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There are two words for "experience" in German, Erlebnis and Erfahrung. The first corresponds to what we might call "everyday experience." Erlebnis is the experience of information, or momentary sensations. If you look at my Picasa web gallery, I've given you expansive captions for some photos. I told you a story of my trip. You can say to yourself: "Aha! That's Dan in Kyoto. My, he must really like soda." This is all correct. I didn't lie in my captions! On the contrary, I wanted to convey this experience--Erlebnis, that is.

Then there's Erfahrung, which names what we would write out as "Experience," in other words the effects that are left behind by something. This is what I didn't even attempt to convey on Picasa. Inside of the word Erfahrung is the word "Fahr," which comes from "Fahren," the verb that means to travel. How does one come back from a journey and tell of one's experience?

The pictures I have up on Flickr are not the answer to that question, but they're a much more likely candidate than what's on Picasa. I don't know if it's as effective for anyone else, but I find it's a very comfortable interface for looking at photos I've taken. I wouldn't consider Flickr a literal blog, but when I try to read the series of images as a series, I can't help but put together some picture of experience.


Nicole said...

Wow, that is simply a beautiful (and very thoughtful) way to describe the experience. It's hard to think of our native language as being limiting, but you nailed that on the head - through German and photos nonetheless. Beautiful.

mcvmcv said...

i thought it would be rude to introduce a post with a caveat, but i'll do it now... i'm parroting here! thank you for the comment, though.

... said...

Can't find another place to tell you this. I reposted the image of Raymond Roussel you asked about. Don't know where the other one went. I hope this one stays. tchüss.