Baking is all about chemistry. It really starts from finding the perfect hard preferably one that doesn’t break the bank. Then it leads up to unpacking it, seasoning the oven’s heating elements, giving the mixer a test spin.
What excites me most, is the browsing of books for ideas. I am enchanted by the various basic creaming methods, the science of balance between the 3 basic ingredients: eggs, flour, sugar. Various ratios, various temperatures, so many permutations.
Baking is a performance. The construction, the mixing and assembling of ingredients is deceptively and commonly assumed to be the “rehearsals” before the main show where the confectionery hits the shelves. Oh, what does one know about the years of trail and error, the wisdom of knowing the caramel’s temperature just by it’s colour, the play and combination of taste and colour. The actual show is really the execution of such knowledge during the baking session, the ground work of techniques and practice, like a concert, showcases when the baking process starts.
It’s all about chemical reactions. Baking, like music, is when strict method and scientific understanding meets artistic freedoms.
How do we know whether the red you see is the red I see? How do you know that what I call “warm” is what you experience as warm?
I suppose we cannot ever tell what each other feels, or how does it feel to have a million lens like flies since we won’t ever have the physique is one.
Perhaps, the problem on the human level can be easily speed through music and still art.
The reason we so desperately seek to paint what we see, is to show others what our mind’s eye see, to share our inner qualia. Music, sound the same to you and I, when we play in tune and in harmony. It’s the absolute pinnacle of matching you’re qualia with mine, and we CAN be sure that what you hear is what I hear, yet paradoxically we can derive different interpretations of it deep within our emotions.
I don’t suppose qualia can be tested, but it can definitely be shared and expressed, albeit in limited avenues.
Excerpt from Boiling a Frog by Christopher Brookmyre.
Sarah was a resourceful and some might say formidable woman - but he didn’t want her to have to.
And he had made promises. Obligations. If he wanted to marry her, then that meant he had to want to always be there for her. Doing something that could get himself killed or imprisoned would suggest otherwise. But that wasn’t it either.
It was this: he could feel her fear of his death. A coldness, an emptiness, chasmic and desolately lonely. A fear like none he had ever known.
He could feel how she would miss him. In the past, when he was contemplating his next recklessness he hadn’t considered even how his parents would miss him if he died; he knew they’d be sad, but… In a relationship based so much upon his needs of them, he hadn’t appreciated that there were ways in which they needed him. In fact he had never appreciated that there were ways in which anyone needed him -
not like that.
He felt how there was something he gave Sarah that she could never replace if he was gone. A preciousness she could not bear to lose, and that he must do all he could to protect.
In short, he sensed the receipt of his own love, and it was a revelation far more devastating and unexpected than anything he had ever splashed across a front page.
“Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times? As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells… and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower… both strange and familiar.”—Cornelia Funke, Inkspell (via 10paperoceans)
An example of my ideas why you don’t die after your body does.
“Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me. I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it.”—
“Pluto is interesting because it’s fixed on its moon, Charon, and they rotate around each other, constantly staring at each other affectionately, which is kind of a beautiful metaphor but I think that’s one of the reasons why it was demoted. Because I think now to be a proper planet you have to command the authority of others and because the moon and Pluto are sort of existentially attached as equals neither of them can be considered a planet. [Pauses] Sad, but true.”—
When we think of change, we don’t often associate it with being bad, often change is a misnomer for “improvement”. Specifics of vocabulary aside, there’s absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t assume so, especially when we’re unhappy with our present situation and position. Any change must therefore be a positive one if things are already at their seemingly lowest point.
Yet, false promises and hopes can make your present position seem worse than they actually are. New products on the market often sell us the illusion that your old model is not as good as the present. Often this is true, since improvements are what sells.
My point is that we need to question the assumption we have when we say “change”. I’m not convinced that every change is positive, sometimes we’re exchanging one set of shackles for another.
One might be frustrated about questioning all the time, and that questioning leads us to no answers. Quest-ion-ing: the process of, or in quest for answers. It’s not about getting answers, but the search for the path of one. Therefore questioning our assumptions helps us avoid the paths of answers that might create more harm than good. We shouldn’t stop at questioning or else we’ll just be criticising and there’s no merit of action in that.
