#476: Two Words for “Experience” in German: What VR Can Learn from “Erfahrung” vs “Erlebnis”

jenn-zahrtThe language and terminology around virtual reality is still evolving, but the VR community has been settling into using the phrase “VR Experience” in order to describe the process of a going through a piece of virtual reality content. I had a friend/business partner over who got her Ph.D. in German literature, and she had a lot of really interesting insights about how the German language actually has two separate words for experience with “Erfahrung” and “Erlebnis.”

On today’s episode of the Voices of VR podcast, I talk with Dr. Jenn Zahrt about the differences between erfahrung and erlebnis, and whether or not a third term might be required in order to describe the process of going through a virtual reality experience. Jenn says that erlebnis could be thought of a unique “lived experience” that you actually go through with your embodied flesh, and that an erfahrung encompasses a much wider range of types of experience ranging from an archive of memories created from your erlebnisse but also knowledge that’s gained from indirect sources like the media, books, and external sources of authority.

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Merriam Webster has a number of different definitions for experience such as “the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation.” This definition closely mirrors the direct sensory experience that could be translated as an “erlebnis.” And “erfahrung” could be thought of as the “practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity.”

Jenn and I discuss the other nuances between erfahrung and erlebnis as well as some of the open questions and insights that these two German words for experience bring up. For example, the process of other people telling a story and curating a VR experience could be thought of an erfahrung, but yet having a direct sensory of experience of it could be thought of as having an “erlebnis” type of experience. Or is it really possible to have a “lived experience” erlebnis experience within VR? Does it require a new term to describe this blend between the two? And is it possible to have an “erlebnis” type of lived experience in VR if you have high enough levels of fidelity of emotional, social, embodied, and active presence?

There are many more open questions here to be explored, and I’d be curious to hear any feedback about other lessons that the VR community could learn from looking at the differences between “erfahrung” and “erlebnis.”

UPDATE: perhaps the third type of simulated direct experience could be called “incepted.” If erlebnis is direct experience, erfahrung is learned experience, then perhaps a synthetic erlebnis could be thought of as an incepted experience:

