From the concept of experience to its evolving structure and its impact on human culture
Experience is the way we get in touch with reality. In other words, experience is conscious participation. There are many varieties of participation: through the senses, via the imagination, through self-awareness, thinking, meditation, etc. Thus, experience is a domain with multiple dimensions. That is to say, the domain of experience is like a forest with many different kinds of trees.
Eventually, I discovered that humankind did not master all these dimensions from the beginning. Rather, they have only evolved step by step over time. Therefore, I wanted to know how the structure of experience has changed from deep history to the present day.
The 9 experiential turns
Ultimately, I found a total of nine experiential turns. The first two transformations took place in the Paleolithic period: the turn from unconscious information processing to conscious perception and imagination. And the most recent one was the discovery of the unconscious. In between there are six experiential turns.
The forest of experience has been growing for thousands of years. So the ”History of Experience” is a study in the tribal history of human experience, its gradual growth, and its impact on human culture.
Click the pictogram or this line for a map with all 9 turns.
Impact on Human Culture
These nine experiential turns affect all areas of human existence: the course of individual lives and of human history in general, the dynamics of culture as well as the evolution of political order. For example, it was only the conscious use of a vivid imagination that allowed humans to create art since the Upper Paleolithic. From there conscious experience and training of creativity spawned the continuous growth of innovation that is characteristic of the culture of modernity.
I first began dealing with the History of Experience while working on my dissertation on Francis Hutcheson and in my later works on the concept of experience.
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