Author(s): Francoise Heritier
If you assume an average life expectancy of 85 years, and deduct the hours we spend daily on sleeping, shopping, eating, working, tending to our relationships and on everything else that is obligatory, then how much time is left for the average person to enjoy those activities that are the sweetness of life? For Francoise Heritier, it is those activities, those moments, that make up pure sensuality, the actual experience of humanity. These are the moments we all cherish...wild laughter, phone calls in general, coffee in the sun, the bliss of fresh autumn evenings, running in warm rain, long conversations at twilight, kisses on the back of the neck, the moment when all nature falls silent...those times when you know that someone likes you, is looking at you and listening to you, cooking a complicated dish, feeling agile and sprightly, getting back together with friends you haven't seen in ages, watching a craftsman at work, really listening to other people..." There's still so much else that I forget", says Heritier, and over fifty pages she goes on to list, with heartwarming and heartbreaking specificity, all that we so easily miss if we do not attend to the lightness and grace in the simple fact of existence, life's sweetness. What about you, what would you miss if all this had to disappear from your life forever?
On first meeting her, one is struck by the way she combines gentleness with energy. A small woman with a fragile appearance for much of her life, she has suffered for many long years from a handicapping autoimmune disorder, which she faces philosophically while admitting with humour that she now avoids mirrors. She loves life too much to mope. She knows how to add a dash of gaiety to her misfortunes, has not lost a jot of her elegance, continues to delight her friends with her daube with carrots, is enchanted by Bach's harpsichord and by Chet Baker's trumpet. Francoise Heritier is basically optimistic. Without ignoring the world's misery, she is convinced that 'we live in a wonderful era' -- Michel Winock
Francoise Heritier, an anthropologist, is Emeritus Professor at the College de France and the Ecole des Hause Etudes en Sciences Sociales. She is the author of such highly successful works as Masculin/feminin and De la violence, translated into more than ten languages. Le Sel de la Vie is currently a French bestseller.