Tuesday, 19 November 2013

People are like Cheese – Different colours, flavours, sizes, textures and some more mature than others.

People are like Cheese – Different colours, flavours, sizes, textures and some more mature than others.

I am someone who likes to speak, think and see in analogies. I am inwardly awakened with metaphors, similes and symbols. I think this is due to the religious influences in my childhood such as the Biblical parables attributed to Jesus and after my conversion to Islam, the many parables found in the Qura'n. But it also maybe because I am easily confused with words and my child-like mind is more comfortable with pictures.

As human beings, we learn how to see a picture before we can construct a sentence or understand it. Words can give accuracy and clarity but a picture can make us see something more in context and gives us more than one dimension to a reality.

An analogy allows us to see a concept by means of representing it with something more familiar or easier to digest. We can tailor the presentation of an idea to a particular audience. By a common thread we link the reality to its analogical equivalent so we derive an underlying lesson.

However, an allegory or parable is also a sophisticated means of exposition, as unlike defining something specifically and narrowly by explicit words, an allegorical representation opens the audience to think. This opens the field of exploration, reflection, commentary and interpretation. It can allow for more discussion and deeper derived principles. Another sophisticated use of allegory is that its inherent cryptic nature allows it to be communicated esoterically to an enlightened audience while concealing its meaning from the majority who do not think deeply and who do not study widely. Ambiguity can be a cloak for the conveyor and an encrypted message to those of sophisticated vision.

I am now beginning to regret that this analysis of the mysterious and intellectual topic of analogies has been placed into an article that I have entitled 'People are like cheeses...' But I don't plan these articles, I have seedling ideas and let them grow on their own as I type.

So now onto cheese and people. When I was younger, I didn't like many cheeses, I found the blues and green veins and hard rinds unappealing and the considered mould in food repulsive. I didn't like the idea of something strong, bitter or with unfamiliar colours. I stayed away from even trying such cheeses when I was younger. But then again, such cheeses were not eaten by the adults in my house to my knowledge. By the way, the cheeses in that photograph are Mature Cheddar, Sage Derby, Blue Shropshire, Chaource and Bavarian Blue Brie.

If I look back to my taste in people, then I am not sure whether it was wider or narrower. I know my preference in women back in those days was a lot narrower. Now as long as they can be scientifically verified as female and technically alive, there is a good chance they might meet my criteria. Some call that a maturing appreciation of diverse attributes, while others wrongly classify it as desperation, but then again, a desperate and deluded person might say that.

I am certain that my appreciation of many things has increased greatly as I have grown older. I remember being dismissive of many things as a youngster. Some tastes I had back then I can not even understand. Some things I turned away from in my past that I would accept with much enthusiasm and excitement today. I guess back then I was like a bland cheese with little taste and texture, but perhaps a shiny new shell or maybe it was just plastic packaging choking me and blurring my vision.

One thing is clear, it takes all sorts to make a world. Variety prevents us from boredom and we learn different things from meeting different people even if we differ with and dislike some of them.

And among His signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth

and the differences in your languages and colours.

Verily in that are signs for those who know.”

(QURA'N ar Room [The Romans] 30:22)

My taste in cheese has changed dramatically as I have 'grown up'. I am now excited to try cheeses of varying colour, taste, texture, process, origin and maturity. When I am tasting such cheeses I can pretend I am a connoisseur, raising my standards by raising my tastes. Perhaps I see that in widening the vision in one issue it encourages the vision to be expanded in all issues. If I can elevate my class in cheese then I can elevate my my class in general, the cheese being a microcosm of life itself.

An interesting thing about cheese is that it suffocates in plastic, a manufactured, chemical, unnatural covering damages it. The cheese deteriorates quickly, People also deteriorate quickly if they are not allowed to breathe, if they wear a false shell or if an unnatural environment suppresses them. When we are forced to be other than ourselves outwardly our real inward self can become estranged, lost or diminished.

Some cheeses are hard and some are soft. Some people are soft, giving way to all pressures around them and some people are hard, no flexibility and only breaking if the situation doesn't fit their shape.

In one respect people are not like cheese. How many people can you rely on? How many people do you know who you can trust in all the most important areas? We live in a time of many people accepting the norms that have been artificially manufactured and not too many people opposing the trend. Most people are happy to go along and support those ideas and mechanisms that enslave us all and contribute to much misery.

This is the state of most of the people, a lie can not sustain itself, it needs people to initiate, carry, maintain and distribute it along with a whole load of people to believe it, that is, if it is one of those dominant lies. Cheeses on the other hand, you can rely on most of them to be cheese and most of them are quite good, even if we have our different preferences concerning them. But I am not a cheese expert and I do have an accommodating view, so perhaps an expert cheese maker could tell us that most cheeses are not that good. He may tell us that the vast majority of cheese that is consumed is mass manufactured, cheaply made, characterless, tasteless and only produced due to the low standards of the masses who maintain its demand. Or without putting direct blame on the masses, the low quality cheese is all the impoverished can afford in an economy where they are forever in debt to a few people they have not seen, while they themselves do all the work so that a few people can eat expensive artisan cheese. It seems that we get the cheese we deserve just as we get the society we deserve. If we have immature ideas and judgements then the results will be like one big immature cheese, not holding its shape and melting quite easily.

Another way in which this the cheese may mimic the masses is that so much cheese ends up wasted and in the garbage. But an immature cheese is nowhere near as distasteful and detrimental as an immature person.

A'bdullah ibn U'mar reported that the Prophet Muhammad said

People are like a hundred camels

among which you hardly find any suitable camel to ride.”


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