Taken from a Calendar – That just might taste like real beer.

Kate and I have possibly the most interesting calendar on the planet hanging on our wall in the kitchen. The Museum of Lost Wonder: 2009 Calendar by Jeff Hoke. If it’s not the most interesting calendar I’ve ever come across, it certainly ranks in the top three, nipping on the heels of The Museum of Lost Wonder: 2008 Calendar by Jeff Hoke. And his 2007 edition of the same calendar.

Every month there’s a written section that dances around a lovely monthly image and down the sides of the dates. Each month a varying subject, from “How to Have Visions” to “The Meaning of Life”.

I wanted to call to attention the section for the month of April:

What is Reality?
What is reality? You’ve probably asked yourself this question at least once in your life only to dismiss the question for lack of real meaningful conclusions. Is it a dumb question? Sure, but that’s what the museum is all about. Most everyone would concede that reality is what we can see, hear, taste, smell, feel and agree upon.
Many people would perceive this image (an image of a pint of beer is show) as a cold foamy glass of beer. But they might not agree upon what it means. Some would say it signifies the birth of civilization as we know it.* Others would say it heralds the end of civilization. Both sides would say it can alter reality but might disagree that that altered reality exists. Reality seems to be an agreement we make about the physical sensations we perceive. The interpretation and meaning of those perceptions is what gets us into all sorts of trouble – uncomfortable disagreements, nagging self-doubt, and those terrible sleepless nights. What we know for sure is that civilization has been tormenting itself with the question of reality since before the beginning of beer.
Where do these ideas about reality really come from? As always there are two sides of the argument. One side stresses that reality is a product of the mind and the physical world is an illusion. The other side proposes that the physical world we know though sensations is the only reality, and that the mind is an illusion. What started folks crying in their beers was the realization that nothing stays the same, How could something be real if it’s always changing?
When is a beer really a beer? We know that beer is made up of a bunch of separate elements: water, grain, hops, ect. Sometime during the brewing process it becomes something drinkable, and it’s put into a vessel. Before we drink the stuff in that vessel, how can we assume it’s really beer? At this point it’s just potentially beer. Even if we drink that stuff, how can we be sure it’s not some imitation? Our senses can be fooled. If someone else has a taste and agrees that it’s beer, is it then real, or just an agreement among beer sops? Is reality a matter of taste? Maybe that’s as real as it gets.
Even though our perception of a thing can change, we can still hold the idea of the thing in our heads. We can still salivate at the thought of a cold frosty glass of beer even though our perception of each beer we taste changes. The idea (a product of mind) seems to have a more changeless quality than the physical beer itself.
This is the basis of the concept of duality, and that is where all the fun begins.

* – Some say the fermenting of beer from grain signified the birth of a settled agrarian lifestyle that preceded a communal political organization and a lot of free time for folks to pickle themselves with useless questions like these.

That sure beats looking at a monthly image of a cute cat, pretty lady, flowers, comics, cars, horses, TV stars or anything else that might grace the monthly page of a calendar.


The Lost Wonder website where the calendar and other goodies can be found: http://www.lostwonder.org/


3 Responses to Taken from a Calendar – That just might taste like real beer.

  1. Kate The Great says:

    Yes, it is a mighty interesting calender. Sadly too much for my early-morning brain to handle, which is where the daily tidbits are a bonus.

  2. Clint Marsh says:

    I have that on my wall, too! Happy get out of gaol day for Oscar Wilde!


  3. Jeff Hoke says:

    I’m working on a new calendar for 2011

    No cats or sunsets. This one promises to be the weirdest calendar you’ll ever see. “Curiosities from the Collections” With new almanac dates of notoriouos events to celebrate for very day of the year.

    And it’ll be in 3D! (Comes with special glasses)

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