The Stultifying Inertia of “Normal”

Cambridge Dictionary

have your cake and eat it (too)

to have or do two good things at the same time that are impossible to have or do at the same time:

You can’t have your cake and eat it – if you want more local services, you can’t expect to pay less tax.


You can’t have your cake and eat it

You can’t have your cake and eat it (too) is a popular English idiomatic proverb or figure of speech. The proverb literally means “you cannot simultaneously retain your cake and eat it”. Once the cake is eaten, it is gone. It can be used to say that one cannot have two incompatible things, or that one should not try to have more than is reasonable. The proverb’s meaning is similar to the phrases “you can’t have it both ways” and “you can’t have the best of both worlds.”

For those unfamiliar with it, the proverb may sound confusing due to the ambiguity of the word ‘have’, which can mean ‘keep’ or ‘to have in one’s possession’, but which can also be used as a synonym for ‘eat’ (e.g. ‘to have breakfast’). Some find the common form of the proverb to be incorrect or illogical and instead prefer: “You can’t eat your cake and [then still] have it (too)”. Indeed, this used to be the most common form of the expression until the 1930s–1940s, when it was overtaken by the have-eat variant. Another, less common, version uses ‘keep’ instead of ‘have’.

Choosing between having or eating a cake illustrates the concept of trade-offs or opportunity cost.


I’ll make a suggestion, and this is that the bulk of humanity is afflicted, to an extent, by the above syndrome, it wants to have its cake and eat it too.

What do you think do many people want to keep “their” precious cake and eat it?

A version of this is playing out in UK politics at the moment. Old people want to keep their capital, tied up in houses, and get “free” social care. They do not want fully means tested social care provision. A million quid house could pay for a lot of social care.

It seems reasonable to some that the old and rich get subsidised by the young and poor. It is a bit of a con…

If you look at the post two previous , seventy years ago, just after a truly massive world war, the Tibetan was hoping for a brighter less materialistic future. His hopes have not materialised. We are more materialistic than ever and now there is also a vast swath of the population obsessed by the plasticity of image.

Not only must we consume we must be seen to consume and in ultra-HD.

Over the last 18 months or so I have heard many, on the TV, say that they want to get back to “normal”. Let’s get back to status quo ante. But you can’t!! You cannot step into the same river twice and whether we wish to believe it or not the world will never be the same again even if there is a post-Covid time.

Trying to be normal is trying to remain stuck inert and unmoving. It aspires to be average. What were we before the pandemic? We were complacent and ill-prepared for a pandemic. Do we want to go back to this complacency?

People do not want climate change, but they also want to keep their highly materialistic and “normal” lifestyles.  Is that not another example of wanting to have cake and eat it too?

It is normal to demand a sunshine air miles holiday. When they change the travel traffic light list the great British public complains.

Do you want to have foreign travel and no imported coronavirus mutants? Cake?

It is not fair mummy; I can’t have both the things I want!!

There is a vague hope that technology will find an answer to climate change. Humanity has ingenuity, so it might help the problem.

Climate change is caused by materialism. It is not simply the fault of big companies, nor countries. It is OUR fault for being so materialistic. Herein lies the cause and perhaps the seed of a solution.

The economic paradigm of continuous growth upon which many western economies are based is illogical. Why? Because the planet is finite. This means that it simply cannot sustain continued growth ad infinitum.

Unless we curtail our consumerism in the light of an ever-increasing population something will pop. I don’t need a crystal ball to see this, nor do you!

 It is not a case of IF rather a case of WHEN.

Do you want to have the very latest smartphone, foreign travel and no global warming?

Is this a very normal aspiration in our times?

Cake, cake, cake