego, I don’t envision a sense of structure and relationship between the individual experiences and memories that we individually experience. I look at the experiencebase as a massive database that we build from our cummulative experiences, even before we have the language to describe them.

Though the concept of an experiencebase is also abstract, it is related to the concept of a database, which includes elements and structure. When I have shared the concept and description of experiencebase with other people, they grasp the concept fairly easily and often think of their own content of how they navigate through life.

The experiencebase is what we function in as we operate within this realm. While growing up, my mom often told me, “We live in our mind.” While I agree with that in general, we are also constantly managing and navigating through our experiencebases. In addition, our experiencebases are always growing with new content being added with relationships consistently being created.

As you can guess, these experiencebases are MASSIVE. So much bigger than anything I could have imagined — until mine blew apart.

Problems With an Experiencebase

One of my theories is that much of what are labeled as mental health “disorders” and “illnesses” are cases where the structure of the experiencebase no longer serves a person very well. This may be due to conflicts because the structure is not strong enough nor stable enough to build more elements around it.

In some cases, the structure of the experiencebase may not collapse, yet a person experiences significant pain. In other situations, sections of the experiencebase may explode or implode, which leads to exceptional psychic pain and even difficulty in functioning.

What can make it difficult to help someone going through a difficult time or even a crisis is the differences in experiencebases between two people. Too often, the current mental health system does not take into account what condition a person’s experiencebase is in, nor the content involved.

That, of course, is just a theory. Yet that is a reasonable description for the very intense period of my life in 1998. At least that’s my take. And this comes from someone who has made the journey of her own mind.