One of the greatest tricks that governments, religions and corporations have in common is to play with semantics. We are familiar with George Orwell’s book 1984, and the fictional “new speak” that played out as the sub-plot of the story. Where the government in the story devised a new language that purposely changed the meaning of old words into different, often intentional asymmetrical new meanings to fit whatever mandate it had. We see it today in our governments: especially the neoliberal genre that toys and mimics public offices and brings bureaucratic instrumental justification.
I, as a conscious consumer and individual, approach these three social arenas: governments, religions and corporations: with a great deal of skepticism. We are all aware that each of these intuitions who have power; bend the general meanings of words, ideas and science, (especially semantics) to fit their ideology and flavour of the moment. For me, the most hideous play on words, the ultimate insult to wreak havoc onto society are the coffee shops that dot our sidewalks and malls throughout. Here in lays the greatest threat to consumerism of our time! For here is the testing ground of organized social manipulation.
What is a cup of coffee these days? Perhaps, as we stand in line at our local cafe and smell the wonderful aroma of coco-beans and cinnamon, we forget that right in front of us, the greatest illusion is at play. We are all to aware of the “name game” with cup sizes. We are also all to familiar with the price increases that climb upward in steady increments. But what we don’t see is the trickery behind these sales pitches? There is a third dimension that lurks underneath the fabric of space and time, and like the Matrix, one only needs to ask the question to find the answer.
The empirical evidence I have shows that not only have cup sizes changed names to lure the masses in excepting the changed value of the commodity, but also, the actual size: both in weight, density and volume of consumption. In fact, the deniablity of evidence from the one shop owner that I confronted was a little more than what I anticipated! My evidence was: one of the original cups that the shop gave me when it first opened 4 years before. I simply measured it’s physical properties and compared it to the newly outfitted serving cup they have now. With one sweeping move, the names, costs and values of these coffee cups all changed, yet the shop owner denies that the value of the product has changed! It is all in a name…