On lived experience and compliance

There’s an odd paradigm shift occurring in the way we carry out debate. A new phrase for ‘anecdotally’ has become main stream, one that tries to assert itself as equal to ‘expert knowledge’ and that is lived experience. While lived experience will form part of the information gathering objective of any good debate – it must not be allowed to factual evidence. Allow me to show an example with the internet.

Lived Experience: My internet is terrible it’s always slow
Diagnosis: The Wi-Fi router was behind a couch next to a radiator. It was shielded from broadcasting and receiving a signal.


Lived Experience: My internet is terrible it doesn’t work
Diagnosis: The ADSL filter to the modem wasn’t in place, meaning noise on the line stopped the modem syncing and achieving connection.


Lived Experience: My internet is terrible, its always struggling
Diagnosis: Phone was set to ‘low data mode’


Not every lived experience is poor in an unfixable way with proper expert help or factual data.

On compliance

A road a short drive from my house, that I use daily, has for two days had a stuck traffic light, all four sides were constant red. Large queues would form, people would sit for ages, even when alone, or in the dark/middle of the night.

People like compliance with rules and basic decency. It’s something as a nation we enjoy. Our place within the bigger picture, and according to the previously agreed ethics of the game. Our sense of fairness is part of our values.

For men, there are unwritten rules of the bathroom, such as never use the urinal next to someone else, when you could leave a gap in between instead. Or always use the furthest left or right urinal before making your way inwards. Distance from your fellow toilet attendees is paramount.

The suggestion that we would need a police function at every traffic light to ensure no red light was ever crossed, is ridiculous.

In the other extreme, where there is no law, but an inbuilt, untaught, and automatically known sense of right and wrong – it wouldn’t need policing or formal policy. It just happens.

This makes the argument that unless something is explicitly banned in law and policed fully it is not worth having as a guide or rule – somewhat ridiculous and weak.

However it’s worth noting we wouldn’t pass a bill allowing people to identify the light as green for malfunctions, nor would we pass a bill mandating the most efficient use of the urinals is to always load in sequence from closest to the door onwards. Some things, just naturally work out for reasonable people.

Experts and facts often trump lived experience when looking for solutions, and compliance can often be found even when explicit policing, punishment or even clearly written rules cannot be established.

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