12 02 16

now of all the philosophers i know        the only one who tried to        make a case for the meaning of experience is john dewey        actually tried to think it through        although his most thorough        thinking through took place in a very special situation        to describe the experience of art        which was not an activity he was        very knowledgeable about        but he was knowledgeable about human        activity        and he proposed that art making was very much like any        other form of human activity        and that at its center is the experience        it provides you with        in order to describe this he had to work out his        idea of what an experience was        and this turned out to be a profound        idea        a very beautiful notion        that an experience        a real or integral        experience has a narrative form        it has a beginning a middle and an        end        he supposes that all experiences are generated by a kind of need        or desire        as he sees it if you dont need or desire something you wont        experience it fully at all        and he distinguishes between what he calls        full or integral experiences and partial or chaotic experiences        that        dont involve full self awareness        and these dont count at all for dewey        he says look        suppose you go to a french restaurant thats        supposed to be a wonderful restaurant and youre all set to have a great        culinary experience        youre waiting for the first dish to arrive        youve selected an hors d’oeuvre        and youre waiting for it to come        you could be terribly surprised        because in spite of the candlelight and the        sparkling tablecloths the paintings on the wall the waiters all speaking        their earthy dialects        the frogs legs just dont taste very good        they taste like tough chicken thighs        and theres nothing more banal than        overcooked chicken thighs        so this is a bad moment        a small personal tragedy        but you still have hopes for the entrée        you boldly order        boeuf bourguignon        but it comes back sour and unpalatable        the wine is past its prime and the beef is stringy        this is very disappointing        but youre still trying to find some of the satisfaction you imagined        or hoped for        so now youre at dessert        you order an apple and some brie        what can they do to an apple        and they didnt make the brie        your luck turns around        its a marvelous apple        firm and sweet with the fragrance of its blossom        and a luscious creamy brie        its a partial retrieval        youve snatched a        small satisfaction from the debacle of the meal this is an experience        you will never forget        its hopes and its fears        its great defeats and        its final small victory        next time you go to a french restaurant youll be        wary of the frogs legs and maybe youll avoid the boeuf bourguignon

« what happened to walter ? »
i never knew what time it was
University of California Press 2005
p. 159–160
dewey expérience synesthésie