Our Love For Coffee Is Proof We Exist

A body that understands and responds to caffeine is what being awake is. Don’t get it? Read the following statistics.

  1. Caffeine is unquestionably associated with lower risk of mortality. And an even greater reduction in the risk of death with higher coffee consumption. In short, you can live longer if you consume more coffee (total, caffeinated, and decaffeinated). (study)
  2. Caffeine’s biological effect is antagonism of the adenosine receptor. This means that caffeine speeds up nerve cells by tricking certain adenosine receptors. (study)
  3. Contrary to its positive side, there is a potential discussion that coffee consumption is directly linked to health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and anxiety. This is when you take coffee consumption to an extreme level; that is, more than 5-7 cups a day. (study)

Of all the times I’ve come across such statistics, I’m convinced of the psychological effects of coffee. The secret to “waking up” even after waking up consciously is coffee; in its smell, aroma, and flavor.

So, do you wake up and smell the coffee for staying awake? Or do you wake up and smell the coffee because you absolutely love to?

I tried to draw a line between these two questions. The answer comes out groggy and confusing. Groggy because that’s how most of you feel before drinking a cup of coffee. And confusing because that’s how I feel about coffee after researching on something popularly known as “coffee psychology.” Coffee psychology is deciphering what coffee does to the human body. How it makes you focus on the positive and how it makes you see things more clearly. But what I didn’t find, at least not in the initial stages of my research is this: the deliciousness of coffee as a hot or cold drink. Yeah right. What was I hoping to find?

The first few words we think of when we talk about coffee is alert, energy, clarity, and active. It’s hard, but not impossible, to find the words: delicious, delicious, and delicious. No more or no less. Maybe this article will belong to the “delicious, delicious, and delicious” family. But wait a second. Is my love of coffee a trickery? Is caffeine tricking my taste buds, just as it tricks the adenosine receptors, into loving its taste even when it’s the most bitter thing one could taste?!

The more I drink coffee, the faster the caffeine continues to conspire and blur my sensitivity toward what tastes good and what tastes bad. To someone who’s never had a sip of coffee, coffee tastes bad, right? Wait until the caffeine kicks in. We can avoid it… we can but then we go ahead and dilute it with milk and sugar and the caffeine’s conniving booby trap begins. From very sweet to mildly sweet to not-so-sweet to slightly bitter and finally, to boldly bitter.

If someone were to ask me why I love drinking coffee, I would say, “Because I love the taste so much. And it’s not about the fact that it keeps you alert, thinking quick, and energetic. I just love the taste. And yeah, I only drink it without sugar. I mean, who drinks coffee with sugar anymore?!”

People do not talk about this. But it is a good conversation starter. Look at this for example.

Cornell University (study) suggests that caffeine alters the perception of taste. Just the act of drinking coffee every morning made participants feel more awake. Also, when you taste food right after drinking coffee, the flavor of the food is noticeably altered. This happens because caffeine tricks certain receptors in the brain into reducing our sensitivity toward sweetness as a flavor. That’s precisely why we crave the bitterness of coffee.

So, are you telling me that the day I stop desiring coffee in the midst of my coffee drinking habits, I stop existing?

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: When Time Isn’t Enough

We consider the flow of time to be infinite – filling a void that runs its course with every generation, every birth, and every death. The physical aspect of time is body seen through the years, growing in size, dexterity, speed, and strength. The readiness of time is anything but ambiguous. However, the flow of time is what humans have harnessed and tried to manipulate, through any medium, to remain obtainable in a sense that answers to our questions. Or in a sense, the way time flows forward is the only answer to our only question: How well do we live?

After watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – a film which represents an unusually obvious paradigm of aging and time – a movie which creates a spectrum of the world’s most dreadful trio that is loving an age that exists as a defense against time – forced me to think about perspective.

Perspective as we need it. Perspective as it actually is. Imagine a bird flapping its wings over and over again, wafting in mid-air; not moving in any direction; still yet so topsy-turvy are its movements as if it’s invisibly glued to its place with nowhere to go. A perspective that defies the movement of time in space, but adopts the space as its movement until time catches up with it. Isn’t time but a glass through which we glorify our perspective until it builds itself into an entire millennium? Narrow intervals that mark our thoughts, actions, and beliefs until we move on to another entirely different or inconsequential interval.

If you were to pin down these intervals of time, it would be a room full of stacked boxes; some too big in size, while some too small and almost invisible among the crowd. Some unemptied while some that look like they’ve been destroyed and yet its charred remains still remain scattered on the floor.

Or they’re drawers like the ones we have in offices to store documents. Small drawers, rusted with age, stacked on top and next to each other. Our time determines how deep and long each drawer is; each drawer manifests a different scent of a different time.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
At the end of it all, you glimpse into a few boxes or pull out drawers, but the rest remain dormant, almost futile to time. Is that how you perceive time? What happens when you reverse it from finish to start? Then, what will the room in which time marks everything down, so perfectly and so vehemently, look like?

Perspective holds time in its palms. Or is it the other way around? I guess the answer exists beyond what words can explain. Just one of those things we can experience, if in tiny fragments in movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

We Can’t Keep Things Simple, So We Complicate

And yes, in most cases, keeping it complicated is a choice. Other times it’s just consequence.

I’m afraid of a kind of attachment that won’t ever be simple. And I don’t mean with romantic relationships exclusively. This can be translated to my work, friendship, personal life, family relationships, and more importantly, to myself. Clinging on to patterns that add fuel to the fire is the only skill I know. This is because I am an exposed crop of my past; and so am I an unsteady nine-to-fiver of this chaotic world. Aren’t we all some kind of nine-to-fivers? If not for work, then for our emotions. We don’t have to belong to a company to have to cluelessly follow a sort of routine that is often explained away in less than a second — in brief excuses and hesitation and subconscious condemning of a much larger entity. Be it religion, constitution, government, society, or flawed human nature itself.

