Disintegrated and Proud
“There is only one state that fulfills the mystic’s longing for infinity, non-causality, non-identity: death. No matter what unintelligible causes he ascribes to his incommunicable feelings, whoever rejects reality rejects existence-and the feelings that move him from then on are hatred for all the values of man’s life, and lust for all the evils that destroy it. A mystic relishes the spectacle of suffering, of poverty, subservience and terror; these give him a feeling of triumph, a proof of the defeat of rational reality…” – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Hippies and beat nicks were the modern era’s mystics. They were openly, proudly of the view that reality is whatever they said it was, and that they could do whatever they wanted to themselves without consequence (so long as others didn’t judge them) – and many of them suffered the consequences (eg: brains fried from drugs and other health problems, financial ruin, eventual emotional emptiness once the “party” stopped, or even death).
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of reality. Is reality real? Is it fixed or is it fluid? Is it logical or contradictory? These are the questions answered by metaphysics. Not all people consciously hold the same metaphysics (even though, subconsciously, because of the fallacy of self-exclusion, they do). This commercial is aimed at that (large) segment of the populations which would answer those questions with “no”, “fluid”, and “contradictory”, respectively.
The Waffle Taco is, at best, a non-descript product that could easily be substituted by plenty of other fast food offerings in terms of taste, nutritional value, and cost. It’s appeal is it’s novelty. The fact that it’s a bizarre, non-sensical combination of two unrelated foods. Nothing else. The old men in this commercial are incredulous about the Waffle Taco precisely because it reminds them of the changing metaphysical views of the culture they live in. They sense, inarticulately, just how much it is changed (from when they were young) when they observe something such as a taco with a waffle for a shell.
Of course, in reality, no one – not even old men who are disgusted by today’s culture – actually think that just because someone has a certain metaphysical code, and is therefore able to enjoy the notion of a waffle taco, is destined to become a pony tail wearing hippy. Real people (as opposed to caricatures of real people) realize that one’s metaphysical views can be mixed (ie: he can enjoy the idea that the law of identity need not be respected in one instance – a waffle taco – and yet be distrubed by it in another – when someone totally disregards the rights of others and the requirements of human cognition by interrupting a conversation to make an out-of-context demand). Real people realize that one’s subconscious ideas can clash with one’s conscious ideas, and therefore it isn’t necessary to fear that he will necessarily become a pony-tail wearing hippy (even though it is technically true that given enough time, a person’s conscious ideas will become his subconscious ideas and will cause him to make certain types of decisions about the course of his life).
Why are the old men in this commercial incredulous about the new, dominant metaphysical view? This commercial has an answer: because they’re crazy. In other words: anyone who holds any metaphysical views which differ from the prevailing views – anyone who thinks that reality is real, that certain fundamental facts are fixed and immutable, and that logic can illuminate all (even moral and esthetic decisions about things like drug use and hair style) – only thinks so because he is mentally ill. The old man makes a completely out-of-the-blue demand that his grandson dare “not grow a pony tail.” Most younger people (the people who this commercial is targeting) won’t realize that he says this because he grasps – again, inarticulately – the connection between the pony-tailed counter-culture of earlier decades and the arrival of the Waffle Taco in 2014. All they will observe is an old man interrupting a conversation by yelling, from across the street no less, a completely random comment (a clearly insane behavior – since it is tantamount to saying nothing at all, and only undermines the purpose of making it).
People who hold the metaphysical views which are complimented by The Waffle Taco need to believe that such people who are offended by The Waffle Taco are crazy. If not, then they would have to actually examine – and defend – the metaphysical views which make them enjoy such phenomenons. If they did, then they would realize that blurting it out in a fit of pique notwithstanding, the old man actually is right to claim that the approval of The Waffle Taco is tantamount to approving of the worst perversions and injustices which have eminated from the counter-culture over the last 50 or so years. They would realize that philosophically, there is nothing – in principle – which separates such a person from the most irrational and self-destructive “hippy” or “beat nick” (and therefore the old man’s fear about the pony tail is actually warranted, even if very poorly communicated).