More Than You Could Know
Buckminster Fuller, one of the few human beings to whom the title “Renaissance Man” really fits, created the Rule of Knowledge-Doubling Curve.
The Curve is a statement that until 1900 all of human knowledge approximately doubled every century. At the conclusion of World War II, a mere 45 years later, the length of time it took to double human knowledge was 25 years.
At this point, it became necessary to examine human knowledge in definable parts. Clinical knowledge doubled every 18 months and technological knowledge doubled every two years. Today, as we approach a build-out of the Internet of Things, it is estimated that human knowledge will double every 12 hours.
Is it any wonder that you feel like the world is spinning way out of your control and the progression is faster than your ability to understand or assimilate?
While available knowledge refers to the bigger picture of all life on earth, even at the local level, we are not as in touch as we would like to be. Look at the pace of New Orleans restaurant openings and closings, and then look at the breadth of the culinary products available.
In the good old days, back in the 1990s, Creole cuisine was definable. There were standards by which everyone lived. There were boundaries as to what was acceptable and what was too far off base. Those boundaries were usually defined for you by your immediate family: Mom, Dad, Grandma or a talented Aunt.
Today, while our Creole traditions continue, there are fewer restaurants serving what we all think of in respect to this genre, and there are many restaurants knee-deep in experimentation which more often than not yields surprisingly fine results. And we are no longer able to note that a particular dish in a restaurant is not as good as Mama’s. Likely, Mama never thought to use the ingredients involved.
No American city is more international than New Orleans but what is happening today boggles any passionate follower of our culture, which is just about all of us.
We are still grounded in Italian, French, even Spanish traditions. But now we are enjoying Creole influences in Eastern preparations, African, Mexican, and Thai. Did anyone see this coming twenty years ago?
Even in the beverage arena, we are enjoying, without thinking about it, drinks from the Caribbean, South America, and new locales (to us) from traditional wine-producing countries. Those Rosè wines we are now consuming with great abandon, never made it to the shelves or wine lists in our parents’ day.
We are not only embracing new directions, we are creating new opportunities for even more diversification, adoption, and creative presentation. Only in this century have we patronized bars devoted to rums, bourbons, sparkling wines, cocktails based on South Pacific concepts, and spirits from such out-of-the-way origins as Chile, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, northern and southern Italy, and from all over France.
There would not be a market for all of it without our curiosity and open-minds. Yet, all the while, we are still attracted to traditions, both in ingredients and preparations.
Our palates and our minds are well-rewarded. We are lucky to be in this place at this time. And our knowledge expands at a prodigious pace in ways never imagined by our ancestors.
Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com on Wednesdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails in New Orleans, every month in New Orleans Magazine.