3 out of 5 stars
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
We have just had a family stay with us for New Year’s Eve and part of that is us cooking for them and having conversations over a laden table. We have done this for over 20 years now and we have gone from being childless to five children, three of whom are adults. The act of providing food and friendship to family and friends is almost entirely opposite to the nihilistic experience which considers that everything is meaningless.
To share a table is to share a meal, but the meal goes a lot further than the physiological dimension of eating.
Esquirol has drawn from his years of work to present a reflection on the human condition that shows how intimacy and everyday acts can warm protect and guide us. He shows how we need the tangible, things we can touch away from the screen and that simplicity does not mean banality. Not every second of life is instagramable, there are moments that are better kept in the memory.
He explores many factors in this densely packed book. There are warning of the perils of navel-gazing, where nothing is to be found other than hatred, loneliness, despair rack and ruin. He explains that how we see others gives no indication as to how they feel and how looking in detail at the definition of health, asking if this means that we are all ill? Probably not but the very act of being close to someone is as useful as treating them medically. I did learn that the alternative meaning of to guard someone is to watch attentively and care for them. Equally startling to learn was that if we are to take away memory, love vanishes.
These day muttering doesn’t come from a lack of wine; in fact rather than a scarcity of anything these days, it comes from an excess of practically everything
I will be honest I have not read much philosophy in the past. And by not much, I mean none. So for me, this book at times was a struggle to read as just some of the basic concepts were challenging to say the least. That said there were elements of the book that I did like, but in particular, the discipline of really really thinking about a problem from all angles before coming to a conclusion.