Jonathan Safran Foer, Toni Morrison & Steven Pinker Cultivate Thought on Chipotle’s Cups and Bags

If you walk into Chipo­tle, order a drink, and look at the cup, you might see the fol­low­ing lit­er­ary text:


I took my heart out and gave it to a writer made heart­less by fame, some­one who need­ed it to pump blood into veins des­ic­cat­ed by the suck and roar of crowds slob­ber­ing or poi­son­ing or lick­ing up the red froth they mis­take for hap­pi­ness because hap­pi­ness looks just like a heart paint­ed on a valen­tine cup or tat­tooed on an arm that has nev­er held a vic­tim or com­fort­ed a hurt friend. I took it out and the space it left in my chest was sutured tight like the skin of a drum.

As my own pulse failed, I fell along with a soft show­er of rain typ­i­cal in this place.

Lying there, col­lapsed under trees bor­der­ing the man­sion of the famous one I saw a but­ter­fly bro­ken by the slam of a sin­gle rain­drop on its wings fold and flut­ter as it hit a pool of water still fight­ing for the lift that is its nature. I closed my eyes expect­ing to dis­solve into stars or lava or a bru­tal sequoia when the famous writer appeared and leaned down over me. Lift­ing my head he put his lips on mine and breathed into my mouth one word and then anoth­er, and anoth­er words upon words then num­bers, then notes. I swal­lowed it all while my mind filled with lan­guage, mea­sure, music, knowl­edge.

These gifts from the famous writer were so seduc­tive, so all encom­pass­ing they seemed to make a heart irrel­e­vant.

Oth­er cups and brown paper bags fea­ture short thoughts by Mal­colm Glad­well, George Saun­ders, Steven Pinker, Michael Lewis, and Sheri Fink, among oth­ers. The ini­tia­tive, dubbed Cul­ti­vat­ing Thought, was actu­al­ly the brain­child of nov­el­ist Jonathan Safran Foer (Every­thing Is Illu­mi­nat­ed and Extreme­ly Loud and Incred­i­bly Close). Years ago, he met with Chipotle’s CEO and posed the ques­tion: why not give peo­ple a lit­tle food for thought on your cups and brown paper bags? Just last week, the Cul­ti­vat­ing Thought Author series was launched, with Safran Foer serv­ing as its “cura­tor.”

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