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Coffee, Booze, and Sex: Is it the journey or the destination?

A little lighthearted Friday post, let's think about the classic idea of "enjoying the ride" (a favorite TTL [1] topic). Also known as "Stop and smell the roses" and "process vs. product," this one got me thinking of some fun variations. Of course the basic idea is sound: If we fixate on the end of a journey/process/path, we miss out on most of the living along the way. Cheers!

Let's start with coffee. Process or product? Process if you're an aficionado (test: grind it yourself), and product if you're simply after the caffeine high (test: instant). Related: My favorite, chocolate. For me, both process (it tastes, as our Laotian friend says "yum") and product because I feel a nice sense of contentment [2] after taking the stuff. I'd be remiss if I skipped alcohol. I enjoy the stuff, but I can't tolerate it (destabilizes my mood - see below), so for me it's the process because it leads to product (along with social value), but then I regret the process due to cost (being irritable the next day). You?

How about books? For me, one definition of fiction [3] is that it's the process, not the product. However, you'll agree that great fiction involves both. (Or maybe just the latter, but I avoid those.) For me non-fiction is primarily product, though again, well written ones are a treat to read. The same applies to movies, lectures - any information source, I suppose. Question: What about art?

Continuing: Dental work. My personal health crises revolve around this, and I've thought long and hard about the topic. (Personal note: I have a moderate mood disorder that includes obsessing as a component. This is partially why I am so motivated to self experiment.) Clearly this is more about product than process, although I've become creative about enjoying the process. Working with competent and friendly people helps a lot, as does a deep talent for black humor.

Here's a stimulating one: Sex! Hmmm. As a man, I tend to value process over product ;-) Then again, what is the product? A good friend suggests climax, though my initial thought was "babies." You tell me. (Related: A 2x2: Fun to watch vs. Fun to do. Ponder and report back.)

How about work? The best situation is clearly having both. Question: What about when neither are present? What kind of job would that be? Examples?

Finally, having a body. Another TTL thing I say is that having a body is an experiment. We are born with no user's manual, we have to make it up as we go (a good general test of whether you're doing one), it is constantly changing, and we have limits on our control. It is my favorite one so far.

How about yours? What process vs. product examples do you think about?


Reader Comments (6)

Thanks, your website is very helpful

October 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterodżywki

Thanks, odżywki. This particular post was in the just-for-fun category.

October 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermatthewcornell

Just discovered your blog, Matthew, and like your style and thoughts. I've subscribed. I see an engineering background somewhere...or at least the mind-set. Re process, I try to stay linear and enjoy the work, or the roses, one at a time. TFor me, the mishmash of pleasure/work is unsatisfying and unproductive. I'm a recovered poly-phaser and a born-again systems advocate. Alcohol is difficult for me, too...the mood thing. I'll send you my book "product" if you want it (I'll need a mailing address). No obligation. Just brothers in arms. -sam

October 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hey, Sam. What a pleasure to have you stop by. Your book [ Work the System | http://www.store-workthesystem.com/ ] has been on my wish list longer than I like - I need to bump it up.

engineering background

Guilty as charged. B.S.E.E. and M.S.C.S

try to stay linear

Interesting way to put it. There's a blog post - thank you.

mishmash of pleasure/work

I need to think about that. There's the "balance" backlash that says that if it's good work, then it's living and shouldn't be separated out. But I find I need a break, or end up getting sucked in, and mental performance suffers.


Good term. I couldn't find a use from the personality perspective. A devising of your own?

Thanks for reading.

October 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermatthewcornell

This hedonist approach to life that of the young people have is a very shallow one. The so called dream to be young, rich and famous that so many Americans follow only leads to despair, abuse, and in some good cases to an [ Alcohol Rehab Center | http://www.treatment-centers.net/ ] or some other facility to help you get back on your feet. I think people should consider a more spiritual view on life. Enjoy the miracle of each moment.

February 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim Kallahan

Well put, Kim. Thanks for commenting.

February 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermatthewcornell

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