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anything can happen in this earth. we must be prepared to face it. we all came to this earth as babies, not aware what this existence might bring to us. we don't raise ourselves up, but the conscientious child deep down are always trying to know what is virtuous, how to face this earthly reality. we arm ourselves with knowledge, and knowing what is proper and what is not. hopefully these will guide us through our lifetimes.

what do extreme experiences teach an individual? do we look at it as an opportunity  for learning, etc, or as a  "fluke", forgettable as in statistical analysis?  routine life is routine, so extreme experiences can surprise a person who have not encountered it before.  let's say a person was suddenly mugged in a decent neighborhood. is it an anomaly, or something worth understanding(so it will not be repeated especially negative ones)?   

extreme experiences demand intelligent understanding and care so it will not happen in the future again.

thanks for reading.

The situation you describe in your first paragraph is well recognized by many philosophers, perhaps most prominently, among recent ones, by Heidegger, who called it "thrown-ness." We are indeed hurled into this world without preparation and must get along as best as we can.

The rest of your question relates more to the realm of psychology than philosophy, and I would encourage you to ask it of one of the experts in psychology. People differ enormously in their resilience and their ability to deal with change, especially extreme change. Recognition of this led to the idea of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is the result of extreme experiences -- the classic one being the experience of being a soldier in Afghanistan -- that are not usefully responded to.

Few people regard any of their experiences as flukes, no matter how unlikely they are.

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Charles K. MacKay


I can answer a number of questions in philosophy; my academic concentrations (graduate school at Cornell) are ethics, political philosophy, and 19th-century German philosophy (Marx, Hegel, and hangers-on.)



BA, New College, 1971, Philosophy and Religion
Awarded four graduate fellowships upon graduation

MA, Cornell University, 1974
Social and Political Philosophy, Danforth Fellowship

All course work and dissertation drafts completed for Ph.D. Cornell University, 1971-1975, Social and Political Philosophy, Danforth Fellowship

Courses in statistics and microeconomics, George Washington University and The American University, 1976-1978

EXPERIENCE: Health Insurance Specialist 2005 - Present
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service
US Department of Health and Human Services

Allentown Business School Instructor (Computer Science) 2003 - 2005

Northampton Community College
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy 2003 -2005

Lehigh County Community College
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Computer Science


Medicare Made Easy (with Charles B. Inlander) Addison-Wesley, 1989

Good Operations, Bad Operations (with Charles B. Inlander) Viking Press, 1993

Health Rebooted: Information Changes Everything (in press), 2008

Bachelor of Arts, Philosphy and Religion, New College, 1971 Master of Arts, Social and Political Philosophy, Cornell University, 1975

Awards and Honors
Danforth Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Fellowship

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