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Now, one more thing to say about this chapter is that, for Kelly (et al), the appearances matter. And what I mean by that is this: things like skin color, sex, race — even beauty — etc, do matter. Kelly tells us that the appearances matter, even if they are merely symbolic or decorative (ie, having sentimental value). To explain this, he uses the analogy of a coffee cup. Kelly argues that if the coffee-drinking is a ritual and not merely a matter of function, then the coffee cup is not interchangeable. The particular cup matters. Kelly writes:
[다음은 Harvard의 철학자 Sean Kelly가 쓴 글이네요.]
“Surely, if I care about something then I am in a position to know that I do. The Enlightenment tradition of autonomy suggests such a principle, and contemporary philosophy takes it virtually as an article of faith. But to be an embodied being as we are, open to moods that can direct us and reveal the world as meaningful, just is to be a being who extends beyond what we can know about ourselves. The project, then, is not to decide what to care about, but to discover what it is about which one already cares.
Let’s take a simple example. You get up in the morning, stumble down to the kitchen, and make coffee. Does it matter which cup you choose as the vessel for your morning drink? Or is the cup completely irrelevant to the morning coffee drinking routine? If it could have been any old cup, if the Styrofoam cup would have done as well as the fine china, then we can say that you are using the cup as a mere resource. That’s because you are treating it as something that is completely exchangeable. The particular cup, the cup in all its uniqueness, has become completely generic and banal.
Notice the strong contrast between the banality of the generic cup and the uniqueness of the wood in the wheelwright’s shop. The intimacy that characterized the wheelwright’s relation to his wood—the sense that it was an understanding friend, that it would reveal its subtle virtues to the skilled individual who knew how to bring them out at their best—that sense of the routine of woodworking as a sacred ritual shot through with intimacy, meaning, and worth, is completely lacking from the generic coffee drinking routine. To treat the cup as totally irrelevant to the task is to approach the coffee with ruthless unintelligence; to turn what might have been a revered domain into something completely devoid of worth.
But what is there to a cup, you might well ask, beyond the generic function of holding liquid? Surely any appropriately shaped object can perform such a function equally well. It is worth noting in passing how strange this observation would sound if made about certain kinds of cups: the simple cups of the Japanese tea ceremony, for instance, or the Holy Grail used by Jesus at the Last Supper. But perhaps these are exceptional cases. How can it be any insult to the cup, or indeed to the coffee-drinking routine as a whole, for me to care so little about it?
This generic way of treating the cup, and the coffee it holds, obscures its meaningful distinctions, diminishing the quality of the coffee fee we drink, as the unskilled coffee drinker necessarily fails to choose better ways of serving it over worse. The situation is eerily reminiscent of Sturt’s complaint. Indeed, the ruthless unintelligence of Sturt’s hated band saw mirrors the generic unintelligence of the Styrofoam cup. The generic cup, in its stupidity, treats every coffee and every coffee-drinking situation as if it were indistinguishable from the last.
To approach the domain of coffee drinking this way is to dehumanize yourself as well. Like navigating by GPS, the coffee-drinking routine that recognizes no distinctions of worth is a routine in which the coffee drinker becomes exchangeable: assimilable to all of the millions of others who are sleepwalking through the same generic routine. If the cup is exchangeable in the activity, then so are you. To treat the cup as a mere resource is to treat yourself as a mere resource too, to dehumanize yourself by failing to recognize the care you might have shown for that domain.
Now, perhaps there is nothing wrong with this some of the time. One cannot expect every moment of one’s existence to be a sacred celebration of meaning and worth. [?!] Indeed, there is probably something about us that resists this or even makes it impossible. But to endure the absence of meaning is one thing, to embrace it another. If we are to be human beings at all, we must distinguish ourselves from others; there must be moments when we rise up out of the generic and banal and into the particular and skillfully engaged. But how is one to know whether the coffee-drinking ritual is one of these moments?
The answer is that one must learn to see. That you already care about coffee drinking is something you may have hidden from yourself. To find out whether this is so, ask whether you take the routine to be functionally exchangeable. The morning ritual is delightful in part because it wakes you up. But would anything that woke you up be equally good? Would a quick snort of cocaine substitute in a pinch? Or if that’s too extreme, then perhaps a small caffeine pill that one could swallow on the way to the car? To the extent that these exchanges seem appealing, then the coffee really is just performing the function of waking you up. In that case any form of stimulant would do. But to the extent that these do not seem appealing substitutes, there are aspects of the coffee-drinking ritual that go beyond its function, aspects which you already care.
If you do care about drinking coffee in the morning, then there are meaningful distinctions to the ritual that are worth uncovering. The clue to revealing these distinctions lies in further simple questions you must ask yourself. Why exactly do you prefer a cup of coffee to a caffeine pill or to a cup of tea? Is there something in the coffee itself, not just in its stimulating effect but in its aroma, its warmth, the ritual of drinking it, or something else — that drives you to this activity rather than some other? And to the extent that there is, then what kind of coffee, what kind of coffee-making process, what kind of coffee-drinking companions or coffee-drinking places, what kind of coffee cup would bring these things out best?
These are not questions you can answer in the abstract. You need to try it out and see. If it is the warmth of the coffee on a winter’s day that you like, then drinking it in a cozy corner of the house, perhaps by a fire with a blanket, in a cup that transmits the warmth to your hands might well help to bring out the best in this ritual. If it is the striking black color of the coffee that attracts your eye and enhances the aroma, then perhaps a cup with a shiny white ceramic interior will bring this out. But there is no single answer to the question of what makes the ritual appealing, and it takes experimentation and observation, with its risks and rewards, to discover the meaningful distinctions yourself. This experimentation with and observation of the coffee ultimately develops in you the skill for seeing the relevant features of the ritual and ultimately develops the skills for bringing them out at their best. These skills are manifold: the skill for knowing how to pick exactly the right coffee, exactly the right cup, exactly the right place to drink it, and to cultivated one’s environment so that it is precisely suited to them, then one has a ritual rather than a routine, a meaningful celebration of oneself and one’s environment rather than a generic and meaningless performance of a function.” ('All Things Shining', p. 215-219)
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