My wishes for 2022
In the French language, it so happens that the following nouns are of feminine gender:
La vie (Life)
La vérité (Truth)
La liberté (Freedom)
La justice (Justice)
La souveraineté (Sovereignty)
La santé (Health)
La joie (Joy)
And of course…La Femme (woman), la Mère (Mother) and la Mer (the Sea)
But also: La Naissance (birth) and La Mort (death)
Finally, not to be forgotten: La France Exquise (Exquisite France)
At first glance, the first seven seem like the inventory of humanity’s most important values, each to be cherished without exception. The expression ”Cherish Her” swept over me as I strolled a few days ago along a beach in Brittany. It just felt like a fitting exhortation for 2022.
More than perhaps any year among those I have personally experienced on this planet earth, this one has me sensing that we are so very close to losing what we value and cherish the most.
What could I wish for us more than to recapture what we are at risk of losing?
We are losing our connection with the very life process that brought us all into existence, obsessed as ruling authorities have become with trying to control it. There is a terrible paradox here: under the banner “save lives” there is something that also opposes life. What I mean by life is not the maintaining of vital functions in a particular human body, but rather the fullness of living in all humans and other forms of life on earth. It is also an acceptance of death as part of the integrated life cycle. Whenever there is a collective attempt to eradicate ANY other form of life, there is a violation of life. Let those with ears hear.
Lies and mass manipulation have become so endemic and deep-rooted in all aspects of our society, that only fools can be entirely certain these days about what’s going on “behind the scenes”. Soviet-style propaganda has a nostalgic, “vintage” feel, compared to the seemingly decentralized but even more thorough and insidious dissemination of falsehoods via well-intentioned peer-to-peer “sharing”. I have yet to encounter a “peer” who is aware of disseminating lies or “misinformation”, even among those who have read the book “How to Lie with Statistics”.
I do not see any way out of this inextricable mess other than a rigorous routine of skepticism targeting any and all information being wielded as a coercive weapon.
Coercion, censorship, and slander (common currency of our times) are all enemies of Truth.
Where there is truth there is also freedom, and freedom fosters truth. Were such great wars fought in the last century only to preserve national sovereignty? Or was not freedom itself at stake? The enemy then seemed so blatant that no sea-faring soldier had to think twice. But now, with previously-cherished freedoms melting away like the snow in spring, what inviolable space of freedom is worthy of protection? Are we no longer free to think our thoughts, speak our minds, and decide how to dispose of our lives? No longer allowed to leave our homes without permission? No longer free to walk in the woods? Is it freedom enough (by comparison to a brutal dictatorship) that our lives are spared and our property rights maintained when we express an opinion that counters the government or “the consensus”? Are we free only to agree with the imminently intelligent and properly-informed majority?
As a corollary to freedom, we must remain free to make choices that govern our own life, even when such choices may have ill consequences for us. We are not free to inflict harm upon others, but what right should others have to decide what is right for us? There should be no meddling with free moral agency. It is non-negotiable, even in the face of a consensus of experts. If others are willfully self-inflicting harm, we should intervene, but if those same others believe they are doing themselves good, then we should respect their sovereignty.
We readily accept this principle when it comes to nation-states. The majority of nations on earth may be convinced that America should curtail its firearm rights, but the USA, like every other nation, demands sovereignty to determine its own destiny.
So it is with every human being, acting as the most elementary agent of free will.
What we have come to call a “health care system” is an institution for managing illnesses, many of which are produced by other aspects of our socio-economic system. For example, our consumer economy is based on mass pollution and degradation of natural resources, which in turn cause diseases. We could rather think of health as a natural endowment that we have only to cultivate and preserve. Knowing how to do this should be a greater priority than treating the symptoms of problems we create.
La Joie. Most of us have taken a big hit over the past year in terms of the frequency and intensity of whatever joy we feel. We can attribute this to a pandemic administration that has truly triggered great fear, anguish, and stress for so many. Joy, however, is a feeling that arises from within. No external factors can produce joy, and joy remains a possibility even in the hardest of times.
If I were to suggest joy to be the very purpose of life, you might not agree with me–except in that moment where such joy arises within you. At that moment, would you be willing or able to find any other purpose?
I would like to wish you all a taste of joy in 2022, to contrast with these anxious times. You are no doubt familiar with the French phrase “joie de vivre”. What’s the difference between joie and joie de vivre, you might ask? And what makes joie de vivre particularly French, not just in words but also in deed?
Whereas joie can remain something of an ethereal and unattainable virtue, joie de vivre speaks of a more down-to-earth state of being, arising in the simplest aspects of daily life. In France, (at least in comparison to the USA), there just seem to be so many more simple things to trigger one’s sense of joie de vivre: the yeasty smell of fresh bread, the corner flower market, the nine varieties of apples on display, the charm of a winding cobblestone village path…and one could go on and on according to the day’s inspiration.
Many of these simple things find their place in my book EXQUISITE: Facets of my France.
They are also the starting point for my business, EXQUISITE FRANCE, the ultimate purpose of which is to make the EXQUISITE a bigger part of my client's lives.
Cherish her (La chérir). Choose anything you’d like from the list. All of them are of the feminine gender, so the “Her” will always apply! Cherish a person, if you prefer.