Recording versus Experiencing

Is what I'm experiencing now worth living or should I spend the time recording instead?

I've struggled with this a lot.  Do I experience the moment, running the risk that my volatile memory will fail to maintain the experience, or do I record it, running the risk of not really experiencing it?  And what value is the recall of the experience, anyway?

Taking photos while traveling is a great example.  Most tourists love taking photos, as if somehow reproducing existing photographs but with a much lower quality camera and much less skill and aesthetic sense served any purpose whatsoever.  They see the objects they are photographing through the lens of the viewfinder (or, even worse – I get chills – a 2.5" LCD screen) which is no different than sitting in front of their computer at home and looking at images on Google.  They don't experience these objects; they don't experience being in their presence.

I've traveled a bit and the best experiences I've had were those that I didn't take pictures of.

Most people have this irrational romanticized idea of going through all the pictures they ever took when they are sixty-five, with their grandchildren on their lap.  First of all, most of the pictures people take are crap; why on Earth other people, especially those two generations away from us would be interested in seeing them at all baffles me.  We'll likely never see them ourselves either; and again, if we do, we need many fewer to trigger those great memories.

Ultimately, I have settled for some 5-95% split between recording and experiencing.  It's useful to write down a few bullet points to maybe expand on the idea in the future: in fact, most of the posts on this blog came from short phrases I wrote down for my future self to discover and think about further.  But the value of the experience, even if it is only a fleeting, present value, is immense.  When I'm sixty-five, I'll be happy remembering the fact that I've experienced so much, even if the individual experience have long been lost in the darkness of my fading memory.