Friday, February 18, 2011

Changing minds

(Not written my me. -E.)

We've been thinking this way a long time, but does it really make sense NOW?:

          A newly married couple was preparing dinner together, a roast, and the man watched his new bride rub the roast with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper on it, then cut an inch off the right side of the roast and an inch off the left side, put it into a pan and put the pan in the oven. The man thought this was a bit strange, so he asked, "Honey, why did you just cut an inch off each side of the roast?" His wife replied, "That's just how you make a roast. That's how my mother showed me to do it and I don't see any reason to change it." The man still didn't understand, but he thought, "If this is the strangest thing she does, I guess I can get used to it." He counted his blessings and let the matter drop.
         A few weeks later, they were invited to her mother's house for dinner. She said, "I'm having a roast, I hope you like them." "Definitely," the man said. He thought, "Oh good, maybe now I'll find out where this business started."
         When they arrived at his mother-in-law's house, the man went straight into the kitchen and asked if he could watch her prepare the meal. "Of course," she said, so he sat and watched her rub the roast with olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, cut an inch off the right side and an inch off the left side, put the roast in a pan and put it in the oven. He asked his mother-in-law, "Why did you cut an inch off each side of the roast?" She replied, "That's just how you make a roast."
         The poor man was getting more and more baffled, but he enjoyed his dinner and they returned home.
         A couple months passed, then they were invited to her grandmother's house for dinner. The man, determined as ever, called ahead and said, "Would you mind a special request for dinner? I'd really like to have a roast." She agreed and a few days later, they went to grandma's.
         He asked if he could watch her prepare the meal and she said, "sure."
         So he sat down and watched her rub olive oil on the roast, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, put it into a pan and put it in the oven.
         He said, "Didn't you forget something?"
         She said, "No, I don't think so. Why do you ask?"
         He said, "You didn't cut an inch off each side of the roast before putting it in the pan."
         She laughed and said, "Oh, that! I stopped doing that years ago."
         "I got a bigger pan."
(From this week's Domai newsletter (has nudity).)


emptyspaces said...

That's awesome! I'm always baffled and amazed at all the things we do simply because we've always done them.

Like, why do we always vote on a Tuesday? (stateside) Everyone has to disrupt their work schedule, or else wait on a long line during that 90-minute window between the end of the workday and when polls close. Let's just move it to Saturday!

And daylight savings time. We change the time of day twice a year to better match daylight hours, but we're not changing the Earth's orbit, are we? It's the equivalent of people who set their watch ahead to ensure being on time. It's ridiculous, and I don't want to hear any more about various historical reasons we supposedly do it. It's stupid, so let's just stick with the Summer plan all year long. The time change has always screwed me up for a week or so, and it's worse for young children.

Those are two examples off the top of my head. Every time I complain about them, someone chimes in with some passed-down reason to still do it, but I say, like Eolake's parable above, the original reason was flawed to begin with!

TC [Girl] said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TC [Girl] said...

emptyspaces said...
"...let's just stick with the Summer plan all year long."

Exactly! Now...if we could just order up weather of same! ;-)

Jan said...

Excellent story! :-)

It reminds me of two texts that I greatly enjoyed reading:

Loren Howe's ebook The real story of money, health, and religion:
(I never finished the chapter on religion though)
After many generations, the evolution of a belief or institution is understood by almost no one but accepted by almost everyone. In other words, most people no longer know the truth, but accept their own society’s convictions, for better or worse."

And a post by Jacob Lund Fisker about experts and pseudo-experts:
In every field, there are very few true experts, who understand the given subject and operates accordingly. There are, however, typically, very many pseudo-experts, who do not not understand the subject but yet are able to operate because they have compiled a large amount of tips and tricks on how to behave and respond by copying the behavior of the experts(*). The problem that pseudo-experts is that pseudo-experts do not understand why the rules are the way they are. This means that they do not understand the limits and context of the rules they are copying and so when the limits are exceeded or they leave their familiar surroundings, they do not know how to think and act because they are really unfamiliar with the subject on a fundamental level. (...)"