Published: October 5th 2008October 5th 2008
Drinking coffee is one of the few remaining vices that I will admit to openly. I tell people that I don’t really like the taste, that it is just a delivery system for sugar and caffeine. Those two essential elements prop up my existence, and I would be a wrinkled shell of a man without them. Forget the vitamins and nutrients and pour me a cup please.
In truth I love the flavor of coffee, and I was surprised to find that it does not taste better in Mexico. Naively I imagined that living closer to the source of the beans in South America, the coffee would be that much fresher and vibrant. Another example of innocence lost, my naivety exposed as simple ignorance to the world outside my usual existence. Thinking more clearly on the subject now, if my logic were to hold true, living in Detroit should mean I would have a nicer car. Obviously that is not the case in the world economy.
Both coffee beans and cars can come from just about anywhere that climate and facilities allow. No longer do products have to spend months on the Silk Road or the Triangle of Trade to reach their destination and the hungry consumers awaiting their arrival. They are flash frozen at sea or processed and packaged at the origin of their growth and whisked to the waiting mobs overnight. As always pirates are still a problem at sea and laptops are now the new ambush.
In my hotel room, the maids replenish my coffee supply every day with a self-contained filter packet of Senor Coffee, with brewing instructions in four languages. Since I will drink more than the four cups it provides on each weekend day, I have an auxiliary supply purchased from the local market. It tastes just like the coffee I get at home. So why did I think it would be different?
The answer is simple. Any gap in knowledge must be filled. If facts are not available then half-truths will do nicely, and full truth can be extracted from half-truth in a few milliseconds. If half-truths are not available, imagination can be used to plug the holes, to make sure my head does not implode. There must be no gaps. The pressure from the outside must be resisted by an equal pressure from the inside. Not greater or less, just equal.
Will there be enough room in my head for real truth when it is realized, or will I stubbornly hold on to my misconceptions as truth, especially if the truth is uncomfortable, inconvenient or unfamiliar? Is it better to hang on to false notions than admit a misconception? It would certainly be easier, but I cannot. Change is something I do not tolerate well, so I embrace change to develop my character. Accepting change means that it is quite possible I may have been wrong about something. To me that is worse than change, being an overly self-critical perfectionist with a tendency toward an enlarged ego. So I try to find the truth and displace my false notions with reality. It takes some time, as the truth is not always clearly evident. First there must be comprehension, next comes acceptance and then conviction.
A lesson can be learned from my experience. Let there be few blank spots in your mind, and fill them up with truth as you discover it. It is easier to fill a hole than to dig one up and refill it, as twice the work is required for the digging and filling, and there may be rocks.