I just opened a new bottle of honey today for my tea – we buy it locally, from a beekeeper who also happens to be a science teacher colleague at the high school.
And I was reminded of why I love local, unpasteurized honey. He must have recently harvested a new batch – it tastes markedly different than the last several bottles. And of course it does! The honey is affected by what flowers the bees saw – different pollen means different honey.
And yet, if you buy a typical grocery store honey, you get a predictable flavor every single time. To my mind, it suffers from several flaws, but one of the greatest is its sameness.
Always the same is good for a corporation – they value the reliability, and strive to achieve predictable results. The advantage is, predictable is never terrible. Don’t you often choose chain restaurants while traveling? It’s because at least you know what you’re going to get, even if not the best.
But predictable is never perfect. Same is never unique.
Sameness might be valuable for a corporation, but it doesn’t work at the human level.
I’d rather occasionally have slightly bitter honey, in return for connectedness, distinctiveness, freshness.
I’d rather have a choir that reflects the individual sensibilities of the artists in it than hear another cookie-cutter version of a Whitacre piece sounding exactly like all the others. The art suffers when it isn’t personal, just as the honey suffers when it’s utterly homogenized.