Our Experience, Ourselves Revised Edition

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The print version is available at Amazon and Lulu. Lulu is better because the price to you is often lower and I always get more of it. But Amazon delivers value, and some days the price is the same, so don’t hesitate. Reviews are at Amazon, and when you write a review, please add it to the list at Amazon. A Kindle edition is also available at Amazon.

A Classic Revived!

Sophia Lyon Fahs, Today’s Children and Yesterday’s Heritage: A Philosophy of Creative Religious Development (Beacon Press, 1952). Out of print since 1976, this classic source on experiential learning and teaching lives again in ebook form. It’s at Google Docs.

Teachers, students, home-schoolers, parents, anyone interested in teaching and learning: this is a wonder of a book, a proposal for experiential learning first published in 1952, way ahead of its time, allowed to fade from view.

“How shall the older generation pass on its religious heritage to the younger generation?” she asks.  Are the youngsters to memorize and recite a creed with x number of doctrines to accept and y number of commandments to follow? Or do today’s believers want youngsters to become tomorrow’s believers? What will belief look like forty years from now, given the pace of scientific and technological development? A new paradigm is needed, and she supplies it.

Mrs. Fahs was seventy-six years old when her book came out. Her whole life’s work is in it. In its 1952 context her book is nothing short of revolutionary — her vision is prophetic. This great woman has written a great book.


More About Our Experience, Ourselves

The ebook version is at Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks and Barnes & Noble.

If you’re buying the e-version, buy at Smashwords, because Barnes & Noble and Apple put encryption codes on what they sell so you can’t move your purchased book from one reading device to another. They say it’s all about protecting authors’ intellectual property, but they’re really wanting to corner the market on ebook readers. Amazon and Sony have their own codes too.

If you’re thinking about buying, the “Sample Passages” page provides brief paragraphs from the book to give you a taste of what goes on there.

For owners of the printed version I supply here on separate pages (1) a slideshow of the illustrations, in color, plus additional slides that add context and texture, and (2) a detailed index to subjects and references in the book.

And there’s a Facebook page for ongoing exchanges.












Why do we have brains?
To experience the world and explain it — to figure things out:

View LouAnn Gerken, “The Making of a Mind,”


Experience: the Ultimate Authority

It was David Hume who declared, at the opening of his Treatise of Human Nature (1775), that experience is the ultimate authority. No art or science, he wrote, “can go beyond experience, or establish any principles which are not established on that authority.” In raising experience to the top of the authority scale Hume completed a revolutionary movement that began when Geoffrey Chaucer had his character, the Wife of Bath, argue that her experience in marriage was valuable, though of “no authority” in places where public argument goes on (year 1400).
“I have it on the highest authority” is a familiar chunk of argument, typically not offering experience as the ‘highest authority’ the arguer is thinking of. But “I learned this from experience” often is introduced as an assertion of fact not subject to argument. So in some situations we do identify experience as the highest authority, in other situations not so much. All the same, if you ever even entertain the idea that experience is a powerful authority, you are positioning yourself on the Hume side of a value shift not open to discussion in many of the world’s cultures. “The authorities” too often include no more than a bunch of men.

Wanted: suicide bomber — experienced only need apply.