Reality vs. Dualism: Raw or Pasteurized Dairy

“There exists a tendency to see all dairy foods as being either raw or pasteurized.  Like most dualistic concepts, this is a oversimplification, and there exists a rainbow between black and white.  If we want to move beyond what is actually a legal definition, to understand how different ways of processing milk impact the microbiology and nutritional value of dairy foods, we need to transcend this dichotomy.  Drawing hard lines and fighting over which side one is on, is the task of fools.  There is hyperbole, ignorance, sectarian childishness, and misinformation from both Pasteurian proselytizers and raw milk renegades.  I hope to show that there is a spectrum of levels of heating applied to milk that alter its microbiology in various ways. This microbiology is never static, and after the heating process, microbial communities continue to evolve and have new members join….

….My whole point is that placing cheese into a binary definition denies the complexity of microbiology, of life.  Maybe instead of trying to simplify everything and imposing a false sense of order on the world, we can embrace complexity and uncertainty, and humble ourselves in the process.  While simultaneously seeking knowledge, quantifiable data, and learning from other ways of knowing, of working with microbes to preserve food.”

-Trevor Warmedah, “Beyond the Raw/Pasteurized divide.” milktrekker.substack.com. September 18, 2022

Learned a lot about cheese and microbes in this brief blog post, but I think I like the larger philosophical point more. What’s true of cheese is true of pretty much every dualism. Dualism is the stripping away of nuance. You’re either for us or against us. Sociologically, it’s fine, I suppose. Dualism is creating a sense of group cohesion. But, as epistemology? Dualism isn’t truth. It’s fiction. And, this fiction has a tendency to shape our reality beyond our social ties.

Imagining Chapel Perilous

“Once you are in the Chapel [Perilous], Wilson insisted, there are only two ways out: as an agnostic, or a stone-cold paranoid. “There is no third way.”…

…Like so many drugs, the Imagination is both poison and cure, and we are not getting rid of that paradox any more than we are getting rid of pop paranoia or conspiracy politics or apocalyptic psyops. Living with Imagination does not involve the transcendence of pathology, but something more daemonic, more ironic, and also probably more tragic. The Imagination provides forms of sense-making that do not deny the chaotic disorders of our inner wilderness, and it nourishes us to the degree that we approach it as an ally to barter with rather than an overlord to slavishly believe or a “cognitive bias” to avoid.

—Erik Davis, “Wilderness of Mirrors.” Burning Shore. No. 8., August 25, 2020.