What separates man from the beasts? How did we land up the dominating species on our little blue planet, right at the top of the food chain? Was it the use of tools, or the need to cultivate things, the use of language maybe? The sum total of all the possible reasons distilled is something we call culture and civilisation. It can be successfully argued that in the breathtaking pace of the modern world, the rat race to get ahead with corporate gerbils treading furiously on the spinning wheel of the road to nowhere, the catastrophe of fast food and the resulting avalanche of health problems, mental disease and mass obesity (can you put these two words together?) is that this process of civilisation is showing signs of a shaky reversal.
When in this mad world where nothing seems to make sense and people live completely past each other, what do people do when they seek to reconnect with what distinguishes them as humans. They sit down and eat in a relaxed manner and indulge in social intercourse, the activity that distinguishes us from the instinct driven activities of the lesser species.
In this setting there is further distinction.
Is it the frenzied stuffing of carbohydrates accompanied by evil Alco pop or the luke warm “wine” stored in a box next to the oven in some grubby kitchen with the hope that the still overactive alcohol will numb the pain?
Is it the ostentatious ordering of mega buck first growth wine (mostly fake) mixed with Coca Cola by the rotund denizen oligarchs at the table accompanied by huge steaming bowls of noodles loaded with MSG and Endangered species that are the status symbols of the new rich in the East?
Or is it the calm setting of a fine restaurant, where attentive service, encyclopaedic cellar and fine napery lull the senses into nirvana. Food created by people who care is carefully matched with fine wine, selected not by price or alcohol, but with the knowledge that the delicate layering of complex flavours will set off the refined pleasure centres of the brain, releasing dopamine and the urge to indulge in intellectual discourse or the delicate art of seduction. The combination of superb food and wine and its civilised conclusion is when civilisation reaches its climax.
This increasingly rare to find combination is truly what separates us from the beasts and must be actively encouraged.
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