On chocolates, open-mindedness, and true empowerment


I love dark chocolates. Cacao, apparently, also boosts your metabolism. So, I eat it every morning, as a spoonful of cacao powder in my yogurt, and as two pieces of 88% dark chocolate squares.

I got the 88% chocolate squares from someone that thought they tasted awful. She’d also bought it for the health benefits of cacao, and thought higher the concentration the better…”but I didn’t know it could taste this bad, bitter…and awful!” She gave me, I think, 8 boxes that she bought at once on sales. She now eats 70%.

I have a theory that any value judgement is based on preconceived notions: that if you can free yourself from biases, you can enjoy just about everything. Some smells can make you vomit – but even that can be interesting (how can a smell cause such a strong reaction?). I think I can enjoy the 88% chocolates that some people may find uneatable, because I became free from the association between cacao and sweetness, when I first encountered mole sauce. Having experienced cacao in a wider spectrum from milk chocolate to mole sauce, allows me to really enjoy the 88% chocolate squares. I do prefer the darker chocolates, but I also do honestly enjoy milk chocolates (“white chocolates” are not chocolates – although I still find them interesting and highly enjoyable).

Superficial knowledge can make you feel confident in your biases, but broad and deep understanding of something can free you from preconceived notions and emotional attachments to common sense, being in the majority, etc.

I have to admit to many such emotional attachments and false confidence. For example, it is difficult for me to talk about WWII without being emotional. I have a strong urge to defend my home country, especially after learning about marginalized historical facts like the War Guilt Information Program: American government’s censorship and active manipulations on post-war public information to vilify Japan. I learned two weeks ago, that even reports on human suffering from the atomic bombs were actively curtailed. It was to the extent that The New Yorker magazine had to publish John Hersey’s Hiroshima – originally intended as a 4-part series – in one magazine, cover-to-cover, out of their fear of government’s pressure to stop the series after the first publication.  http://www.newyorker.com/books/double-take/john-herseys-hiroshima-now-online

Intentional manipulations on perception of facts make me angry, because I am a survivor of domestic abuse where I was isolated and subjected to significant amounts of gaslighting. The fact that I grew up in an incubated babble of classical music, where reliance on instincts and admiration of innate genius result in pervasive anti-intellectualism, did not help me in my situation.

I was at US-Japan Leadership Program two weeks ago as one of my attempts to empower myself. I met so many strong leaders who seemed beyond their personal feelings in their broad and deep understanding of what they are fighting against, and for. I am not there yet, but I do intend to get myself there.