“Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced — even a proverb is no proverb to you until your life has illustrated it.”
What exactly does Keats mean by this? Or perhaps, in what sense does he mean this? Surely we can’t all have all experiences. Does this mean that we’re limited to only our own experiences? Surely not? On the other hand, there are a lot of things that I “know” because I’ve read about them or heard about them. But then — through a trip, an encounter, a book, a song, a scent, a taste, yes, an experience — suddenly that thing takes on a totally different kind of reality. I recognize that it is no longer simply words or thoughts or ideas, it has become really REAL for me. But what is that about?
So, Yes or No to the poet? I can vote both ways, depending on my mood, the weather, the season, what happened to me yesterday or what’s on the calendar for next week. But if I find it so puzzling, then I’m really curious —
What do YOU think? What makes something real to you? Or is it sufficient that it IS to make something real?
Or do you, like Hamlet or Eliza Doolittle, scorn all this as Words, Words, Words? Not me. I look forward to this conversation —