To be shaken is to be wrenched from safety. It is to come unmoored from custom and habit. It is to be jolted.
To be stirred is – at most – to have a bittersweet moment. A moment that causes one to dab at one’s eyes with corner of a hankie.
To be shaken is to have undergone a seismic event.
To be stirred is to remain substantively intact.
To be shaken represents upheaval, to be sure, but is it not during times of greatest upheaval that we are tested, where we may emerge trembling and ashen, perhaps, but we by God emerge knowing what we are made of.
There is violence in any good shaking, to be sure. Shaking cannot be done with pinkie extended. Not so stirring.
“Shaken” is how you describe yourself – even months after the fact – when you gotta ditch out on your bike because a truck is suddenly making an un-signaled right turn in your path. Even THINKING about it amps you up and sets you quivering. When you tell the story, your throat tightens over the words and your heart rate jumps.
“Stirred” is the compliment you feel obligated to give the pastor in describing your tepid feelings about the dreary sermon he just droned his way through.
If your assumptions are stirred, they remain essentially undisturbed. If your assumptions are shaken, there exists the real possibility that the landscape of your outlook will be altered. Perhaps even in some fundamental way.
Shaken is the cannon fire in the 1812 Overture.
Stirred is your nephew’s French horn recital.
Shaken is the voltage delivered by defibrillator paddles. It is the power that penetrates to the core of you, that reaches inside your ribcage to yank you back from the brink – a power that in another age would have been denounced as witchcraft.
Stirred is the mild discomfort of the tongue depressor. It is the rudimentary blunt instrument delving no further than your scratchy throat.
Shaken is the most harrowing slide at the water park. Stirred is a piss-warmed kiddie pool.
To be Shaken by your attraction for another person is to STRICKEN by their beauty; to find them HEART-STOPPING in their allure.
To be Stirred by your attraction for another is to be at most inclined to make a booty call. If you’re hammered enough.
I’m not gonna lie. There’s a downside to That Which Is Shaken.
There are the byproducts of trauma. There is potential for grave injury. I’ll admit it.
There is, for instance, no STIRRED Baby Syndrome.
Stirring is a weak gesture, a languid one. It’s limp and diffident. The degree of agitation it causes is minimal. That’s why if someone is a gossip, they are stirring the pot, or stirring up trouble.
When you shake shit up, though, you are gonna change things for good. Whether an individual life, or a society, tectonic plates, or humankind overall – the only way to bring about transformative change, the only way that the chrysalis will split and the new creature can emerge, is by shuddering apart – by shaking to pieces and rebuilding afresh.
It is not by accident that Bond specified Shaken.
Stirring affords no such transformation, and never will.
But perhaps most tellingly, Shaken rhymes with bacon, you guys. Stirred, on the other hand, rhymes with turd.