All of the scientist bones in my body cringe at the title of this post. Nevertheless, this is an idea that I came to appreciate as I walked in downtown LA this morning.
I was thinking about a scene from Jet Li’s Fearless. The Japanese fighter, whom we shall call Japan, was having tea with Jet Li’s character, whom we shall call Jet Li. Japan asked, “Do you know anything about tea?” to which Jet replied, “No I do not. I understand there are many kinds of tea, but to me, it is all just tea.”
Japan said, “But the different kinds of tea each have different character, different effects and flavors.”
Jet said, “That may be so, but studying the tea in detail ruins the experience of the tea. I prefer to appreciate the tea for what it is.”
This exchange came to mind because I was thinking about what it would be like to know everything about food. I came to think that I could seldom enjoy food, because I would always be analyzing it’s shortcoming. The analysis would also dull the excellences of the food, since that is what I would come to expect.
I guess the point is that to appreciate some things, I have to take it for what it is in that moment rather than analyzing and comparing. I have to embrace my ignorance for the full experience.
In many cases, the opposite is true. Sometimes knowing a lot about something helps you appreciate it more. It gives a sort of sensitivity neglected by novices.
So, I suppose I will keep alert as to what things I should appreciate in full without analysis and what things I should learn more about to gain greater sensitivity. Or are these actions mutually exclusive? How can I tell?