Experience is the interaction (even if merely observing) of and with reality. Animals, plants, even rocks experience reality, but for clarity we mean human experience.
We cannot actually know reality and truth, because the instant we sense the Universe, we immediately alter it. In this way we know the Universe from the inside out. Our senses are not perfect in perception, and each of us perceives reality differently. Perception then is our sensory data, one step removed from experience/reality.
Inside out: When we perceive an experience, the mind creates a representation, a perception, an interpretation of that experience. Adding reasoning and prior perceptions, the mind constructs knowledge, understanding into its view of reality. The mind creates the Universe. The mind is the repository of all our thoughts, dreams, experiences, stories, imaginings, perceptions, interpretations, creations. However, the mind does not exist in some ethereal state, floating around somewhere separate from our bodies. Mind requires a brain; the brain interacts with experience/reality. Mind is electro-chemical actions created by the brain.
Thought is a multi-talented individual. Processing perceptions (interpretation), autonomic thought that keeps our bodies alive, the various processes of memory, even epistemology (thinking about thinking) are all brought about by the electro-chemical action in the brain. This is thought.
These actions are thought, reasoning, processing information understanding based on prior experiences. Reasoning, inference, understanding translates, combines, adjusts and reinforces knowledge. New perceptions through reasoning get incorporated into knowledge. Knowledge is the sum of all our perceptions, not memories necessarily, but the facts. One might confuse knowledge with truth. Knowledge implies the experience and perception of reality, awareness. Truth dictates actuality, reality itself, even if we don’t “know” it.
Reasoning is thinking thoughts about experience, and thoughts about those thoughts, ad infinitum. Through this reasoning process the mind extrapolates, anticipates, bends, and shapes experience until it is no longer thought about as experience, but something totally new, outside of experience/reality. Once we begin to think beyond actual experience, reasoning gives rise to imagination. Imagination drives invention, art, fantasy, storytelling, construction, conception. Imagination becomes myth, science, mathematics, physics, hypotheses, theory, view, creation of thought. It “fills in the blanks” that knowledge and reasoning leave behind. Imagination creates thought that doesn’t exist in reality and in effect creates something new.
Imagination transcends the electro-chemical. Separate from perception and interpretation, imagination can change an experience, extrapolate, abstract, or just make things up. Imagination = creation. This concept is crucial in the development of my view.
Next: Belief, Faith and God.