The phrase that popped into my head this morning on the drive into work, and came up later in the day during conversation with a friend. “Have one’s cake and eat it, too”. The variety of meanings are numerous, yet they all mean the same thing. You can’t have it both ways or you can’t have it all; but that had me wondering: why not?
Did the phrase come about due to self-flagellation and the guilt-ridden consciences of Christendom? Did humans, namely the Europeans, beat themselves up so much that actually enjoying the cake they possessed became an impossibility?
So, why can’t you have your cake and eat it, too? One theory, and a literal explanation, is that if you eat your cake, you no longer have the cake. The cake becomes, in essence, a non-renewable commodity. But why? Let’s break this down even further and take it down to an example of being in the kitchen, with a cookbook, and you want cake. You have the flour, butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, etc. You have the recipe. You have the instructions, the bowls to mix it, the utensils, and the pans to bake it. You even have the frosting. You follow the recipe, mix the batter, and follow the instructions. The cake finishes baking, its cooled off, you frost it and put it on its pedestal. Do you just sit and stare at it? Of course not! You grab yourself a plate, a fork and a knife and get yourself a slice and EAT your cake. You have it, and you’re gonna eat it. You also have to have a glass of milk with it (or at least a coffee).
So, you enjoy your cake, and come upon the empty pedestal, and you’re craving more cake. You’ve already made one, you have all of the ingredients and the equipment. Why can’t you make another?
And so it goes. Yet, why do we continue to tell people they can’t “have it all”? We all have the recipe and instructions, and we all probably have the ingredients and equipment. Are old adages keeping us from achieving our full potential and all we desire?