“The woman who makes a dog the centre of her life loses, in the end, not only her human usefulness and dignity but even the proper pleasure of dog-keeping. The man who makes alcohol his chief good loses not only his job but his palate and all power of enjoying the earlier (and only pleasurable) levels of intoxication. It is a glorious thing to feel for a moment or two that the whole meaning of the universe is summed up in one woman - glorious so long as other duties and pleasures keep tearing you away from her. But clear the decks and so arrange your life (it is sometimes feasible) that you will have nothing to do buy contemplate her, and what happens? Of course this law has been discoverd before, but it will stand re-discovery. It may be stated as follows: every preference of a small good to great, or a partial good to a total good, involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice was made.
Apparently the world is made that way. If Esau really go the pottage in return for his birthright, then Esau was a lucky exception. You can’t get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first. From which it would follow that the question, What things are first? is of concern not only to philosophers but to everyone.
It is impossible, in this context, not to inquire what our own civilization has been putting first for the last thirty years. And the answer is plain. It has been putting itself first. To preserve civilization has been the great aim; the collapse of civilization, the great bugbear. Peace, a high standard of life, hygiene, transport, science and amusement - all these, which are what we usually mean by civilization, have been our ends. It will be replied that concern for civilization is very natruraal and very necessary at a time when civilization is so imperilled. But if the shoe is on the other foot? - how if civilization has been imperilled precisely by the fact we have all made civiilzation our summum bonum? Perhaps it can’t be preserved in that way. Perhaps civilization will never be safe until we care for something else more than we care for it.
The hypothesis has certain facts to support it. As far as peace (which is one ingredient in our idea of civilization ) is concerned, I think many would now agree that a foreign policy dominated by desire for peace is one of the many roads that lead to war. And was civilization ever seriously endangered until civilization became the exclusive aim of human activity? There is much rash idealization of past ages about, and I do not wish to encourage more of it. Our ancestors were cruel, lecherous, greedy and stupid, like oursleves. But while they cared for other things more than for civilization - and they cared at different times for all sorts of things, for the will of God, for glory, for personal honour, for doctirinal purty, for justice - was civilization often in serious danger of disappearing?
At least the suggestion is worth a thought. To be sure, if it were true that civilization will never be safe till it is put second, that immediately raises the question, second to what? What is the first thing? The only reply I can offer here is that if we do not know, then the first and only truly practical thing is to set about finding out.”
- CS Lewis, First and Second Things
If grandmothers around the world had a rallying cry, it would probably sound something like “You need to eat!”
Photographer Gabriele Galimberti’s grandmother said something similar to him before one of his many globetrotting work trips. To ensure he had at least one good meal, she prepared for him a dish of ravioli before he departed on one of his adventures.
“In that occasion I said to my grandma ‘You know, Grandma, there are many other grandmas around the world and most of them are really good cooks,” Galimberti wrote via email. “I’m going to meet them and ask them to cook for me so I can show you that you don’t have to be worried for me and the food that I will eat!’ This is the way my project was born!”
The project, “Delicatessen With Love”, took Galimberti to 58 countries where he photographed grandmothers with both the ingredients and finished signature dishes.
He acted as photographer and stylist during each shoot with the grandmothers, taking a portrait of both the women and the food they made for him.
From top to bottom:
Inara Runtule, 68, Kekava, Latvia. Silke (herring with potatoes and cottage cheese).
Grace Estibero, 82, Mumbai, India. Chicken vindaloo.
Susann Soresen, 81, Homer, Alaska. Moose steak.
Serette Charles, 63, Saint-Jean du Sud, Haiti. Lambi in creole sauce.
The photographer’s grandmother Marisa Batini, 80, Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. Swiss chard and ricotta Ravioli with meat sauce.
Normita Sambu Arap, 65, Oltepessi (Masaai Mara), Kenya. Mboga and orgali (white corn polenta with vegetables and goat).
Julia Enaigua, 71, La Paz, Bolivia. Queso Humacha (vegetables and fresh cheese soup).
Fifi Makhmer, 62, Cairo, Egypt. Kuoshry (pasta, rice and legumes pie).
Isolina Perez De Vargas, 83, Mendoza, Argentina. Asado criollo (mixed meats barbecue).
Bisrat Melake, 60, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Enjera with curry and vegetables.
ambedo n. a kind of melacholic trance in which you become completely absorbed in vivid sensory details—raindrops skittering down a window, tall trees leaning in the wind, clouds of cream swirling in your coffee—which leads to a dawning awareness of the haunting fragility of life.