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Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. My name is Kent Bye, and welcome to the Voices of VR Podcast. So for anybody that's in the VR industry knows that whenever you try to talk to somebody about VR who has never done it before, you kind of reach a block. Because VR is something that you actually have to experience yourself. You actually have to put yourself into a headset, and as you move your head around, your subconscious mind kind of gets tricked into believing that whatever you're looking at is real, and that you're actually transported into another world. And that's not something that you can really describe to somebody, because it's an illusion, and they have to go through it themselves. They actually have to have the lived experience. And so within the VR community, there's kind of like this challenge of what do you call these things that we're doing within VR? At this point, a VR experience is kind of the nomenclature that we've decided upon as the best way of describing what it is that we're doing in VR. And I had a friend and business partner over the other day, and we started talking about this word experience, and she said, you know, actually, the German language has two words for experience. In the process of exploring these two different definitions, I think it actually helps explain a lot of the role that VR has to play as a medium that makes it completely different than any other medium that's out there today, and part of ushering in this new experiential age. So, we'll be exploring these issues with Dr. Jen Zart on today's episode of the Voices of VR podcast. But first, a quick word from our sponsor. Today's episode is brought to you by the Voices of VR Patreon campaign. I can't emphasize enough how much the Patreon campaign for the Voices of VR podcast is enabling me to continue the coverage that I'm bringing you. I feel like I'm able to go into a lot more depth and just have more time to really dig into stories that really matter. But also to help explore some of the deeper philosophical questions that will help understand what it is that we're doing as we experience and make virtual reality experiences. By you contributing to the Voices of VR podcast that ensures that I can continue to bring you some of the best interviews and insights from some of the top thinkers in the field. So you can become a patron today at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. So this interview with Jen happened on Monday, November 14th in Portland, Oregon. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:02:35.575] Jenn Zahrt: My name is Jen Zart, and I have a PhD in German literature. And as a part of my graduate school experience, I was studying epistemology in literature and how we can know certain things through narrative that may or may not be true in terms of factual knowledge, but how narrative actually opens up realms for truth experience in the world that can only be experienced through fiction. You know, think about somebody who's worked for a secret service, who's telling lived testimony of what they experienced, but they're couching it in a fiction, and they can never, ever, ever tell that what you're reading as a fictional novel is actually something that historically happened. And the only thing that's different is that the names have been changed. And fiction like that exists. And we can actually experience the testimony from those people as a lived reality in our minds as readers, right? So imagine then going forward that we have people creating virtual reality experiences where we're actually living through history, but because of different kinds of confidentiality agreements, or top secret clearance things, we're not actually allowed to know that what we're experiencing is a fictional reality that seems very game-like is actually a true one. And so we get to cross over these borders between what's fiction and what's truth, what's history and what's story. So one of my main concerns whenever I would encounter one of the texts in the 800 years of German history was how do we know what we know through this text and what worlds does this text open up to us? And in the process of doing that, one of the main concerns, and I think the concern of anybody who decides to specialize in a foreign national language, is that we're ambassadors from one set of cultural ways of thinking to other sets of cultural ways. And in the process of going through these various texts with the question of the experience made possible through those texts. It was immediately apparent to me that German does have two different words for experience that are not present in the English language. In English, we can only say experience, and we can talk about different types of experience, but at the end of the day, that one noun covers the category, whereas In German, there are two ways of saying that. So, on the one hand, the most common form of experience that I would say people tend to talk about historically in German would be Erfahrung. E-R-F-A-H-R-U-N-G. At the root of this word is the verb fahren or fahrt and that is to drive, that is this concept of a channel or a track that's being driven down and this journey that takes place and this is the kind of experience that's talked about when you have wisdom and there's a kind of path that you follow and that you're given an Erfahrung and you can get Erfahrung through testimony of other people, also through what you've learned from what you've experienced, and it becomes a kind of mythological wisdom set in you that also helps direct your new journeys. As you gain Erfahrung, then you also gain an archive of knowledge that helps you make decisions moving forward into the future. And in my research, one of the periods of time that I studied most and ended up writing my PhD thesis about was the Weimar period, which happened right after the First World War. And the First World War completely shocked Europe. It completely changed the socio-political relationships in Europe, and it exposed people to a level of mechanized violence that had never been witnessed before. And in order to make sense of this experience, the word erlebnis came into common parlance. And it's not that it didn't exist before, but I'm bringing up this World War I experience to specifically call out mechanized warfare, exposed human bodies en masse to a kind of lived experience that they had not experienced ever before. And so there began to be a kind of tension now in the society between two. So let me go back a little bit and talk about the etymology of that word, since we did talk about the etymology of erfahrung, and then proceed to explain how erlebnis fits into this structure. Erelebnis, which is spelled E-R-L-E-B-N-I-S, has the word leben at its root, and it really literally does mean a lived experience. Something that you live through, that happens to you, that alters you. And so, unlike an erfahrung, which you could read about, an erlebnis is actually something that you need to have experienced in your body, in your embodied flesh. Much like this concept of trench warfare. That is something that is shell-shockingly, like you cannot take that back. You have experienced something that has never before been experienced. At the same time, given the disruption of society that war caused, people were moving from rural places into cities more than ever before in terms of the Industrial Revolution. Now all of a sudden Berlin was the fastest growing city in the nation. And people were having to deal with the shocks of modern life in a city. You have to remember at this time, they didn't have crosswalks, they didn't have streetlights, any kind of motorized anything, horses, everything through the streets was completely chaotic. So even going outside was dangerous. You have a lot of early cinema showing people having these experiences of a train coming at you. And there's all these shocks going on that are trying to give you a sense of erlebnis and what it's like to live in a cosmopolitan city, And all of the old wisdom of the past, all of the Erfahrungen did not make sense in this new cultural context. So suddenly you have this complete explosion of a battle between, but we were told things were like this. And then we experienced this devastating war and technology has changed so much that we can only go through these lived experiences and we actually can't trust the wisdom and mythologies of the past.

