Coffee and Thinking

coffeeI did not always love coffee. There was a time when I would wrinkle my nose up at it when offered and shake my head. I’ve always loved the smell of it, but that did not equate to a desire to drink it. Now I can’t imagine my life without coffee. Even with tea and hot chocolate, coffee is deeply entrenched in my habits.

For me it is more than a drink. Coffee has meaning in my life and in my relationships. I’m not obsessive about it, but I do think about it. I am mindful of coffee–as I’m mindful about many things. I spend a lot of time deep in thought about life, spirituality, relationships, human behavior, and my family.

I recently read an article entitled Drinking Coffee Makes You More Open-Minded. It was featured in the health section of New Scientist in June of 2006, so while it was new to me, the information had been out there for a while. In essence the article talks about how coffee may make us more open to persuasive arguments because with the aid of coffee (and the inherent presence of caffeine) we have better cognitive functioning, which allows us to better consider the opposing view point to our currently held beliefs. This makes those free coffees offered at meetings and presentations seem a little suspect, but I wonder…

More times than not I’m having coffee with my friends, people whom I have gravitated to because we share similar ideas or philosophies, if not on every thing then many things, at least. Even before coffee I was always interested in hearing what others had to say. I wanted to know what they thought, and why. I wanted to know what influenced them and how. Not because I didn’t have my own thoughts on things, but because I have always valued understanding. Understanding leads to acceptance and through that comes peace and love. Otherwise the best you can hope for is tolerance and that is shaky ground to maintain a relationship on.

Back to the coffee. Since it has become so much a part of my interactions I wonder if it has enhanced my cognitive malleability? Have I become more open-minded with it in my life? Does this bother my friends when I keep prodding to understand more? I know I have always provoked some uncomfortable moments with my questions, especially when my questions encourage introspection that challenges belief. I know it is me, but is the coffee speeding my thoughts along to these questions?

Then I started to wonder about the bigger picture of coffee consumption. If coffee influences open-mindedness, does the lack of coffee and all the caffeine reduction some people doggedly advocate encourage a more close-minded perspective? Could it be used as an insidious tool? Forget the Kool-Aid and beware the coffee. Beware the company in which you drink it, and be wary of those who would deny you. Maybe that’s too much thought for it, but I wonder…

What are your thoughts on coffee?

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