I was quite pleased yesterday when I found the expression “starting point,” as in the phrase “comparison as a starting point for exploring an experience.” At first I was thinking of words like “structure” or “framework,” but those all seemed too formal and stiff—and, in some ways, almost antithetical to the very idea of curiosity. “Starting point” also says more precisely what I wanted to say. That is, that we can start examining an experience by comparing it to something we already know and then move on to exploring the unique nature of the experience itself.
This morning when I stepped out into the semi-darkness of dawn I noticed first of all the chill in the air. What immediately struck me after that is that this chill is different from what I am used to in Vienna, and I started to explore the difference. The word that came to me was “acrid” and, after that, “harsh”. That is, the early morning air in Vienna as one slowly moves into winter can take on an almost metallic quality that isn’t entirely comfortable. It can taste and smell a little bitter and suggests to me pollution. What I experienced this morning in the country was a deeper chill but with a softness about it. The air smelt fresh and of (softer) organic matter—mainly leaves and wood.
The next trick, I think, is to see if I can genuinely use such a comparison to go deeper in my (curious ;-)) exploration of an experience.