Sunday, May 2, 2010

Candy Logics

Candy changed my world.

I am eating Shockers, previously known as Shock Tarts, made by the Wonka Company. They are sharp, acidic , and not actually food. I can consume them at a rapid pace, my tongue calls out for them, and they have rapidly improved my day. The little lopsided circles are made of a soft chewy material that breaks down with a few sloppy bites. Once swallowed my stomach heaves and little receptors start adjusting the acid levels, or just allow the risen levels to eat away at my lining. Meanwhile in my mouth, the PH has risen to dangerous levels turning it into an acid bath that eats away at my enamel. The teeth however are not afraid, most are filled with metal and have endured this before.

This is my first candy purchase in a long time, and I have spent many hours in the dentist chair from my frequent sugar binges in adolescence. Or so I thought.

I have pitted teeth. What this boils down to is that each tooth in my mouth is indented in an uneven way that allows food to hang out even after brushing, allowing for cavities to grow and sprawl. This is not to say that I disavow responsibility for my cavities. Spending my high schol years gargling a case of Mountain Dew a night while playing Xbox and then falling asleep at dawn without having brushed, is more likely the cause than my enamel geography.

Getting to the point:

I do however want to use this idea to talk briefly about world view by asking a what if question. What if I was a diligent brusher and avoider of candies and still got cavities? Or only ate candy once without the knowledge of my pitted teeth, and soon after that went to a dentist who lacked appropriate bedside manner, and blamed candy for it? I would undergo a great change… Morphed into a traveling street preacher howling on the edge of pre-schools about the evils of candy, I would descend into a great misery with the mouths of the populace weighing on me.

Our biology/body composition, and in a larger context, our geography and access to resources (Not a New Idea) play on our perception of the world. The very construction of our bodies has shaped the way our world has developed. Our binocular vision, our bi-pedal bodies, the fragility of our skeletons and bodies, all impact the way we interact with the world. There have been many arguments about our flesh that I’ll skip here, but I bring it up because we take our senses and bodies as sources of objective truth as certainties, when they cane easily be manipulated and lie to us.

Mind Expansion:

In China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station there are characters of different species that have a more ambient vision of the world, they are able to take in more of a space at once but lose many specifics like text.I think also of stories of the enlightened present at the death of Buddha who said they saw the sky a swarm with Technicolor Lotus Flowers. Or the limited range of sound and light our human senses have access to. Each reveals our myopic experience with the world and keeps me wanting to liberate myself and experience this brighter world (Acid Test).

Box Logics:

But then I think of another option, instead of searching the cosmos and my cerebellum for this greater world, what if I accepted the constraints of this box? We are encouraged often to think "Outside the Box", but if I accept this box, these constraints can encourage creativity. This is especially so when we accept that we are taking part in the construction of aforesaid box. In this abiding Box Logic, I would be pushed to new levels of creativity, and would have to take proper index of my unique experiences with full knowledge that they are only a small portion of existence. Getting my mind into the box is the difficulty.

Focus is the new challenge for my generation and those forth coming. Filtering information, constructing the box, and operating within it are our new challenges, our new mission. Since industrializing we have spent our time tailoring the world to fit our perspective and needs, but what if we attempted to live in context with it? Instead of expansion we focused on efficiency? I’m not trying to change the world. Spinning my intellectual wheels is easy; living in peace, accepting the world around me, and trusting my fellow Earth inhabitants to do their part is the difficulty.

I chose curiosity over cynicism.

In the meantime I am going to finish my Shockers, really Shock Tarts are the better name, and brush my teeth when I get home.


  1. Your argument is so refreshing and relevant for a society to which deficiencies in its ability to live within its means have increasingly been revealed! Our efforts tend more towards expanding beyond the confines of spaces we live in, than defining, understanding and adapting our own behavior to those "confines." It is obviously sweet (and I encourage) to pursue creativity by pushing the limits outward...I mean who doesn't want to keep garbling milkshakes and popping krispy kremes thanks to delicious beverages that trim your tummy and BLAST (sounds scary) your abs?

    BUT, I often find our "moremoremore, have now and defer costs to later" attitude really dangerous. In the extreme, we often make choices with the hopes that technology will bring us a solution for them by the time we must reap their consequences. My friends have joked about drinking diet pop (or other beverages containing aspertame...linked to cancer) and how the deities of "SCIENCE" will have provided a cure for any aspertame related cancers by the time those biological, tumor-laden processes kick in. We've learned to outsource our responsibility for our own personal health to technological innovation and science. YIKES.

    Not only does our personal health often come at a cost when these breakthroughs fail to deliver, but what human cost is there to this general approach to life? I mean, what costly relationship do we develop with our body and our self in consciously choosing to satisfy certain known unhealthy cravings and desires (be it food, drugs, whatever...I don't necessarily condone the substance, just how we relate to them) over choosing to give ourselves good things and experiences? There is an oft-neglected creativity in learning to accept and adhere to certain limitations...and it is obviously complicated!

    But I think you make a good point in encouraging innovation and box expanding efforts, while also understanding that sometimes limitations must be recognized and adapted to. :)

  2. ps. keep the blogs coming :)

  3. Well said Jules, and thank you :) Dependence on and desire for quick fixes is rampant, and certainly not. The advent of modern medicine promised panacea with amazing drugs like Heroin and Cocaine, which seemed to have limitless applications. Work will always be work, but even with that knowledge we are always quick to try and find ways around it.

    . Living within our means is our greatest challenge. We have the greatest access to more. It is easier to enforce behaviors of instant gratification and laziness. Our relationship to science is indeed a tricky one, personal responsibility is at a low in many of our peers, but will be the force that drives the change we need.

  4. I could go on for hours about that, but in the interest of time I say well said. One side comment: Isn't it ironic that the Quick fixes often require more difficult time consuming solutions in the long term? also couldn't help but think of "Quick Fixx" at EMU. Nice how we encourage that attitude in Higher Ed.