[00:08:26.770] Kent Bye: Wow. That is I think you know within the VR community I think people have been using experience and I think it has been a kind of a frustrating word because it doesn't necessarily capture the full totality of what people are going through. What do you call it? Do you call it a VR film? Is it a narrative experience? Most people have kind of settled upon experience as kind of the best way to really describe it. But to go back to these two different types of experience, I just did this interview with Ian Forster of VR Playhouse, and he had this conceptualization that there are three different ways that you learn about the world. One is like a direct primary sensory input. And two is that you may not go through it by yourself, but you're observing something. And the third was what he called cultural indoctrination. But that could also be any other ways of things that other people are telling you what that is. So it's sort of like, to me, I kind of see that those first two as the Erlebnis of the direct sensory experience. And then the Erfahung is kind of what Ian would call the cultural indoctrination, but it's also like all the different ways of what people have been telling you about it, whether it's the mainstream media or any other form of authority that's telling you what the state of reality is. And so you asked the question, what do people in Germany calling this? Are they calling it a VR Erwahrung? Or is it a VR Erlebnis? And does there need to be a third category to really have this kind of combination of a part sensory experience, but also stuff that's being synthetically created to put you through that.

[00:10:01.140] Jenn Zahrt: It is an excellent question, because on the one hand, in virtual reality, you are under the illusion that you're having an experience that you're actually standing in a room, and you're not in the place that you're imagining yourself to be whether it's some kind of fantasy realm or even something that's trying to map itself onto the actual earth. You have these ways of imagining yourself to be elsewhere, which I find in the context of something like literary studies to be fascinating because in literature we always go to these fantasy imaginal realms and so VR gives us this sensory input to actually take us even closer there and And maybe because of its engagement with our eyes and our ears, it mimics erlebnist type experience more closely than a literary experience could. And so that's one of the draws to it is because it really puts us up close and personal with the haptic response that you get on the hand controllers when you're in audio shield or some kind of other engagement with a material where if you're reading a book, or if you're, you know, only listening to a piece of music, it's not actually giving you the sort of totality of immersion, for example. But on the other hand, it's a virtual Erlebnis. It's an Erlebnis of a type, but it's not necessarily, like actually something. So it's difficult, I think. And I do think we actually should be challenged to come up with a third term, or at least a modifier to one of the two terms, because At the end of the day, then, once that erlebnis of VR, once the lived experience of VR is over, you file it away as an erfahrung. So these two terms aren't mutually exclusive, they actually build on each other, because you build erfahrung through your erlebnis, right? But if you don't ever have an erlebnis, then you're kind of just living life through other people's hearsay. But also in the same token, if you're in virtual reality, and you never actually get out into the real world and have other encounters with other humans, there's a deprivation to that, that is precluding a kind of erlebnis with the lived reality around you. So I think I would challenge the community to try to find some kind of third term or expand the English word of experience to capture these dimensions.

[00:12:11.687] Kent Bye: Yeah, I think that Just by looking at the German language, this specific question to me, I think, is talking about so many different dimensions that are actively being discussed of trying to find the words to really describe it. And just looking at the larger trends that I see that are happening right now in technology, one way of thinking about it is that we've been in this information age. But now we're kind of entering into a new age of the experiential age with virtual reality, with augmented reality, with artificial intelligence. It's really about creating experiences for people. So it is able to create these synthetic or labeness experiences in people that I think is equivalent to what the Gutenberg press was able to do with being able to create books and literature. And like, what can we learn by looking at literature and print and like, how you kind of think about that from your studies, from the perspective of epistemology and ontology, and then maybe how that may be changing with these new immersive technologies.