Perhaps change is simply a necessary side effect as we look for answers, and for those impatient to deal with contemplation, a way to vent their erroneous visions. A shroud and a smokescreen, it hides what is truly happening within. Change is good -for whom?
Today’s Singapore is known for its small size (it is a city-state), its role as a major east Asian port, its high quality education, and its restrictions on certain freedoms. In the 1960s, however, Singaporean leaders did not want to be independent at all; what…
What does it mean when we say we help someone? It effect is very straightforward, where we help so as to make the other party feel/live better. It can range from small deeds of picking up a tissue for a friend, or the passion for helping those in sickness, or creating a system where we are able to make a village get out of poverty.
I don’t suppose one questions the goodness about helping others. However, we have similarly recognised that the effect of help is not 100% positive. What does foreign aid mean, when it’s tied to ideology. For instance, to receive aid, countries in Thailand during the 1997 Asian Financial crisis have to be forced to enact liberal reforms that caused more harm than good because IMF prosits that all forms of liberal markets to be good. Yet we know that markets do fail. On the other hand while an NGO may dig wells to help the villagers so that they do not need to travel for miles for water, they invariably cause soil salinisation which rendered farms useless.
My question about aid/help is a personal one. It extends from the assumption of goodwill. What does it mean to us, when we extend our help to others? I can think of 3 reasons
1) We help others because we sympathise or feel pity Yet, by feeling pity for someone, aren’t we placing ourselves in a position of higher power? Who are we to judge that the person requires our pity and our aid? If we start from this position, then the help-ee will thus find legitimate reason to rely on the help-er. This forms what can be seen as a messiah-complex: where you gain legitimacy to your power because of the deeds you do for others. In this case, this is simply an exercise of power over someone’s will.
2) We help others because we feel good When we help someone because we ultimately feel good about it, then wouldn’t that stem from a very self-interested vantage point? Would one still help others if the act no longer feels good? Does a social worker quit because he/she no longer finds fulfilment in helping her clients? People are as fickle as the weather and therefore if we were to base humanity entirely on the goodwill of others, we would have died out long ago.
3) We help others because we want something in return The last one is often frowned upon. Quid pro quo is often ranked to be the least worthy of mention. Most people see it as a transaction, rather than ‘altruism’. Yet I feel that this is the type of ‘help’ that gets things done. While we may not admit it, but most often in our personal relationships, we try to help others so that we can show our affection for them, or to also gain their affection.
So how do we resolve the issue of help/aid?
I guess the issue is that while it starts from the “I”, it can also end with the “I”. We should not pretend that we’re helping others because of our goodwill, indeed such a form of altruism can be easily tested and many are uncomfortable in saying or admitting that they are actually not 100% altruistic. I think it’s perfectly normal and while the best of us try to be ‘good’ and help others, we are also fallible. We don’t have to be ashamed for feeling less that perfect, we’re not gods.
So how do we then resolve this dilemma? I think admission that you’re helping for personal gain is the start. Yet this gain need not me something that is breeds negativity. Instead, we can see that helping others as helping ourselves. We instead of telling ourselves that we can show them a better way (1) as a gesture of sympathy, or to do something so that we feel good about ourselves in return (2) or to simply gain merit, we help because we know that we can learn more about ourselves at the end of the process.
It sounds like a conclusion we are familiar with and one wonders why bother wasting precious time reading through. If you have slept well, all this time without doubting whether what you feel or do is conscientiously “good” or “bad”, then I am sorry to have wasted your time. However, if you’re like me who have this constant nagging feeling - whether you’re bringing more harm and good by helping others, then I hope this little article have brought some resolution.
I think that humanity is capable of evil under the veil of good, as well as good under the veil of evil. We don’t necessary read minds or hearts, but we can read actions and while we’ve always thought that ‘help’ as something that is good in and of itself, where it stems from is equally if not more important that the present act. I guess the implications for writing so is so that we remain humble in our actions towards others, and through the example of “helping others”, I hope to send a message that our good intentions may not always have the best outcome if we do not complete the cycle and understand that by helping others, we are in fact helping and learning more about ourselves. In the end, one might realise that the one most helped, is in fact the “I”.