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Our tastes
Maxim 13:
"Our self love suffers more impatiently the condemnation of our tastes than of our opinions."

Why is that? What is it that we find so personal about disagreeing with our tastes rather than our opinions, while logically it should be the opposite. Our tastes are supposed to be personal, while our opinions general truths.

I completely agree with him though. It is our ego which is wounded, but why does the arrow pierce deeper when it is a matter of taste rather than a matter of opinion?
What do we value in our tastes?
Books Discussed
La Rochefoucauld Maxims (Dover Books on Literature & Drama)
by La Rochefoucauld
Maxims
by La Rochefoucauld

We choose both our tastes and opinions, but with opinions, the choice is felt, whereas with tastes, it seems to come unbidden. The word "taste" is suggestive of this. The implication is that our tastes are part of ourselves, or part of an instinct we depend upon to translate our values into choices in the world. As a consequence, when we condemn tastes, we often speak in highly personal language; unfortunately, we also hear these judgments personally.

In other words, we speak of others' bad tastes like foods we dislike; but we feel the same judgment of our own like a personal attack. I think this arises from confusion and isn't necessary. Unfortunately, that confusion seems very basic to the way we feel these things.
Excellent point Joseph.
What you are saying is that people feel like their taste is something they were born with, while opinions they get and change through life.
This is obviously silly of "them," as we develop and change our tastes just as much as our opinions. Our senses can be educated and change. Even our taste in the sense of food.

I must admit I don't always follow the kitchen discussions here, but I remember a conversation (perhaps offline) where the topic arose of how foods you crave are actually usually foods you are allergic to. In that sense one can say our tastes are very physical and we might have been born with them. Still, even with food, I think that's hardly the case. (For example, I didn't appreciate good chocolate until a friend bought me a big box of it and after eating 2-3 pieces a day for a while did I start to appreciate its taste instead of the stronger simpler taste of cheap chocolate, which I also still like.) In another discussion it was mentioned how foods we like and need might be connected to our blood type, etc.
So yes, there might be an inherent taste with regards food, though still not completely, but that's also true about our opinions, or at least connected.

In fact, it's hard to even distinguish between our tastes and our opinions. Liking a movie is an opinion or a taste?


Still, I think people tastes often reveal more about themselves than their opinions. I remember reading somewhere Pauline Kael, the film critic, how she once went out with a guy, and when he told her he liked some movie she immediately stopped dating him. Even with my own friends, if there is a movie I especially like and they don't, I feel it reveals something about them; something more that what opinions reveal. Maybe because people are more careful in what opinions they voice but are unaware of what their tastes reveal.

Postscript (January 26, 2010 at 5:13 AM):
Found the Kitchen discussions mentioning your blood type influences what foods are good for you: post
I agree with you both. We are born with our tastes and cultivate our opinions. People whose tastes are part of their opinion will feel less criticized, because their taste has evolved and can stand behind a base of understanding and cultivation. Like you Arthur, how you developed and educated your taste buds to like that which is superior in good quality chocolate. In other words, opinions are part of one’s education while tastes show the origins. I think that even and especially the high aristocrats of La Rochefoucauld’s time would feel threatened by that disgrace “bad taste”, because there is always someone higher in the hierarchy to put you down as coming from “inferior origins”. Basically, only the king’s taste is perfect.
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Latest Post: January 27, 2010 at 3:27 AM
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