A Taste of/for Life

Tree on Calkins RoadOK, so I haven’t written here in a long while.  Nobody told me that it was going to be hard to come up with stuff on a regular basis.  And then my sabbatical was over and I was working so much and and and …………  Stop me if you’ve heard this sad story before.  Bottom line: I’m back.

Partly I am writing again because I got a taste for doing this and I liked it.  Also, I’ve been very grateful for the many responses and the support.  So I think I’ll make my re-entry around this whole idea of getting a taste of something.  Taste in this sense is literal, as when we put things in our mouths and have the taste buds and saliva and sensory stuff in there give us an experience.  It is used in various other ways as well: she had great taste in clothes and bad taste in men.  We talk about a taste “of” and a taste “for” something.  We talk about someone being “tasteless” altogether.  In Mob movies they talk about having “a little taste” of the action.  In the literal sense a taste is like a sample of something so that we can know whether we like it or not.  It is the data that tells us whether we want more or not.

It makes me think of Adam and Eve who took a taste of the forbidden fruit.  The standard line about them is that this was a bad thing, that they blew Eden and put us on the road of suffering and limitation and death.  But, I mean, if you could go back there and stop them from taking that first taste would you do it?

I guess what I am getting at is that we are all still faced with the same question:  Do we want to take the risk of living a life that includes the knowledge of good and evil; the life of consciousness and consequenc; or, do we want to stay in our best version of Eden – the comfort zone of the safe and the known and the pre-approved?

Let me put it another way.  I spent most of my life hating tomatos.  I mean really hating them.  How many fundamentalist anti-tomato people do you know.  I am their poster-child.  Then one day my wife basically said, “Try this or else.”  Since I was pretty sure what the “or else” might entail I gave it a try.  I didn’t die.  In fact I have now become a tomato snob who turns up his nose at store-bought tomatos and would much prefer to have the ones we grow in the yard.

The point is that I was totally convinced I would die, and I didn’t.

Yes, I know there are all kinds of things one can try a taste of that are really deadly.  But cut me a little slack here I am just trying to make a point.  When we get so convinced that “tasting” certain things that are outside the known zone, the familiar, the seemingly safe it starts to become a habit.  Pretty soon we become so good at being safe that we forget how to live.  I am not talking particularly about things like sky-diving or bungee jumping per se, but that’s up to you.  I am talking about the immediacy of life that comes when we risk “tasting” something: a new food, new music, new ideas, new people; maybe, just starting to “taste” our feelings and thoughts.  Yes, there are risks involved.  Don’t get me started on eggplant.  But mostly we don’t die.  In fact we may start to expand our appetites.

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9 Comments on “A Taste of/for Life”

  1. Radish Leaf Says:

    “But, I mean, if you could go back there and stop them[Adam and Eve] from taking that first taste would you do it?” Wow, what an engaging question. And I don’t know what I would answer. I think I’d have to go back first and see for myself what was being forfeited: paradise – or lack of self-consciousness? Or are those synonymous?

    Is “paradise” possible for the self-conscious (or even for the Self-conscious)? Was it ever? If it is, I suspect it is no less (and no more) available now than at any time in the existence of humankind.

    • allenkoehn Says:

      Here’s a link that might resonate with you. Do you know much about the bardos in Tibetan Buddhism? Also, look up the book on Amazon and read the two reviews at the bottom. Maybe we need a new way of talking about Paradise – or, a really old one. Thanks, The Rev Dr

  2. becky Says:

    Ahh…the taste of forgotten pleasure. So good to see and taste your words again. The unlocking of our fears through taste is a fun and interesting concept. Instead of dating I should think of it as a taste test challenge, to taste the texture if his words, smell and phermones as they wrap around me. To enter my work space pores open and ready to allow the trust, fear and comroderie of other to sit and be savored before I swish and rinse my pallet. Yes, I like this reciepe! Thank you Allen.

  3. Josh Says:

    It’s a pleasure to have your words back again.

    I know taste has always been a big part of my life as a designer. It’s one of the things that enables me to do what I do. But having taste means that you have to be willing to sample all sorts of goodies to find the ones that work. How can you find the things that resonate, that bring pleasure and truth and clarity to your audience and yourself if you aren’t willing to expose your tender sensibilities to the shock of new experiences? Staying fresh requires staying open. And staying open leads to trust and insight and intimacy. Guess who helped teach me this stuff? Hint: his initials are A.K.

  4. Karen O Says:

    To taste or not to taste, that is your question?
    To taste all that life has to offer
    does that mean to suffer?
    Can I choose to taste only that which is without pain?
    When you bite into a tomato, can you choose to only swallow the seeds without its juice?
    Was your first bite of tomato accompanied by the crack of a whip?
    Will you always walk in the footsteps of Adam and Eve?

    Do you unconsciously refuse to taste new tastes?
    If you knew a new taste was before you, would you try it?
    Do you force yourself to taste new tastes?
    And when you try a new taste does it transform into a cognitive event?
    Or can you remain in the pure realm of taste?
    Whether it be wicked, sweet, juicy, warm, or filled with green slimy boogers,
    whether it be a taste of your friend’s love or anger, do you let yourself taste it fully?
    If the purpose of a taste is to just have a little peck, a morsel to see if we like it or not, than why be afraid?
    If tasting fully is not an imposition, and like the turtle you can instantly hide back under your shell, can you live with the knowledge of the existence of what you have just tasted?

  5. Julie Says:

    When I’m overthinking the menu in the process of deciding what to order, my friend says, “What do your taste buds tell you?”

    So, taste equals impulse plus guidance. And when you really “listen” to your taste buds, you can get a very elemental, and, I’ve found, accurate response.

    Decision made. Simple.

  6. carrie Says:

    Let me be the first to ignore the larger issue altogether and simply shout, “Former tomato haters of the world UNITE!”. Just noticed you had a blog….apparently around the same time you forgot. 🙂

  7. Diana Says:

    I love, “but mostly we don’t die.” I won’t get you started on eggplant.

    Glad to have found your blog.

    This is my favorite poem ever, and happens to be on the subject of Adam and Eve:

    http://guccipiggy.objectis.net/poetry/graham/endofbeauty/portraitgesture

    No, wouldn’t want to stop them from eating the fruit. Too good to find out–mistakes make us whole, and are experiences of themselves, ways of tasting.

    Please keep the blog up.


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