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  • Writer's pictureAmir Freimann

The background experience

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

One of the central concepts in phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger, Merlo-Ponti, Gadamer et al.) is "horizon" - a word pointing at the "background," "context" and also "boundaries" of all our experience and of any specific experience we have. It can be likened to a movie screen onto which the movie of our changing experience is projected. I'll call it here our "background experience".

What can we say about our "background experience"? Does it have a particular "flavor" or "color"? Does it have certain qualities that are completely stable (e.g., our being conscious of it) and others that sometimes change (e.g., during activity vs meditation, when we are happy or depressed)?

Am I aware of my "background experience" right now? If I am, what can I say about it?

Over the last couple of months I've been exploring these questions with a scholar friend, with the idea that we may do a phenomenological research on the "background experience". So far, the subject has hardly been studied at all. Because it's very difficult to study an experience that has no beginning or end, and which is the background of all other experiences.

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