So after my slump through January and most of February 2010, this past week I was reading a book called One Paradise Drive by David Brooks. He normally writes for the New York Times and appears on PBS regularly. I normally like what he says. He typically says things I would say about various issues. But most of all he is a people watcher and able to describe American culture quite articulately. He is not anti-American. I actually get more patriotic when I read what he says about American culture. But at the same time he is able to look at the American culture objectively.
Here is what he wrote,
We are influenced, far more than most of us admit, by some longing for completion, some impulse to heaven. . . the possibility of a magical conversion process. By mastering the skills . . . I will be able to transform my present caterpillar self into the shimmering butterfly that is the future me.
The context of this quote is David talking about all the various magazines with pictures on their covers with perfect people, perfect houses, perfect cars, perfect foods, perfect everything. Studies have shown that most people will buy magazines of things that they can identify with, but show images of people and things that are a little more perfect than they. So the basic marketing thought is to dangle a carrot in front of people promising a more perfect and improved version of themselves. Then people will buy it.
As I have been experimenting and tasting different coffees, I have been trying to find the secret even a tried and true method to develop a fine and discerning palate. I want to distinguish between floral, fruity, nutty, chocolaty, earthy coffees. I don’t think the goal is unrealistic or too ambitious, but I think in the process I have stumbled upon a little hidden childhood demon. This little demon is just a little nagging thought that incites fear and insecurity. What is my little thought demon? “Others are better than you. They are bigger, stronger, smarter, more sophisticated, and have a more discerning palate than you!”
Here is the insidious nature of this thought demon. It comes with a lie, “But don’t worry. I’ll help you get better. I’ll make you a better person. If you try harder, work harder, and find the magic solution, you will be as good as they.” I know I’m getting a little philosophical and introspective. But uncovering this little thought demon has enabled me to begin my taste journey again.
So what did I do with this little thought demon? I spoke to it, “Little demon, you may have befriended me when I was a little boy. You pretended to me my friend. But I don’t need you or want you anymore. Jesus is my friend, and I know He strikes fear and trembling in you. So leave me alone! You are just being a frustration and a nuisance to me.”
Now I can continue the journey. We were all meant to progress and mature. Road blocks and hindrances should be dealt with as we encounter them one by one. All positive desires are within our reach. Let’s go.