Nothing Beats Experience

History is such an interesting subject for me.  Over the past month and a half, I have taken up reading more history and academic texts than previous.  In fact, looking through my pile of books to read – academic works far outnumber those of fictional writings.  I have always enjoyed my History classes in school.  In my senior year of high school, my World History teacher injected humor and story-telling into his lectures on the subject.  I distinctly remember some rather bawdy discussion on the appetites of Catherine the Great.  We were young males pumped up with hormones…so the subject was a natural perspective to take.  That particular style of teaching – humor mixed with story-telling – has stuck with me ever since.  I use the same style in my classroom, and enjoy a good deal of success in making my point on various topics within the realm of Information Systems.

Its also started to draw my interest towards the art of story-telling, which seems to have become something of a lost art form.  But as I read historiography studies, as well as re-interpretations of classic authors, I have noticed that the narrative form resounds throughout History.  This point, in turn, led me to look into some of the far older episodes of my podcast.  Through the first two years, I spent a lot of time relating my experiences for the podcast’s audience – as well as my own thoughts on those same experiences with some mileage in the rear-view mirror.  These episodes have proven to be some of the more popular, where the audience really seems to key in on the entire experience.

Could they be relating my experiences to their own?  I certainly hope so.  Could they be seeking the experience through me, without going through it on their own?  Gods, I hope not.  In my personal opinion, there is no replacement for individual experience.  I can take the most breath-taking photo of the mountains in Colorado, Wyoming or Montana (which I hope to do this Summer)….but its a poor substitute for an individual’s experience.  During one of my trips into Colorado, I took the opportunity to visit Falcon Circle at the United States Air Force Academy.  I got to spend a good solid 45 minutes talking with the USAF Academy Chapel’s Director of Public Relations about how Falcon Circle came to be – as well as the many uses that it gets – including non-religious.  Climbing that hill, standing there and seeing the view that is afforded the individual visiting that location – it was quite a monumental moment.  I only wish others would have been there with me, so I could share that moment.  The pictures show the beauty of the view…but the moment there is not in the image.

We capture History in a myriad of ways.  Digital photography, video, audio, even the written word….but each pales in comparison to the actual moment of being there.  Nothing beats the experience.  Nothing compares to the moment.

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