Thursday, January 12, 2012

Striving for Authenticity!

Every day, I see people (usually marketers), that want to promise me some level of experience that is somehow more genuine than experiences I'm already having.I have to be baffled by this. I cannot understand how any experience I'm having can simply be any more genuine than what I'm experiencing at that very moment. My experience is as genuine as it ever needs to be at any time of the day, under any circumstances. Maybe I'm taking this all a little too seriously.

I don't know when this observation about new experiences, genuine experiences, began to wear on me. But, I think there is a conspiracy to convince us, convince me, that there is something inadequate about the world as I perceive it. This makes me a little sad.

I've been known to eat at Taco Bell from time to time, and I'm not ashamed to say that. Still, I have a roommate who says that the food at Taco Bell is not genuine. I'm perplexed by this. My head starts to spend a little bit, and maybe I am drawn into fits of drama. I know that as I consume my nachos bel grande, or chicken chalupas , covered in cheese and Baja sauce, that fast food is bad for me. The experience however, is still extremely genuine. I do not have to ask if this is authentic Mexican food. I just know that the food is authentic. It is what it is. Taco Bell is genuine Taco Bell food. No further authentication is necessary.

Nowadays, people want to suggest that some sugar is more genuine than others. I see cans of Coke now with the phrase "made with real sugar" and I have to ask myself, why is high fructose corn syrup considered any less real than any other sugar. I guarantee you that if I consume any soda with high fructose corn syrup it will elevate my blood glucose as efficiently as any other sugar. What is more real than that?

Every experience of my life is filled with different layers of authenticity. As I once said it is possible to be satisfied drinking coffee, whether it comes from a can of Folgers crystals, Folgers ground coffee, bagged ground coffee from Starbucks, or whole bean coffee that I roast and grind myself. I could spend my entire life trying to find the truest experiences I can find, or I could delight in the nuances of every new experience I have. I never have to ask whether this experience is authentic or not.

I no longer want my view of the world to be sculpted and shaped by its marketers and salespeople. They do what they do to sell things, and as such, have no useful perspective on what the world is like. They only know how they want the world to be.

I love new experiences. I love to learn from new experiences, and as such I suppose my goal was to find that experience that has not been homogenized for broad appeal. I've been led to believe that experiences as simple as reading a book or taking out the garbage could be plumbed for different levels of understanding. Maybe this is why I celebrate ambiguity. Maybe this is why I should continue writing poetry.

For even in this impecunious existence that is been forged for me, I continue to find delight and wonder in the world.

If still you are looking for the ultimate in authentic experiences (I wonder if it becomes like a contest) we could start with something as simple as coffee drinking. Every experience of your life can be brought down to the barest, grittiest details. So, maybe you feel your coffee experience isn't worthy of bragging. Maybe you want some thing that you could really talk about. You've got to the point in your life paying fifty dollars a pound for Jamaican blue Mountain coffee no longer satisfies you. Today I offer you this coffee experience. I've been thinking about getting myself a chance to to offer this as a travel package.

I'll sell you a flight down to Columbia. I will find the genuine Juan Valdez(or someone who looks like him), and you can walk with him as he picks coffee beans by hand, one at a time. Take pictures. Savor the experience. Remember the moments that you spent scraping donkey excrement off your shoes. Then, after a day of collecting coffee beans, you will process those green beans, scrub them, and roast them yourself. Carefully select the perfect grind, and brew your coffee. If you can keep your eyes open long enough to drink the coffee, you'll have a chance to reflect on your efforts to make this possible. You can sip it is you think, " This is a real cup of coffee".

I savor my own experience of heating up eight ounces of water, and ripping open three packets of Cà phê hòa tan, 3 in 1 instant coffee. Delicious!

Thank you for reading.


Santa Cruz Nick said...

I also like Taco Bell, my favorite fast food joint, and the only one on Pacific Ave. (it's kitty cornered from a joint that serves an excellent cheese steak sandwich). All reality is valid, I suppose the only difference is the extent to which the sensations are stimulated. Coffee you grind yourself may not taste better than pre-ground, but the real difference is in how you make it. A French press or drip with a metal filter (gold or stainless steel) makes a better tasting coffee because a paper filter absorbs all the flavorful oils.
And you can never trust anything a marketer says, their job is to sell you. I wish they were still called salespeople, a more apt description. Before that, they were called drummers.

Best Ab Workouts said...

Reminds me of the lawsuit against Coca Cola over vitamin water promoted as a healthy drink which has high fructose sugar - linked to health problems. As it turns out, vitamin water is no more healthier than coke itself. Lawyers defending the lawsuit say "no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage." Yeah, right!

bonsbit said...

Perhaps there are only two truly authentic experiences: birth & death.
But...I'll continue to drink any & all coffee (I want to try your brand) and consider lots of experiences at least semi-authenic. Of course, beignets are definitely authentic.

fredericka said...

you just like promoting coffee at the end. I dont remember the last time drinking coffee. But reading your blog, I will make a cup of coffee cream with real sugar at school tom.