[00:13:10.840] Jenn Zahrt: One of my favorite things to think about in this constellation I kind of touched on at the beginning of our conversation today is how do we know what we know and how do we know what we know is true when we're encountering a story and also the stories that we think are true that we tell about ourselves might actually not be true. So it's that questioning of what am I actually experiencing and then the fantasy of experiencing something that you know isn't true but that you sort of enjoy experiencing the fictionality come to life in that, right? Like, I know I'm not in this virtual space, but I enjoy being in this virtual space in the same way that people have always enjoyed reading about places they might never visit, or stories they might never ever get to experience themselves. And yet, One of the exciting things that I've seen is how we can doodle on ourselves. So it's not a matter of just in augmented reality, for example, you know, you can put stickers on things and draw on yourself with your fingertip and then send that to people. And that to me is just really fascinating that that's our sort of human touch on this digital technology. And even as a publisher, I really enjoy the weird errors that creep in because I have the capacity to make a text perfect when I publish it, but there's always some kind of small error. And instead of hating them, I actually appreciate them because it says a human being was here. And at the end of the day, human beings are storytelling creatures. And all of this technology is built up to help us tell stories to each other. So the Erfahrung story that we get from our elders around the campfire, and the Erlebnis story that we have to suffer through in rites of initiation, are actually one and the same because our Erlebnis story becomes an Erfahrung story for the people who come after us. And so there is a continuum on that and I think that these technologies are enabling us to come together in an experiential way and have a deeper connection perhaps than literature tried to bridge that gap and paintings on caves tried to perhaps communicate across time and space and Maybe with these types of technologies, they don't outlive us in a certain temporal way in the same way that a cave painting would. But in the moment now, I do think that they are enabling a deeper level of connection, because the sheer amount of information that you're going to get from a virtual reality experience, especially if it's in conversation with another human being in the same virtual space, is so much greater than you would get from a novel from Edgar Allan Poe. He sent us that little packet of information. And we have Poe for as long as we need to, and we can translate him and read him. But at the end of the day, we only actually really have that limited set. And so just the sheer explosion of data in terms of sensory input, but that I think is what's enabling the deeper connection to be made as pattern recognizers and information processing hearts alive beating.

[00:15:52.648] Kent Bye: Yeah, it seems like the thing that's new with the experiential age with this new technology is that before, with just all the other communication mediums that were out there, someone could go through a lived experience in Erlebnis and be able to then tell a story about it, which would be other peoples or fanghong. But if now they have the capability to go through that lived experience, but then to create a virtual Reality experience of that and have other people go through it and they have sort of a simulated or labeness You know as I as I do my podcast I like to be at the conferences and talking to people and having my own sense of what is actually happening You know, it's like I want to be there and feel it for myself So I'm not relying on other people telling me what happened and going through other people's filters. And so I In VR, you're kind of creating an immersive 360 degree experience where you're kind of allowing people to express their free will. And by doing that, you're stimulating their senses in a way that is like creating that Erlebnis. And this is the first time in our human history that we've been really able to really do that, it seems like.

[00:16:53.125] Jenn Zahrt: Yeah, I would agree. And I think then we're couching across this other line of something that also spins my wheels, which is a kind of empiricism of experience, right? So if you have direct experience with some kind of experiment, right, what is it like to be inside the body of someone else in this virtual experience? What is it like to feel presence in VR, according to this or that experience, and it's completely outside of my common human frame that I've had up until now. And then I start to build an archive of erlebnisse inside of these other VR experiences, for lack of a current better word. And that actually builds on this layer inside of me that is an almost empirical challenge to my other empiricism of daily life, right? If you think about it, every single day you wake up and you expect the sun to rise and to set. And there's no way to know whether that's gonna happen or not besides trusting that it's gonna happen. Karl Popper is a philosopher scientist who said, You cannot prove something true, you can only prove it false when it fails. So in this effort for discovering truth, we actually are on a wing in a prayer, and all we have is our empirical lived reality stacking up evidence against evidence, but all it takes is one piece of evidence for that thing to suddenly no longer be true. And so we can obviously say, okay, in the lived history of human experience, the sun has always risen in the east. Like that is something that we take for granted, but that is only falsifiable. It can never be proved true, because all it takes is one day for that not to happen, right? And so when you talk about experiences, there's also this layering that takes place. And I think VR is challenging us now to give us a sense of, you know what, there can be a VR experience where the sun actually rises in the west. For the first time in your lived experience, you can actually put on a headset and spend 24 hours and simulate what it would feel like to stand in Ithaca, New York, and watch the crying of Lot 49 come to life.

