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Fugu fish and good apples

apples connissieur fugu fish J.K Galbraith Marxism Milton Friedman Plato

Truly great.  Why am I still talking about this?

Today it seems that everyone is not only entitled to their opinion, but there opinion is given equal weight with everyone else.  I suppose this derives somewhat from our democratic origins and culture of one man one vote, all equally weighted.

When I was first going to college, the temptation of the leftist viewpoint was strong, as there is implicit in the Marxist dogma that the “vanguard of the Proletariat” will be the “intelligentsia.  Since we college kids were obviously the “intelligentsia”, it stood to reason that we would get the cushy jobs and we would be in charge of deciding what is good for everyone.  Supporting this viewpoint was good old Plato and his postulate of the philosopher king.

I started early on having a lot of doubts about all of this, while most of my classmates were drinking the cool aid.  As a sop to the conservative economic philosophy, we were given a very thin book by Milton Friedman to read.  The rest of the reading was all by the likes of John Kenneth Galbraith and his ilk.  I remember Galbraith’s lack of faith in private business.  How he postulated that the emerging business style would be a mix of private and public.

It is no wonder that during the 70’s our economy was in the doldrums with this kind of doctrine and coupling that with the strife of the Vietnam War, the hippie movement, etc.  It was a tough time to believe in your political or economic system.  And a belief system underpins action.

However, an enquiring mind like mine kept studying long after I graduated from college and the more I thought about things, the more I could see that there are reasons why a word means the same thing to most people.  Just starting with a word, we can see that there is an objective something; out there that everyone recognizes is described by that word.  Black is black and white is white.  Are there gradations in all of this?   Of course there are and these are described by words also.

So a mushy apple, it is agreed by most, is not a good apple.  Leaving an apple on the tree too long, or not refrigerating it immediately after picking, will result in a mushy apple.  However, there are some subtle exceptions to this.  Leaving an apple on the tree a little late in the season, couple with really cool weather, will result in apples which while not mushy, will start converting to water core, which is a sweetness, but also a discoloration in the core of the apple.  Some of us like that taste.

It is like the knife edge of enjoyment of the fugu fish eater, who tastes a little tiny bit of the poison, that lightens his head, but which in heavy doses would kill him.  That is why a fugu fish chef must have special training in preparing these delicacies and where connoisseurs of these fish, may request the chef to leave a touch of poison on the fish, so that they can get the sensation of dancing close to death, usually with a large dose of sake thrown in for good measure.

Boy, how did we get out in left field with this topic?  And how does this relate to my topic of objectivity, in case you weren’t aware that there was a theme to all of this.  I’m starting to sound like Montaigne, and get as wordy as him.



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