Coke vs Oreo. Why Mess With A Mystery?

This week Kraft Foods made a big announcement. The iconic Oreo Cookie will now offer a triple-decker. At first look, just another food promo. But taking a second look, isn’t there a lesson here about the mystery of mystery…?

Unlike Coca Cola who a few years ago tried to IMPROVE the mystery of Coke’s universal appeal, the gang at Kraft simply decided to INCREASE their mystery another layer. Oh sure they could have finessed the ingredients or the portions, but why mess with a mystery? Why turn it into a problem-to-be-solved; instead just embrace it as a mystery-to-be enjoyed.

Modern scientists have wrought countless miracles (they prefer to call them solutions-to-problems) which is how the boys at Coke first saw their task. Only in the end, they gave up on their new product roll-out by simply sticking with the real, and original, thing. Kraft’s specialists smartly saved themselves the intermediate step.

In our everyday lives there are also problems to-be-solved (deficits, unemployment, terrorism. climate change). But perhaps even more so, mysteries to-be-understood. Mysteries like love…genius…beauty…courage. Not the kind of things that easily submit to testing under microscopes. Rather, things to behold, to embrace, to value exactly where and how you find them.

Behold the staggering passages of a Beethoven or Mozart symphony. The arresting power of a Van Gogh or the intoxicating colors of a Matisse. The soaring genius of a Shakespeare or the pained genius of a Tennessee Williams. The whiplash humor of a Jerry Seinfeld or a Chris Rock. Even the off-the-charts instinct of a manager sending in the unexpected pinch hitter or the untaught cornet riffs of a Bobby Hackett.

Then — mystery of all mysteries — behold the inexpressible mystery of the love you first felt and still feel for the ones you love.

You see, when Coke or Kraft or even Science proudly speak to us of the imperative human need-to-know, perhaps the greatest of these needs is our need to know that some things in our lives are not problems-to-be-solved, as much as mysteries to be lived….

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