[00:18:48.999] Kent Bye: Wow, yeah. So what is the crying Lot of 49?

[00:18:53.683] Jenn Zahrt: It's a novel by Thomas Pynchon where the sun is rising in the wrong position over a hill in Ithaca. So as you're standing in that location, and you're looking out and you see where the sun rises and sets, he describes it exactly opposite as it should be.

[00:19:08.090] Kent Bye: Oh, wow. So as you're in VR, you start to kind of break the celestial mechanics that you've always experienced in your entire life. It's sort of like it falsifies the idea that the sun will always rise in the East and set in the West. It would give you one data point, which is enough to flip your entire worldview upside down. Potentially. I mean, this is just one example, but there could be other ones where you start to experience these virtual worlds that are starting to falsify these core beliefs that we have. So what do you think that means? What that implies?

[00:19:38.897] Jenn Zahrt: Well, I think you could eventually begin to develop an archive of erlebnisse in VR. You have these lived experiences that layer themselves on top of each other and you begin to get used to these alternate realities and these alternate gravities and these alternate kinds of physics and you become science fiction inside the virtual space so that that doubles back on the kind of scientism and the what's so that we're told about the way that our lived reality works these days. then virtual reality opens up the imaginal realm to have these alternate truths be real, in a way, because you're experiencing them. And it might not be true in a current Earth-based celestial mechanics, but it is true in the mechanics of whatever VR experience you're having.

[00:20:19.735] Kent Bye: Oh, wow. The thing that that makes me think about is just this concept of an ontology of a belief around what is real in the world. And I've read this article about the importance of being able to hold multiple ontologies at the same time, which means that you're comfortable with paradox, you're comfortable with the ability to have a contradiction with your own worldview, you're able to maybe take some sort of set of data and be able to look at it through many different lenses have many different worldviews to see how that may be interpreted and kind of leave your mind open a little bit more plastic to be able to in the end of the day I think perhaps empathize with other people a little bit more.

[00:20:56.704] Jenn Zahrt: I think that's one of the main goals that literature has always come to is these paradoxes that are possible through language itself and how we can imagine these spaces where yes in the crying of Lot 49 the sun may rise in a different space than we're used to in lived reality and there's a pleasure in breaking that normal And there's a pleasure in breaking that expected that we can occupy during the space of reading and in that imaginal space. So virtual reality gives us a chance to actually step into that with our eyes and our ears as well. And it's not limited only to the sort of imagination in the brain and that kind of strange theater that opens when we read. It's actually taking it into another dimension and tricking our actual brain mechanics into thinking that it actually did happen that way. in many other ways, in any way that we can imagine. So that paradox, I think, and the pleasure of the paradox is what's driving this continued investment in let's keep building this, let's keep building out these worlds and see what's possible.

[00:21:50.584] Kent Bye: Yeah, I think that the phenomena that happens when people actually experience that in VR is that you get the VR giggles. It just, you know that what you're experiencing is kind of breaking a fundamental law that you've held in your mind. You're experiencing something you've never been able to experience before and you just start uncontrollably laughing. And so I think it's that moment and pleasure that we get out of that. Like we like that. We like to be challenged in that way. There's something that is just stimulating about experiencing something like that.

[00:22:16.771] Jenn Zahrt: And I think that might even be the place where we begin to find this third word in that an erlebnis, as it was defined, according to the German scheme, is something that is a lived experience in terms of three dimensional, four dimensional reality on the face of the earth. I mean, we're talking about that World War One experience of trench warfare that shocked people and really gave them a sense that nothing is the same anymore. After this experience, my whole entire physical being is shifted. And people can shove Erfarung down your throat as long as you want, but you're not going to ever be the same after a genuine Erlebnis. But what if that Erlebnis is an impossible Erlebnis? What if it is a virtual Erlebnis that is not actually a lived reality on the three-dimensional Earth sphere? It's inside of this virtual space or these multiplicities of virtual spaces. Suddenly you do get that whatever, VR giggles that then suddenly it challenges you to say, what kind of experience would that be then? Because it's not the same thing as the time age wisdom. And it's not the same thing as something that permanently changes you forever in your physical body is because I don't know, I think there's something ontologically separate about that and think that we really as a community need to think through how we want to bring that to articulation.

