“You’ve got to go to ______; they make the best burger in town! It’s incredible!”
“Oh, you got the ____? Yeah, you should have gotten the ______, that’s awesome. You didn’t get the real ______ experience, so it makes sense you weren’t that impressed.”
Trust me, it isn’t at the Corner Bistro
You’ve had this conversation. We all have. And because I’ve had this conversation so many times (and have eaten so many burgers in so many restaurants in so many cities in so many states), I’m a bit of a Doubting Thomas when it comes to food recommendations. It’s not that I don’t believe it it’s a good burger, I just highly doubt it’s really /that/ special. I’ve been underwhelmed by too many oversold burgers that are perfectly good burgers.
This is a consequence of many things:
- Our culture’s affinity for superlatives, which largely arises due to our belief that nothing is good enough unless it is better than everything else
- Our obsession with having an opinion (this is practically a religion– unless you have a favorite, a stance, a strong opinion, you must not care, and apathy is always the enemy)
- Our desire to “win” (I’m a better friend/person because I introduced you to_____)
- Our inexplicable need to rank /everything/
Because I generally despise superlatives (it is very rare to hear me say anything is the best, favorite, etc), I have learned to pretty much doubt and ignore. I’ll still go to the restaurant if I don’t have somewhere else I want to go, but I’ll have no expectations whatsoever relating to the quality of the burger. I tend to have the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it mentality (clearly I spent too long in Missouri); my expectations are mediocre.
But I don’t think I’m alone in this, though. While we as a culture may not be openly antagonistic towards the opinions and recommendations of others, we tend to discount them as perspective and opinion alone.
And we don’t just do this with food. We do it with movies (you aren’t going to believe that Jurassic World stands up in quality to a true Crichton classic just on /my/ say-so, you’ll wait to see it yourself–which you totally should, by the way). We do this with TV shows and books. We do this with sales (“Is it really /that/ good of a deal? Let me look at it”) and sports events and YouTube videos of Keyboard Cat. It’s more than just wanting to experience it for ourselves; it’s more often a desire to /prove it/ to ourselves, and we believe we are the most capable person to make that distinction between what is true and what is untrue.
It’s in our human nature to question and doubt. Faith does not come easily to us. Even young children do not trust freely. Fortunately, our Heavenly Father loves freely and is willing to prove himself to us. Over and over again.