Of Miracles and Coke Cans: A Signal Boost for Kevin Ashton

Albert Einstein wrote that “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

This is hammered home for me today by this technical but powerful piece by Kevin Ashton on how Coca-Cola is made. For most of us, this fifty-cent can of sugar-water is the antithesis of everything miraculous left in the world: our fairies, we have learned, live in old-growth forests and sup on dewdrops and local organic food. There is nothing miraculous about a cheap, mass-produced factory product we are brainwashed into consuming by a massive corporate marketing engine. Coca-Cola is The Man, man. The ultimate symbol of corporate greed.

And yet…and yet.

Look closer at all things. Read the inner stories of objects. Learn what you’re really buying for your fifty cents.

Sure, America’s soda pop addiction is a massive symptom, and a massive symbol, of consumerism and instant gratification run wild. But an even greater symptom of the mythless malaise is the regularity with which little miracles come into our hands, are thoughtlessly consumed, and are cast away with the trash, all without being recognized as miraculous.

As Lex Luthor also said, “Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.”

I don’t mean to come of as an apologist for consumerism and corporate junk food. But irrespective of these things, everything in the world is a miracle. And by reminding us of that with a can of Coke, Kevin Ashton places himself firmly in Luthor’s second camp.

Enjoy. I’m proud to offer a signal boost to an intriguing writer; I’m eager, now, to see what else he has to say.



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