It is the peculiar genius of the French to express their philosophical thought in aphorisms, sayings hard and tight as diamonds, each one the crystal centre of a whole constellation of ideas. Thus, the entire scheme of seventeenth century intellectual rationalism may be said to branch out from that single, pregnant saying of Descartes, ‘Cogito ergo sum’ – ‘I think, therefore I am.’ Resistentialism, the philosophy which has swept present-day France, runs true to this aphoristic form. Go into any of the little cafés or horlogeries on Paris’s Left Bank (make sure the Seine is flowing away from you, otherwise you’ll be on the Right Bank, where no one is ever seen) and sooner or later you will hear someone say, ‘Les choses sont contre nous.’ ‘Things are against us.’
from a trip to the country. On Friday night the “season” began in earnest, but all of us seemed to be preserving our energies, or perhaps recuperating from all the Resistential dinners that led up to this one (which was, in truth, no Resistential dinner – despite most of us being present). Every weekend between now and early January is booked for some event or other, starting with this drive to have dinner in the place of my childhood, named after pumpkins.