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The hidden wealth of experience

Words give us only the barest inkling of meaning. They illustrate an experience of understanding, of insight, of vision. But they do not suffice.

To trully understand what is meant by a sentence, we have to have an experience that is akin to the experience of the author.

Behind every word, sentence, or paragraph, there is a hidden ocean of expertise, experience, emotion, and philosophy that only the author knew.

For instance, as I write this I have in my mind the memory of the walk I took today through the woods when the idea of the hidden wealth behind words came to me.

But by having read that sentence, you haven’t walked through the woods, saw the trees, felt the rain, or had the sense of insight and clarity that I have. You have only reconstructed an imagined shadow of it from the words.

Sometimes, the shadow is vivid and useful, other times it’s not.

Sometimes only the real experience will do.

A violinist cannot learn to play a violin by reading about it.

Be aware of the hidden wealth of experience hiding behind words and explore it with experimentation and reflection.