I remain cynical about cynicism.

I want to live in the Both/And world. It is a great place. A secular land of milk and honey. It is where legends will be made. It is the world where things may have binary roots, like the zeros and ones in software code (maybe not much longer with quantum computing around the corner though), but have positive sums, that people can gain without someone else necessarily losing.

The Both/And world likes abundance, where more and more information is available and cheap, where storage and distribution are afterthoughts. It is a world of multiple roles, multiple careers, of crossovers and mashups; it is valuing thoughtfully remixed work as wholly original. This is the Both/And world and I love it.

We have all these dichotomies: black/white; fat/thin; rich/poor; young/old. You can’t blame a cynical person for saying “you can’t have it all.” Around the corner though, there is a creative and reliable person. Crossfit challenges one aerobically and anaerobically. I have seen people lose weight and gain muscle. To quote Voltaire: we mustn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I do think the world can be messed up. I do believe there is a crooked timber in people. But that is not to say that if someone does well, they necessarily cannot do good. And to foreclose that possibility is to live in a dark place. I remain cynical about cynicism.

Chefs don’t just make tasty food that they always have, for the expectation today is to dine with a chef who knows the underlying science underpinning her or his gustatory creations. We expect a chef to scoff “too easy” at allergies or fine-tuned dietary restrictions; we expect them to tempt us with new textures and flavors, and synthesize all these new requirements into cuisine, and present it to us as if we were at the theater. The greatest fear of Hong Kong parents is that their child enters the wrong profession, (the mandarin for which is ru cuo hang). The concern centers on getting all the details right, whereby you have the right grades, academic pedigrees and credentials...But what if you do everything right by precedent, and by consensus... but unwittingly enter a sunset industry? 

Detail and context is important.

Detail and context is a cornerstone of this both/and world I'm talking about. The dream of any architect is to erect a building that gets right the threading, fastening, pouring, cladding, of course. But can people get in and out? That is the question. To achieve detail and context is the dream of dreams. It is the fable of the forestry guy who knows trees, the legend of the electrical engineer who gets the physics.