There are many deep philosophical questions that have nagged at mankind’s collective consciousness since time immemorial and will continue to do so in perpetuity. Is there a God? What is the meaning of life? How can we truly know right from wrong? In recent months, I have (along with the assistance of a friend) embarked on a truly groundbreaking probe into the inner workings of the human mind in order to answer two of these eternal questions – and not just to answer them, but to extrapolate from those answers some truly illuminating lessons about the nature of humanity.
I will now pose these two questions to you, dear reader. Please answer them honestly, and do so before reading the rest of this article. In each case, you are free to like both, but you must ultimately prefer one.
Question 1: Beatles or Stones?
Question 2: Pie or cake?
I propose that these two questions together – or rather, the answers to them – can form the basis of a bold and insightful theory about our fundamental human nature. I believe that there is a correlation between answers, and thus far my research has convincingly, if not overwhelmingly, borne that out. A majority of those surveyed in my extremely casual and wildly unscientific polling have chosen either Stones/pie or Beatles/cake.
What does this mean? Why this correlation? And what does it tell us about ourselves? Slow down there, Dr. Schweitzer – I told you I’m just embarking on this probe. But the rough sketch of my theory thus far dictates that the correlation of these choices represents two broad but distinct personality types. Think of the way the bands and desserts themselves correspond:
The Stones are all swagger, energy and attitude – pure, unadulterated rock ‘n roll. They take the raw ingredients – blues, country, rockabilly, boogie, sweat, spit, blood and dirt – and combine them into something greater than the sum of its parts, but still distinctly, unmistakably of its parts. This is much like pie, which still requires some of the alchemical, transformative fuss of baking – particularly in the making of the crust – but is much more similar to straight up cooking than most baked goods. Both pie and the music of the Stones are ultimately about letting the natural flavor of the raw ingredients shine through all that is done to manipulate them.
The Beatles, on the other hand, are more cerebral and transcendent. They employ many of the same ingredients, borrow from many of the same sources as the Stones, but rather than embrace and translate that raw essence, they seek to create something new and heretofore nonexistent. Their music is intended not just to be greater than the sum of its parts, but to make you forget its parts entirely and instead experience it as a wholly original entity. This is much in the same way that a baker takes things like eggs, flour, sugar, water, etc. and transforms it into something that resembles none of those things – a cake that tastes like cake, not the materials used to make it. The flavor comes not from the ingredients, but how they’re transformed.
So what does all this say about the people who choose these pairings? And what of those who don’t? Back off – I’m just starting to flesh this thing out. But think about it. Discuss. Poll your friends. Email your answers to us or post them to facebook.com/providencemonthly. I will run them through my supercomputer, test them in clinical trials, preview them for my focus groups, consult the Oracle at Delphi about them and administer them in pill form to an experimental group (the control group will of course be given a placebo) to see what can be learned.
Oh, and by the way: Stones. Pie.