Hence, we can’t keep things simple. It’s a thought process we’ve been tweaked and monitored into habituating. And in doing so, we’ve lost meaning from thought itself. Giving importance to thoughts has defeated our ability of thinking without us even realizing it. Where is the “why” of living, of doing, and of being? This can only come from stopping thoughts. Better, in silencing them for a while. This won’t be a switch like you would TV channels. This silencing of thought and being in the present moment has to be the evolution of logic, judgement, and perspective. And if you go far enough, it could become your only reason to become a better human than you were yesterday. To grow from your silence, your pain, your experiences, and shortcomings.

This is simple. It’s taking what you already know and directing it to what’s real and right here. Sometimes not giving importance to certain thoughts is one of the best decisions you can make. For yourself. For others. For everyone. This lacuna is from where you grow to become original and thoughtful. And on days you get caught up with too many things to do, this little trick will do wonders to how you feel while doing them. This is a kind of freedom you create for yourself so you when you’re in the middle of chaos and confusion, you start to feel more like yourself and not the opinions and projections of those around you.

On Silence and Loneliness: In Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

I can’t help myself. Embracing solitude in anxiety and comfort is greater than remaining habitual. But as humans, we do both. Extract the good from the bad. Accept it. And still remain confined to what feels familiar and ours. I felt this conversation clinging to me when I was reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, which is wired to her emotions as my own. Revisiting her The Bell Jar, I found myself taking down notes page after page, not to review, but to deeply connect to and understand her work. And modernity doesn’t meditate on such loneliness the way this book does. These sentences, for example, extract the singular meaning of what makes humans vicious yet so purely beautiful:

“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”

Some of us feel loneliness in the lack of physical contact, some in conversations, and some in emotional and sexual intimacy. And there are some souls that feel it all; all at once and for a long time. This stretch of time refines our sense of being, doesn’t it? And while this happens — we lose things too. We lose our ability to familiarize with words that we used to manifest so conveniently. Words like hope, happiness, responsibility, strength, love, and loss. For me, my loneliness is the embodiment of invisible objects awakened for silent protests of intimacies that go beyond my understanding.

Somewhere in the space between the present and the future, this silence has consumed me. But here’s the interpretation of it: it’s not something that has happened, is happening, or will happen. It’s the kind of lacuna that exists as is as a part of me. If there’s a word for self-reflection — for the feelings that appear and re-appear in a sequence of time — each time it devotes its significance to my own prelude to existing and living: then this is it. My loneliness is my vessel of familiarity, of being erratic, and of having to succumb to cause and effect in the happenings of my life. And suddenly, my own silence occurred to me as if I was thrown back into placid reflections. Reflections as inescapable as breathing and as delicate as dust that I can’t help but embrace time’s inevitable passing. I am sure of what my loneliness means to me — and The Bell Jar reminds of its unwavering significance. What is loneliness? Is it yours as much as it is mine, or is it the measure of what we don’t say? I am not sure — but of what I am is, for me, a breath of fresh air.

The Strength That You Wake Up To But Don’t Sleep With

When you learn without the help of another person, you’re not entitled to anything. You’re making your own mistakes and saving your own ass. This sort of dependency on another human being is toxic, I believe, when you want to take things slow. You need to adapt and review what you’re learning without the adamant judgement of others. And this is what makes you a deep thinker. It forms inside you a mind so complete and original. And you might not be as adept as the person sitting next to you when it comes down to conversing unabashedly. But the fact that you learned in solitude makes comparison seem narrow-minded and meaningless. It’s time we disregard what matches up to the standards of our culture. And regard what makes us unique, however unconventional to learn.

I never thought I’d be where I am today if it wasn’t for my chase. My chase to learning what solitude means to me and why does it mean to me what it does. My chase to struggling with relationships. My chase to my anxiety and feeling lonely. My chase to not getting out of my comfort zone like so many people I know have told me to. My mind is full of instances where I’ve gotten passionately obsessed with my chase. Whether it was good or bad — I never questioned its substance. Instead, I questioned the ordinariness of my life. My routine, habits, thinking, emotional stability, and the likes. This shift in thinking was the cause of many vulnerable and upsetting experiences since the day I was born. And some parts even before it. And now you see me trying to make sense, not of my past itself, but of my present as an outcome of my past.

The strength lies in acceptance. Of unravelling the past in relation to the present and in the becoming of the future. The strength you wake up to is not the same kind of strength you sleep with and dream. It’s strength that’s created with attention, realization, and acceptance right from when the clock strikes 00:00 to 00:00. Your ability to ask what, why, how, and when is your strength. Not the destruction of it. If you destroy anything, you do the you that’s the consequence of where you are just so you aren’t defined by the unfairness of it. Your strength is the sum of all the good and bad things that have happened to you and around you. And that strength isn’t inherent. It is bred; even agonized when you’re struggling with life’s meaning and fallacies. Out there, whatever you do or say is quantified in material terms to an extent that even you begin to materialize them. But that’s not growth. That’s a human paradox: to attach quantifiable sense and direction to something that the world thinks relevant and convenient. But to you, it’s a waste of effort because what comes in strength isn’t verifiable.

You can look at two pictures of the same object and still feel differently about one from the other. Sometimes the thing about strength is that it can feel so heavy and light, at the same time, you don’t want to let it go. And to this, the world says you’re being too selfish, too opinionated, or too set in your ways.

To this, you say —

“When the bad dreams finally catch up to me, my strength will not want to let them go. My strength will be my antidote to wake up the next day. And until that day starts, today is all I have to continue my chase. For what is today, is enough.”