Monday, April 26, 2021

Rant: Experience More, Learn More

"You can and should be interested in everything, the Stoics taught, because you can and should learn wisdom from everything. The more you experience, the more you learn, and, paradoxically, the more humbled you are by the endless amounts of knowledge that remain in front of you."
--Lives of the Stoics by Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman

When was the last time you learned something new?

About fourteen years ago, when I started The Passionate Foodie blog, I chose not to limit it to a specific aspect of food and drink. I wanted to be a generalist rather than a specialist. I wanted the ability to write about any food and drink topic I desired, allowing me to explore any element which interested me, allowing me the opportunity to learn about a diverse selection of topics. And over these years, I've learned so much, but also have realized how much more exists to know. 

When I find a wine that was produced from a grape new to me, or from a wine region unfamiliar to me, I commonly buy it. When a restaurant opens serving a more unique cuisine, I dine there.  I also commonly spend time researching and learning more about these new wines or cuisines. I see it as an opportunity to expand my horizons. If I enjoy what I find, I may even become an ardent advocate of this new item, encouraging others to experience it too.

I've heard people dismiss an entire category of wine, such as Chardonnay, stating they hate all Chardonnay. How can you do that when the flavor profiles of Chardonnay can vary so much? Maybe you just aren't a fan of oaky Chardonnay, but an unoaked Chardonnay might please you. Or vice versa. If you experience and taste a wider variety of Chardonnay, then maybe you'll realize you don't hate the entire category. The same would apply to someone who states they dislike an entire cuisine, such as Mexican. I'm sure there's dishes in that cuisine that you would enjoy, if you opened your mind. 

Obviously, the quote at the top of this page isn't limited to food and drink. It's intended as a more general philosophical statement, one that is applicable to all aspects of our lives. A number of the problems and disagreements in our society are largely due to ignorance, from people who lack experience and wisdom, who live in their tiny bubbles, isolated from the greater community. They should open their arms to new experiences, to learning from others, and maybe their ignorance, and hate, will lessen or hopefully even vanish.

Life should be a never-ending search for knowledge. It doesn't matter how old you are, there is still so much you can, and should, learn. Open your heart and mind to the world, being willing to have new experiences. Do not fear, avoid or hate what is different from you. Instead, make it a learning opportunity, and gain more wisdom. If you're not learning something new every week, maybe you're doing something wrong. 

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