The Cult Of Experience

Nik-Wallenda-grand-canyon-1-200x300I’ve just read an ad for a wilderness trail. What saddened me was the way it was filled with all sorts of manufactured and artificial experiences along the way. You can’t just walk and perceive and feel the exhilaration of all that is around you,  you have to be entertained with a programme of experiences, or it’s simply not worth it.

Have you noticed the tendency to rush from experience to experience, almost as if it’s some kind of addictive drug needing to be stronger than the last. What makes things worse is how these experiences are then forced on to others with the dictum, “You haven’t lived unless you’ve reproduced my experience in you.”

Ours is an age where people are desperate for experiences. Is there anything wrong with that? I don’t think so, but when it’s shot through with addiction, aren’t we in danger of losing touch with the very depths of meaning in the ordinary. I think we are.  After all, isn’t a large part of life  lived within the so called realm of the “ordinary?”

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About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in inspiration, Life, Poetic Imagination, Spirituality, wisdom and insight and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to The Cult Of Experience

  1. Ese' s Voice says:

    It’s fair to say I have met all different kind of people – the ones who are open to new experiences, the ones who prefer to live life on the very safe side and stick to what they know and the ones whose adrenaline level is usually too low and they are constantly into new challenges. Difficult to say which one is the best…I think as many people there’re, as many are their ways on going through the life. Me…I fall in the first “category” and feel quite happy about it. I find it nice to be open and to avoid the desparation you mentioned. 🙂

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  2. I am totally with you on this. This constant pursuit of experience is empty to me, symptomatic of thoughtless extroversion. Why do we always have to do something and we can’t just be. A colleague of my husband’s was recently surprised that we are going again to the same place for a holiday. Why don’t we go somewhere new, he asked. Oblivion and distraction – this is what most people seek.

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    • Don says:

      Yes, I really warm to your thought on thoughtless extroversion and distraction. I suppose it has a lot to do with our different dispositions as Ese says, but I can’t help feel that in the world of the action hero we are in danger of alienating ourselves from the mundane which I honestly believe is absolutely charged with significance. We’ve just lost the ability to be and perceive it in that way. I hope I don’t sound judgemental.

      I too have enjoyed going to the same place for a holiday. But, then, place and my relational expression to it has always been important to me.

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      • Lyn Stephenson says:

        The contemplative in you speaks to the contemplative in me…but I do believe there are many who thrive on constantly seeking out new experiences. Perhaps it’s also an age thing. When I was younger I relished new experiences, as I have aged I have come to the realisation, that there is nothing ‘out there’ that is not right here.

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      • Don says:

        Lyn, I think you’re right. The issue of age probably does have a lot to do with it. I love your phrase, “nothing out there that is not right here.” I warm to that. It’s a pity it takes us so long to come to that realization. Thanks for your comment – appreciate it.

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  3. Hudson Howl says:

    Well thought……an yes I agree with you.

    see http://www.beyondplumcreek.com/#/Beyond_Plum_Creek/Walk_With_Me read text under canoe images….feel free to erase link

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    • Don says:

      Hudson, I was touched by the words under the canoe images. I feel so deeply comfortable with what you said there. I really appreciate you providing that link, and, by the way, those other images are magnificent.

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  4. Healthy A-Z says:

    I have often thought that those who race from experience to experience (manufactured busyness) are running away from their feelings. As the feelings surface, they get more frenetic. Quiet, natural surroundings are not comfortable for them. There do seem to be a lot of people like that.

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  5. Hi, Don … Michael here your friend in Canada. We have quite a few deep canyons here in Vancouver which still have running water through them. A young tourist yesterday or the day before came here to BASE jump into one of the canyons into a pool of water … Of course the 100ft plus jump went wrong and the youngster got mangled up. Major spinal, neck and leg injuries. He couldn’t move in the rapids so his friends had to do the neck breaking jump too to save him. luckily they were not injured … Funny to see how the rescue is applauded by the “entertained” and to the fireman chiefs disgust in the reckless act. I believe their is a great concious divide happening in the world between the entertained and the sane. Everything is next app, next adventure, harder, hardcore … It’s almost sensory rape. Your right … It’s. a drug and its an addiction. Perhaphs were not policing the right chemical perhaps it should be policing adrenaline abuse. Good article Don, Strength to you.

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    • Don says:

      Great to hear from you Michael and thanks for your email which I’ll respond to. How absolutely tragic and so unnecessary. I think you express exactly what I’m trying to get at. At times it simply becomes ludicrous. Thanks for a great comment Michael

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  6. Sounds of the city, busy, busy…I felt the same angst when I wrote my poem on the lack of the contemplative in some of us who rush and rush to meet ourselves somewhere else. We rarely are there when we need us.

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  7. Shweta says:

    I am so with you on this Don…the experience shooting through addiction is also backed by the feeling of proving oneself ‘superior most’ or ‘know it all’. This is a trend that I have observed. However, ultimately,it is the ordinary-the ‘non-imposing one’ that proves worthy of shine. Yikes! I don’t know whether I made my point or not but I tried my best:) and as always, I enjoyed reading the post and the comments by fellow bloggers. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. nrhatch says:

    Yes! Experiences are great . . . but, like exclamation points, they can be overdone. Sometimes “one” is enough.

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  9. katy says:

    I agree with Lyn, Don I think a lot of it is an age thing. There is a huge need out there to
    be “cool” and be able to say “been there, done that, got the T. shirt. and then there are the
    money makers tapping into the next rush. Sometimes living here in South Africa is scary
    enough without paying someone to do it for you.

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    • Don says:

      Yes, I agree with you Katy, it has a lot to do with ego and when you tap in to the egos of people there is an immense amount of money to be made.

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