Drop taste, add uncertainty.

Halfway through the first day of my drop one, add one experiment, and already it’s thrown up some interesting observations. For instance, did you know that plain milk is reeeeally boring? And I can taste the fat in it. (I drink full-cream milk because low-fat usually makes me want to spit it out and make horrible faces to help get rid of the taste.) I only had a small glass of it, but I think it’s going to be a chore to drink a proper amount of milk this weekend.

Pura milk’s calcium calculator reckons I should be drinking two and a half glasses of milk a day. The Victorian Government’s Better Health milk page recommends 250ml, i.e a quarter of a litre. Even when I’m remembering to drink my hot chocolate and milk with chocolate topping, I don’t think I regularly drink enough. This NineMSN article about the best milk suggests that when Vitamin D is added to milk it can reduce the amount of milk required by up to a glass. The body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium and I take Vitamin D supplements on my doctor’s recommendation because I’m slightly deficient (perhaps not a bad thing, as Vitamin D comes from sunlight, so at least I’m probably not at risk of skin cancer). Perhaps I could therefore get by with two glasses a day. Either way, it’s clear I’ll have to drink more milk more regularly, so I should persist with trying it boring and sugar-free!

(My first glassof plain milk since I was a kid. Little did I know the insipidness of taste awaiting me. Even my eighteen-month-old nephew likes to ask for milo in his milk.)

I began my attempt to broaden my horizons by reading the newspaper.

(See, this is me, smiling at you, as I prove I really did at least pick up a newspaper.)

Unfortunately, The Age on a Saturday is a pretty daunting prospect…

The idea of this weekend’s addition is to push myself to explore things that I wouldn’t normally explore – not just because I don’t get around to it, but because they are things that are unfamiliar to me or I don’t find interesting. So, I tackled the main section of the paper and read about (among other things) a Reserve Bank of Australia corruption scandal (really quite appalling!), the Victorians of the Year (which taught me some begrudging respect for Father Bob), and the Archibald Prize exhibition in the Yarra Valley (Woohoo! I might get to see it wen I go to the Yarra Valley with friends at the end of the week). By this stage, I’d got to page 3! Clearly, reading almost everything wasn’t going to work, so I decided instead to focus on just the articles that I really wasn’t interested in, on the assumption that if I was really interested in the others, I’d find time to go back and read them later. This got me a fair way into the world news section, where I really began to learn some things (for instance, did you know that Indonesia’s president is Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono? As one of our closest neighbours, I probably should know who their leader is!). Most world news is actually quite interesting (unless, I’m sorry to say, it’s to do with America and the war in Afghanistan or America and the frickin’ election that’s still a year away).

During all this reading, I noticed something: As soon as I have got some information on a topic, I start to form an opinion on it – Do I like it? Is it good or bad? Should I approve of it? Should we keep it or get rid of it? Our brains do naturally evaluate things in the world around us in order to make sense of the world and figure out what is safe and dangerous, but I wondered if it was really essentail that I make a decision about who the best party was in the Thai election, for instance. Do I need to fall on one side or the other for every topic?

During our recent series of lectures on Cultural Psychology at uni this semester, we learned about the Analytic (Western) and Holistic (Eastern) cognitive styles. People from a Holistic cultural background are generally much more comfortable with finding merit in contrary viewpoints. It seems highly likely that my Analytic cultural background has influenced me to automatically analyse information in front of me and try to form a logical evaluation of it. Life is often complicated and contradictory and in most cases whether I have an opinion or not will have no effect on anything. I think it would be beneficial to practice not always having to have an answer and being able to embrace the uncertainty of simultaneously holding opposite viewpoints. After all, different and challenging viewpoints is what this weekend’s addition is all about.

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About Zaiene

Life is large and I am small. Filled with over-complicated thoughts and little tendency towards action, this is me, doing the best I can right now.
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