gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Tag Archives: experiences

“Picture, if you will, Spain”

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To be a traveler  in the 21st century is to sometimes feel a sense of loss even before one leaves the house: The planet has been mapped with such an oppressive exactitude that it can often seem as if we’re living at a time when everything is knowable.

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This quote from a piece in the November issue of The New York Times Style Magazine struck me for its accuracy, but also its sadness. Social media, especially the rise of Instagram, allows people to snap and post pictures like it’s their job (myself included, I must say). While this gives individuals a great amount of creative freedom and allows their viewers to share in their experiences and see things they might not otherwise be able to see, it also robs people of having unique experiences of their own because they’ve already seen these amazing things and shared in your experience before having their own.

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Past, Present

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In some ways, the past is always with us; distant memories you thought you had forgotten pop up every now and then, reminding you that you cannot simply forget the past, and that the past does, whether you like it or not, shape who you are. Sometimes we find ourselves revisiting previous experiences for no apparent reason and perhaps unwillingly. But somehow, these thoughts springboard to the forefront of our minds and remind us that we were not always as we are now; there was a time when we were a very different person having very different experiences. Are we happy with the way that we are now and the way things are now? Or does some part of us wish to go back and be that other person and relive and continue those previous realities?

Experiences as works of art

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John Dewey believes that certain extraordinary experiences can be works of art – the kinds of experiences that make us feel completely in the moment and that are really memorable. I have to agree with him because there are certain experiences that stand apart from others because there is a certain feeling of genuineness about them – things like a Sunday drive or an outing to a place you’ve never been before that you end up thoroughly enjoying even though you had no expectations.

Many of the experiences that we have on a day-to-day basis do not possess an extraordinary quality. However, some experiences seem to evolve in a way that is very satisfying to us and perhaps we learn something from the experience that helps us makes sense of our lives or enlightens us in some way, giving us direction.

Likewise, many things in life are constantly evolving, which is why it is so important for us to fully immerse ourselves in an experience so that we do not miss the evolution of the experience. Dewey argues that it is when we are fully immersed in an experience that we are living most artfully. If one focuses on an experience and becomes part of the experience and directly involved with it, rather than standing outside the experience looking in on it, one can have a truly magnificent experience. On the other hand, if one goes through life not paying much attention to his experiences, therefore preventing the possibility of an extraordinary experience, this would be an indifferent stance toward life and not recommended by Dewey, or myself. Clearly, the former attempt of truly immersing oneself in an experience in order to have a unique, extraordinary experience is the better path through life, as it is richer and more fulfilling.