Cogito ergo sum.
In the 17th century world of René Descartes, the proposition he put forth — I think, therefore I am — was a radical thought, setting the stage, as it did, for much of what we like to think of as enlightened western philosophy, navel gazing though it may be. After all, it posited the individual, I, as the centre of an admittedly confined but very important universe. It also freaked out the Church and was, therefore, of even greater import.
There is a bizarre moment in an even more bizarre film, The Tenant, where a very inebriated Roman Polanski wonders aloud about the relationship between the self and the corporeal representation of the self — one's body. He asks his totally disinterested companion, at what precise moment does an individual stop being who he thinks he is?
He proceeds to expand on this question. "Cut off my arm. I say, 'Me and my arm.' Cut off my other arm. I say, 'Me and my two arms.' Take out my stomach, my kidneys, assuming that were possible, and I say, 'Me and my intestines.' But now, if you cut off my head... would I say, 'Me and my head... or me and my body?'
"What right had my head to call itself me?"
I don't know the answer to that question and I've often wondered about it since seeing the film in 1976. And if I haven't lost you yet, I probably will when I tell you it really doesn't have anything particularly to do with this column. Meh.
Edo ergo sum.
I eat, therefore I am. Edo will never swing the philosophical weight of Cogito but on a day-in, day-out basis, it is a much more pleasant conundrum to cogitate, don't you think? I eat every day. I think about eating every day. And these days, I've found myself thinking about eating way more than I find myself eating.
I wasn't sure exactly why until one of my increasingly faulty synapses connected with the tiny bit of memory storing the dates for this year's Cornucopia. It starts today! And it runs 11 days this year! And now I've used up the rest of the year's allotment of exclamation marks... albeit all for a good cause.
When the muni's FE&A group — Festivals, Events and Animation — was casting about for proposals for an autumnal festival upon which to lavish RMI funds, my first thought was, 'We, already have a fall festival — Cornucopia. And when you get right down to it, what better things to fete in the fall than food and wine?
After a summer of dash-n-go eating, salads, burgers on the barbie, road food, deep-fried butter at the PNE — never tried it, never will, but obviously some do — and a handful of this, handful of that variety of nourishment, autumn is the time when people begin to think about food again in much the same way they think about other cold weather comforts.
I was explaining this the other day to a friend who seemed unusually enamoured with an admittedly comely waitress. While frequently an ogler, he is rarely wistful. I explained it was the time of year. "It's fall. It's getting colder. In autumn, a person's thoughts turn to comfort and nothing is more comfortable than knowing you have someone warm to slip into bed with on a cold winter's night. That's why so many relationships begin as the days grow shorter."
And nothing sublimates for a missing mate like a big pot of soup or stew simmering on a slow stove while the snow falls and the bedsheets remain ice cold. Might not be what you want but it's a whole lot more available and there's no need to compromise; you want tofu in your stew, go for it, you poor delusional fool.
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