[00:23:26.228] Kent Bye: Yeah, for sure. And finally, what do you see as kind of the ultimate potential of virtual reality and what it might be able to enable?

[00:23:36.222] Jenn Zahrt: I think the ultimate potential of virtual reality enables us to develop a kind of connection with ourselves and with each other that is unprecedented in the history of humankind. And it unlocks a way of engaging with our imaginations in a tangible way that we've never been able to do before. And so that play with the imagination and with the story building capacity, both individually and with each other, I think is where it's heading and what it can really do for humankind.

[00:24:04.703] Kent Bye: Hmm. Awesome. Well, thank you so much. Thank you. So that was Dr. Jen Tsart. She has a PhD in German literature, and she's also the co-founder and CEO of Triple City Media, which is the company that I co-founded with her and another business partner. And we're in the process of working on the Ultimate Potential of VR book. So I have a number of different takeaways about this interview is that first of all, since I did this interview, this differentiation between Erlebnis and Erfahung has been something that I've been thinking about quite a bit, actually. So just to define the two terms again, the Erlebnis was the lived experience, something that you have to experience within your embodied flesh and that something you have to live through that alters you. And at the Erfahung is all the things that are either things that have been told to you by other people, things that you learned along the way from either stories or media, but it's also the experiences that you're extracting from your own life experience. And so you're kind of creating this repository of memories that's coming from your Erfahung. The Erlebnis and Erfahung are actually kind of building off each other. You have the Erlebnis experience, the lived experience of doing it the first time, and then from that you generate Erfahung that you're basically storing within your memory. And then if you go through some sort of rite of passage and then tell the story of that to another person, either through a film or a VR experience or whatever way, that becomes an Erfahung transmission. And I think VR actually creates a possibility to provide more and more opportunities to have a lived direct sensory experience of all sorts of different topics and ideas. And so I did publish an interview with Ann Forrester a couple of weeks ago, and he's basically talking about his conceptualization that he saw that there was really three different ways that we were learning about the world. The first was that we have some sort of direct sensory experience. And then the second was that we're actually observing other people having some sort of experience and seeing what happens in terms of cause and effect. And the third was what he termed as cultural indoctrination. But it's essentially anything that's told to you by some sort of external authority, whether it be the mainstream media or your social network, or it could be your religion or even science. And so in the interview, I had, I think, actually kind of made a mistake in thinking that the first two were elabeness experiences. But actually, I think the only pure elabeness experience is your primary direct sensory experience. Because if you think about it, you can watch somebody go through a VR experience, but you have to actually go through the experience in order to really understand it yourself. And so the only real true alabeness is probably whatever you actually go through yourself. And so then the question becomes like, well, what happens if you go through a synthetic reality or a simulation of that experience? Is that the same thing of having that lived experience? And I think that's where in this middle ground of VR, where that's really landing, because in a lot of ways, if you think about it, A VR experience is created by somebody else, and so it's by its inherent nature an FRHung. So you're going into something that's curated and having subjective decisions that have gone in to include some things and not include other things. And so it's by its very nature somebody else's perspective on the world. Unless you're able to go and have a direct primary sensory experience of the world, then it's going to be someone else's FRHung. So I think that it's still possible to have a lived experience within a VR experience? Because in my conceptualization, just in the process of talking with both my business partners of Triplicity Media, I was making the argument that you can actually have an enlightenment experience within a VR experience, because it's more of a matter of presence, of like, it's an internal state of, are you feeling any sort of like, emotional or social, embodied or active presence? You know, the more the levels of presence that you're feeling, the more that you feel alive, and the more that it kind of feels like a lived experience. So I think it's still up for debate as to whether or not a VR experience could transform into interlabeness. I think one of the things that Jen was saying is that interlabeness is kind of like the first time that you do anything. It's kind of like you do something new and you have like a direct lived experience of it for the first time, and it blazes all these