Saturday, July 4, 2015

An Essential Flavor

I am and I remain an advocate for non-centralized value systems; I do not believe that human beings - in general, anyway - have a hierarchy of values with a summum bonum up top that provides value to everything beneath. We have distinct values - competing values. However, I have also noticed that humans have a tendency toward an essential flavor in their values - something that they feel should be present in all their pursuits and experiences lest a feeling of absence be experienced.

This "essential flavor" does not necessarily give the experience its value, but it is something that is sought and expected, and when it is not present it leaves the perceiver feeling as though there is something inadequate. These "essential flavors" seem to take the form of a profound interest or preoccupation and when experiences do not account for this interest or preoccupation the person may feel as though they are a bit distracting.

To illustrate the concept, imagine a mother who can no longer lose herself in anything that does not in some way better her children. Imagine the devout believer who feels dissatisfied when he cannot tie his moment to God. Imagine the addict who no longer enjoys his activities unless he can enjoy them with his substance of choice.

To understand a person's desired essential flavor is one of the quickest ways to see how that person could be given satisfaction or given despair. Remove it from their life and, though their life remains rich, for a time it will darken and become gray without the aspect that they have come to crave. Add it to their lives, and perhaps even the most mundane of activities can be enriched with that special spark that will keep them content in the midst of it.

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