"Let's have a beer together."
It's a symbol of peaceful unity. It's a symbol for sharing stories with each other. It's a symbol for understanding each other. Reach across the table. Clink your glass on that of another.
I preach wine, food, and drink as the ultimate way to connect with the unknown. There's never a bad time to decide to open your mind and experience something different, as wholeheartedly as you possibly can. That's the kind of expansion that creates an educated sommelier, wine enthusiast, person.
Education through a genuine desire and effort to understand.
One spends time with something unfamiliar.
As I continually riff on these themes as a method to inspire those who want to elevate their oenological abilities, I'm constantly reminded that this simple idea that I feel like I've been repeating ad nauseam for a while now has a broader, if not universal application:
Do not seek to prefer. Seek to understand.
How hard is that?
Education is understanding. Understanding is education.
Only, not everybody is exposed to environments that allow for this. Some people still cannot have a beer in peace. And others are only willing to drink the beer they already know, that looks like all the other beers they've already had. They're not willing to seek understanding, because they weren't educated on how to become educated and expand.
The only way to rapidly improve your ability to operate at a deeper and more progressive level in the worlds of wine, beverages, philosophy, finance, politics, racial discrimination, societies, cultures, etc., is to seek to understand by reaching across to the thing that is unknown to you with an open mind.
Your preconceptions must be dropped. Your ideas must be suspended.
What am I even talking about here?! I wrote those exact words into a wine course, for chrissakes. They seem to have a more urgent and much deeper meaning on a different level right now. Of course, not just right now. Tensions driven by a fear of the unknown have existed, persisted, and been activated in violent demonstrations since time immemorial.
Education. Understanding. To be granted the privilege to participate in these activities is a privilege in itself. And it is not a privilege that must be guarded, but rather, one that must be extended.
The privilege must be extended to the oppressed by virtue of the progressive utilization of the privilege to seek education through understanding on the part of the oppressor.
Who creates the problem of a lack of privilege? Let's be clear that it is not the underprivileged themselves.
There are many things we can and must do right now. And many of us, including myself on many occasions, do not always feel clear on where to start.
It's bigger than wine. It's bigger than the kind of beer you choose to drink.
But, maybe, the spark of inspiration to generate positive action based on understanding can lie for some, in practicing that understanding in a simple, small way, in just once place.
Maybe that's the glass of wine you order. Maybe that's the beer you accept from someone else, even though it might not be your regular brand. You open your mind to something new.
And you amplify that moment until it spreads into the rest of your life.
Our regular brand, so to speak, has only brought us here. If we want to change the way we drink, and if we want to be able to peacefully have that beer and feel good that more and eventually all people can have that beer with us, then maybe we need to learn how to drink a little differently.
Maybe it starts with us having a beer.
Let's just make sure that when the story ends, we're not still drinking the same one.