Thursday, January 31, 2013

Paddling upstream on a river of hops

As one might imagine, paddling upstream on a calm waterway might not be too difficult but trying to drag a canoe the wrong way up rushing rapids is not only exhausting but also dangerous.  You're more likely to drown than make any progress.  One could say the same thing about new ideas in a river of convention.

Buddha said "An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea."  

I think that says more about the will of the individual and their conviction of their beliefs than the implementation of the idea.  Maybe Arthur C. Clarke struck a chord closer to ideas in real life; "New ideas pass through three periods: 1) It can't be done. 2) It probably can be done, but it's not worth doing. 3) I knew it was a good idea all along!"  

I think that sums up my experiences while instituting new ideas into the world of hop production.  On the surface it may seem somewhat egotistical but I think it speaks more to the actual conviction of one's beliefs while traversing those crazy rapids of "conventional" wisdom; about implementation.

So where is this going?  Have you ever known something so thoroughly, felt it to be true and balanced at a very basic level, yet been unable to explain it to anyone?  Frustration doesn't begin to explain the experience.  The only outlet is to demonstrate the this truth outside of yourself, allow the idea to evolve outside of the isolation of thought.  

Next thing you know this idea is now a physicality.  You can demonstrate the idea, understand the idea, others can witness the idea, yet the idea is so different from anything else even remotely comparable most people disregard it (Stage 1).  As the idea continues to bloom and evolve the demonstration of it causes the commentators from Stage 1 to become confrontational and reluctant to admit that this idea has some right to exist amongst convention (Stage 2).  If the idea is robust enough and sought after, nurtured, allowed to evolve without any preconceptions or misdirected passion it can reach something altogether different at which point it will be difficult to find anyone who patently objected it to begin with (Stage 3).

Convention is the current and paddling against it is very difficult.  The current is pulling against you at every single stroke making it a point to show you are acting against it.  Just give up and let it take you...why fight?  What if you saw something others have missed simply because they chose to "go with the flow" and ignore signs that there may be trouble ahead?

Yup...that's exactly what it feels like.  Good thing I have a strong back.


  1. Well said James. It's like home brewing. Keep tossing in another handful of hops and suddenly, folks think that mainstream commercial beers taste like dishwater.

  2. Something like that, Cobrarog. Perseverance in the face of adversary is not an each road...