new neural pathways. Any other time that you do that, then it becomes like an afrahung, because you have something that is a reference point to that, that you're comparing it to, and then it's sort of always diluted in that sense. It's never really as vivid as that first time that you have that experience. And so I think if you take a step back and look at the overall media ecosystem, the media is essentially a giant machine. It's just kind of like trying to sift through all this direct experience of the news and information, and they're kind of sifting it down and they're giving you just like a very short soundbite of what someone said that could or could not be preserved with that original context. I think the beauty of the podcasting medium is that I'm able to give you a direct transmission of somebody's ideas and you get your own personal alabeness with that person and what they're thinking about. And you're able to make your own decisions about where you agree or disagree with them and you know, at the end, I'm able to give you my own personal subjective interpretation of what you just heard. It's kind of like my far home and you are calibrated with who I am and where I stand on different issues. And the more authentic that I can be in that transmission, then the more that you're able to listen to me and then be able to get a lot of information about a certain topic. And so I kind of see the podcasting medium right now kind of rising in prominence, both in the tech sphere, but also in the larger political sphere as well. And To me, I was just really struck when Jen was talking about this post-World War I time period in the Weimar Republic when they were just in shell shock and all the rules had been changed. They had gone through trench warfare and they had this direct lived experience of that and it just felt like a new world where the only thing that people could really trust is their direct sensory experience of something and not really trusting what other people were saying about it. they are far hung of all the past traditions and mythological stories that were being told no longer were true or helpful in trying to model reality. And I kind of feel like we're in a transition stage like that. And I think there's a political context to that. But I also think that there's a very real technological foundation to that, that I've been referring to as this shift from the information age to the experiential age. And so VR kind of represents this technology for people to go have some sort of direct primary sensory experience about different topics. It's still on some level a far-hung, and they're going to have to go out and still have their own direct experience of the content, either from the people or just out in the world. I think personally, Jen is absolutely right in saying that perhaps there does need to be a third term to describe that. And part of the reason why I say that, if we look at Google Earth, for example, Google Earth is basically like a snapshot of the Earth. It's not the actual Earth. The actual Earth is like dynamic and it's changing moment to moment. And Google Earth is basically this composite photograph from like three different perspectives, from like satellites, airplanes, and street view, stitching it all together across a variety of different times. And so that is like living inside of a photograph. And that's a lot different than actually having the direct lived experience. You can get a taste of it. It's like in a Fahung that is Very convincing because it's tricking your mind into believing that you're having a labeness of that earth But I don't think you're actually gonna have a direct lived experience of that until you actually go to that place on the earth That's true for Google Earth. I am willing to believe that at some point there's gonna be some VR experiences that are only unique and only possible within VR and and that you're going to have an Erlebnis experience within that. And that's some of the other things that Jen was talking about in this interview is that there's going to be ways of kind of breaking the laws of physics and showing you things that you were not even believing was possible. And it's going to like shower your worldview in the moment because you're going to be tricked into believing that you're actually present. And then it's going to be this repository of kind of virtual Erlebni that is allowing us to then bring that back into earth and to make our minds a little bit more flexible and pliable to perhaps be open to a variety of different possibilities of what's real and what's not real. So, that's all that I have for today. Thank you for going on this deep philosophical dive into the semantics of experience from the German perspective of Erlebnis and Erfrahung. I'd love to hear any feedback from people and what other different thoughts they have about some of these different ideas. And yeah, I just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast. And if you enjoy the podcast, then please do tell your friends, spread the word. And your donations really do make a huge difference that enable me to continue to do this type of coverage for you. So if you want to see that continue, then please do go to patreon.com slash Voices of VR. Thanks for listening.

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