Post from Justin O’Donnell

After reading the work of Edmund Burke I feel that I have a
better insight into what taste actually is. Although it is
hard to define, for me there are two different qualities to
taste. Burke explains that all men being created more or less
equal characterize different tastes in similar ways. All men
perceive honey to be sweet, vinegar to be sour and aloes as
bitter, just like he says. That notion can translate into all
aspects of perception including the smell of roses vs. the
smell of vomit, or the feeling of hot and cold. Although all
men are not created with the same genetics or the same
physical attributes, and thus may not perceive each taste or
smell or feeling to quite the same degree as another human
being, it can be reasoned that all can perceive certain
occurrences with at least the same definition.  For whatever
the reason, a person may be highly sensitive to the taste of
say vodka, while another relishes the flavor. The same could
be said about an individual’s favorite candy or style of beer
or attraction to spicy foods. But the other type of taste in
my opinion comes from a societal background rather than an
empirical genetic or physical one. For example a taste in
clothing where one could be attracted to a more conservative
look or a radical happy go lucky style. This type of taste
does not appear to come from any genetic quality, but a more
upbringing or influential aspect. The same could be said about
the taste of food. People from Ireland have distinctly
different tastes than say people from Asia. This outlook on
the dual characteristics of taste beg the question nature vs.
nurture. Although certain tastes can be defined by humanity as
sweet or sour, the way we as the individual may perceive taste
can be broken down into both physical or genetic traits, or
into a societal upbringing characteristic that can skew tastes
into different areas on a spectrum of human reaction.


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