We move in only one direction. We need not move (though you will see there is good reason to desire the movement I discuss). And we move by understanding.
With all thy getting, get understanding. – Solomon
Increasing our understanding in any way or area causes us to move… in the same direction as everyone who has gained that understanding.
An obvious example of this is taste (style, preference). Taste, if it moves, only moves this direction:
- From Subaru Imprezza WRX (which is a good car) to BMW M6 to Maybach
- From energy drinks <shudder> to proper coffee or single-cask, single-malt scotch
- From hip-hop music to KINK 101.9 or classical music
- From Hot Topic to bespoke shoes and Charles Tyrwhitt or tailored shirts of Egyptian extra-long staple, 2-ply, 170-point cotton (not in one step, of course!)
- From Amana or whatever is cheapest to Miele
- And yes, from any Windows PC (which gets the job done) to Apple
The movement is always gradual (as growth is), and any movement in the other direction is evidence of conformity or atrophy of will (which are the same). Any movement the other way is desperate or atrophic.
You must understand that I am talking about movement caused by new or increased understanding, which is worlds away from movement caused by conformity–which is entirely thought-less, for example: someone getting “into” wine because they want to fit in, or someone buying expensive clothes/cars/appliances out of an ego deficiency. That is different than someone learning, over time, about the vision and engineering that goes into a BMW–the 50/50 weight distribution, rear-wheel drive, independent suspension at all tires, cambered rear tires, the simplicity and precision of the controls, the design language of the brand, the finer materials, the engineering and expense required to get that much power and fuel efficiency out of same size engine found in other brands.
Sophisticated, expensive products cost more for good reasons. Certainly some premium brands are expensive for the name alone, especially in the clothing industry where little-to-no engineering or special manufacturing is required. But most of the time things cost more because they cost more (to produce). We are all familiar with the saying, “You get what you pay for.” Some may also be familiar with the phrase, “Poor people pay twice”, which implies that financial responsibility means buying quality.
Or stated another way: taste only moves with understanding, and it only moves in one direction.
The movement is entirely caused by knowledge. Once you understand why Miele applicances are better, you like them. Your taste has changed. You still cannot afford a Miele washer, but you no longer get indignant about how much more Miele costs than Amana. Understanding brings sophistication.
A supreme example is Apple. Even a cursory look changes our perspective (or taste). The clarity and discipline of their vision, design, engineering, and even financials is unmatched.
But this is not a treatise on taste.
This principle applies to everything; not only mere objects but priorities and topics of conversation as well, which function the same way: if understanding is increased, our priorities and conversations change, and in the same way as everyone who has increased understanding.
Certainly there are some who don’t change and many who don’t change much. That is fine. We do not change in the areas where we never add to our understanding. That is good and acceptable as well.
You must, however, understand that this happens and how it happens. And even that understanding will move you.