Aldous Huxley on experience

The Bhavacakra (Wheel of Becoming, Wheel of Life) as represented in a thangka

The Bhavacakra (Wheel of Becoming, Wheel of Life) as represented in a thangka.
Image credit: Fairhope Tibetan Society

The poet is, etymologically, the maker. Like all makers, he requires a stock of raw materials – in his case, experience. Now experience is not a matter of having actually swum the Hellespont, or danced with the dervishes, or slept in a doss-house. It is a matter of sensibility and intuition, of seeing and hearing the significant things, of paying attention at the right moments, of understanding and coordinating. Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him. It is a gift for dealing with the accidents of existence, not the accidents themselves. By a happy dispensation of nature, the poet generally possesses the gift of experience in conjunction with that of expression.
Aldous Huxley in Texts & Pretexts: An Anthology with Commentaries, (London: Chatto and Windus, 1933), p. 5. First published (London: Chatto and Windus, 1932).

Paraphrase

Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.

Aldous Huxley Posted on behalf of Aldous Huxley on Monday, August 9th, 2010 under Quotations.

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