What is the distinction between mere ‘experience’ and ‘an experience’?
Wilhelm Dilthey (a German historian, psychologist, sociologist and hermeneutic philosopher) made a distinction. He saw 'experience' as a temporal flow that is received by individual consciousness. 'An experience' has a beginning and an ending. It is an intersubjective articulation, transformed into an expression* of that experienceª.
* how individual experience is framed and articulated
ª how reality presents itself to consciousness
BRUNER, E.M. (1986) Experience and Its Expressions. In: V.W. TURNER & E.M. BRUNER, ed(s). The Anthropology of Experience. Chicago: University of Illinois, pp3-30.