What is the purpose of a potato chip? What is its function? What defines a potato chip?
For the answer, we can turn to the wisdom of ancient Greek philosophers, and Aristotle in particular:
He argued that everything has a goal, which is its reason to exist. Many things and animals have something in common – but what defines them is what they have which is intrinsic and unique to themselves. For example: both birds and fish eat food, but a fish cannot fly and nor can a bird swim. Therefore, the function unique to a bird is to fly – so, a happy bird is one that can fly (so don't go putting birds in tiny cages
So, what about a potato chip? Well, it's clear, the purpose of a potato chip is to be a tasty snack.
First, it has to be somewhat filling (but not too much, it's a snack, remember): as an Irishman, I will of course need my occasional does of potatoes, so potato chips do the job well
What is the other function of a potato chip? It is to delight your five senses: touch, sight, sound, smell and taste:
: a potato chip should be light, with a delicate dusting of salt and flavourful goodness that adheres slightly to the fingers, providing extra delight when you lick it off (or let your dog lick it off, **after** you've done eating)
: a potato chip should gently recall the frying process, with crispy edges and an appetising colour.
: an undervalued aspect of a potato chip is its crunchiness – as you eat, you ears should be filled with crunching. If there's no noise, then it's gone soft and gross...
: as you open the packet, and bring a potato chip to your mouth, your taste buds should get an enticing foretaste of what is about to enter your mouth
And, last but not at all least...
You can choose from many types of tastes, and each person has their preference
the taste of the potato chip is the ultimate reward to the Aristotelian seeking the good life. Applying reason to the case in hand, he (or she) will recognise the telos
, the ultimate goal and justification of the potato chip as being in the taste. Is it a simple Salt and Pepper, or a complex and profound Curry Cha Cha
Whatever it is, don't compromise on the quality of a potato chip!
Don't every compromise on the quality of anything – because by always understanding the essence of things, and aiming for the highest goals, we are able to bring philosophy to our daily life, and walk with the ancients
(This blog post was composed for a contest organised by Nuffnang and Mister Potato - check out the links for more information.)