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Friday, May 20, 2011

Cheese – A Philosophical Approach


Now there are many things in this world that are not cheese, and – for all I know - you may be one of them. I mean just because you are a yellowish lump and you enjoy sitting around on the shelves of the fridge does not – I know only too well – necessarily mean that you are cheese.

Of course, this is a problem that has puzzled philosophers and perplexed scientists for many centuries, most notably since the Greek philosopher Hexagon tried too eat a tasty bit of sulphur he’d found on a shelf during a party at the Greek Philosophy club to celebrate Pythagoras’s exciting new triangle.

Immediately, well, just after spitting out the sulphur, he convened a symposium where all the philosophers present put down their drinks and young boys and immediately started pondering what has henceforth been known as the ‘Not Cheese Phenomenon’.

Descartes many centuries later had the same problem when living in Holland, when what he’d hoped was a rather runny camembert turned out to be a bottle of advocaat.

Progress was made however, by Scottish philosopher David Hume when he proved conclusively that not only was cheese not custard, conversely custard was not cheese, although they did share a common milkiness. This paradox had fooled many a philosopher up to that point, including Kant who had once tried to pour a portion of Tilsit over his apple crumble one day.

In the twentieth Century however, progress was made in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge when Ernest Rutherford discovered the cheese particle when firing a stream of alpha rays at a wedge of Double Gloucester.

The discovery of the cheese particle changed forever the whole philosophy and science of cheese, from that moment on it became possible for someone with a cheese particle detector to say with 78.9% accuracy whether or not that yellow lump in the fridge was indeed cheese. This brought about the end to several thousand years of human philosophical speculation about the true nature of cheese, while at the same time opening up a whole new branch of scientific and technological possibility that we – even now – nearly a century after Rutherford’s great breakthrough are only just getting to grips with.

For example, scientists - only in the last few years - have completed work on an experimental cheese fusion reactor that could solve the world’s energy needs completely once the theoretical principles of cheese fusion have been worked out in a practical setting. At the Cheese Experimental Facility on the French/Swiss border cheese scientist are attempting a fusion of French and Swiss cheeses at the speed of light. This, according to theory, should produce enough power from a portion of brie fused with a slice of Emmental to provide enough electrical power for an area the size of Wales with no carbon fallout and only a small number of cheese crackers consumed in the process.

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