Mould in bread inspired this post. We opened a bag with two slices of bread left in it this morning and saw that the two slices of bread were mouldy. Since we’re not in the penicillin manufacturing business, we promptly discarded them as mouldy thoughts ran through my mind.
The word “mould” is also used to mean “shape” or “form” some material in a certain way in order to obtain a desired result. It is also used in the sense of shaping a desired future or outcome. With the mycelium spreading rapidly through my consciousness, two characteristics of mould came to me.
The first was that a mould tends to produce something rigid in form. We are familiar with plastic injection moulds, moulds for metals and other sorts of moulds that are used to produce parts, components, or even whole pieces of furniture like plastic chairs. The nature of the finished product is usually uniform and consistent, made only of one type of element or compound. If such a product is produced on a massive scale, it then becomes monolithic in nature, like igneous rock pillars or giant crystals.
Secondly, mould takes hold on stuff that is left in one place for an extended period of time. Whether it is bread or other foods, organic or inorganic matter, mould starts to grow when things are left out and unprotected for long. Of course, mould prefers organic substrates, but we have also seen mould growing on plastics and even concrete and metals. Leather becomes mouldy if left unprotected in one place for a while, too! The phrase “A rolling stone gathers no moss” comes to mind as well.
It seems to me that we ought to change our words and change our world. Stop using “mould” when describing positive, future-oriented outcomes for yourself. Don’t mould your children, and don’t mould character. In its stead, use the word “grow”. It’s much more organic, much more alive, and mould doesn’t quite grow on stuff that’s organic, alive and that is kept moving constantly. Otherwise your moulded masterpiece might grow mouldy rather quickly. I think you want better than that.