Monday, April 09, 2007

Whiskey time

We are supposedly living in a "dog year". But certain things take longer time. Take the maturation of whiskey, for example. If you would like to make a fine whiskey, you need to allow for at least ~ 10 years of maturation time. In order to stage a good aging of the liquid, a fine oak barrel is an absolute necessity. An oak tree takes a hundred years to grow to a size appropriate for use as a barrel. Peat, traditionally used in Scotland to give that peculiar flavor, is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter which takes ages to form. Whiskey time, in contrast to the dog year, is a symbol of painfully slow processions of things.

When it comes to the maturation of a personality, it takes all of life to materialize. The synaptic plasticity in the brain takes a few weeks to be molecularly completed. We learn very slowly as a molecular machine, but the accumulation hopefully would lead to a non-trivial transformation of character.

Even the computer, when deciphered in terms of the atoms that make it up, lives in a whisky time. The heavy atoms can only be transformed through cycles of galaxies being formed and then perished. The dog year can only flourish on top of the atomic whiskey time.

We sometimes become too enthusiastic at the cost of ignoring the whole picture. Information technology has not freed us from the curses and blessings of the cosmic whiskey time.

1 comment:

susie said...

For me, a few weeks for the synaptic plasticity in the brain to be molecularly completed does not seem slow if I can be transformed.

I saw oak barrels used for maturing whiskey recycled as plant pots in a U.S. state adjacent to Kentucky, the home of bourbon whiskey. Even after halved, the barrels still emitted the aroma of whiskey.