One day I was visiting another city and decided to go talk with an old friend of mine, Chris. I wanted to ask him about marriage and his experience with it since he was older and had been married to his wife for quite some time now. I was in a new relationship myself and I figured he had some pretty good advice to give.
I met him at a little cafe in the middle of the city as per his request and we exchanged formalities as I sat down across from him. He smiled and asked me if I wanted to drink anything. I said I was alright, but he told the shop owner to get me a glass of water anyways.
“So, what brings you here today?” He asked enthusiastically.
I paused a bit for dramatic effect, and then said, “Well, nothing much really, just thinking about relationships and such… Specifically, I wanted to pick your brain about marriage actually.”
“Ah, marriage. Ye olde institution,” he chuckled to himself. “What would you like to ask me. Don’t be afraid to be specific.”
I thought for a moment, digging up the curiosity in my brain. As I was thinking, the shop owner brought out the water and I took a sip before I started my question, “What was it like… you know… giving yourself fully to your wife for the first time? Was it fulfilling knowing that you could be so free with one another finally?”
I sat on the edge of my seat eager to hear the how the beauty of marriage would play out.
Chris sighed and looked out the window, “Actually, to tell you the truth… we never consummated our marriage.”
That was not the answer I was looking for. “Wait, what?”
He turned and looked directly at me, “We did not have sex after we got married.”
I sat stunned for a moment and after a second of shocked silence I sputtered out, “Well, you’ve got to be joking… I mean, I know marriage isn’t all about sex, but isn’t sex one of the greatest joys to be shared with your spouse?”
He sighed again, “Yes it is. Sex is a beautiful thing. But my wife… she didn’t feel like having sex that night after we got married.” He let out a sad half laugh and said, “She went out to party with her girlfriends instead.”
I stared at him incredulously. “Are you kidding me. This is not true.”
He put on a smile full of sorrow and said, “I’m not kidding, and it is true. I stayed in our honeymoon suite alone that night.”
Something needed to be cleared up. “Okay, seriously, so what exactly is your relationship with your wife? Does she even like you?” I was beginning to think that coming to him for advice was not the best idea. That maybe he got set up in an arranged marriage that went awry or something other.
But his eyes twinkled, and he lit up a bit as he answered my question. “It’s a bit complicated, but I suppose you deserve to hear it now that you heard this much. I’ve always loved my wife. Always have, and always will. I wooed her daily with presents and gifts, and wrote letters to her every week. I would take her on adventures, to see the world and its sights. I would talk about everything that she wanted to talk about, ask her questions about her life, and whenever she was hurt I was always there to listen. I cared for her so much and I spent all of my time and energy pursuing her with all my heart. If she had a need, I was there to fill it. She’s the love of my life, there’s no denying that. No denying at all. But… the same can’t be said about me from her end. I guess even by meager standards, she was always only half interested in me. She never really bought me gifts, and she would rarely respond to my letters. When she did say that she loved me, it was always more of an obligation to keep a relationship going than out of a genuine desire of loving me. Even the adventures I took her on became a burden to her, and eventually she would just give excuses like she was too busy, or she was out with friends, or that adventures were too expensive, etc. It didn’t get better after our marriage either. I was always asking to spend time with her, trying not to be too pushy, but she was always busy out with her other friends and sometimes other guys as well. I saw her less and less every day, every week, every month… I don’t know if you know this but I haven’t seen my wife for years. She left one day saying she was meeting some friends and then she never came back. I still text her daily asking her to come back and that I love her, and thank goodness she still texts back once in a blue moon to say hello. She texted me once and told me that she missed me. That was probably the most genuine response I’ve gotten from her yet. I ask her in every text to meet me here at this coffee shop, so this is where I sit everyday waiting for her to come back. So that’s actually why I asked you to come to this coffee shop. Who knows, she very well might show up, so I don’t want to miss it. But anyways, that’s a small glimpse into our relationship.”
Relationship? This barely clears the bar for “acquaintance,” I thought to myself. I looked at Chris looking into his half drunken coffee cup, like he was looking into a better future. I couldn’t help but feel a deep feeling of sadness come over me. Here was this man pouring his heart out for another woman. He was the perfect guy too: handsome, tall, talented, caring, loving. And this woman had basically zero regard for him. I would probably consider her ignorance as borderline sadistic, and his persistence as borderline masochistic. But they were both lunatics I concluded. Chris for staying committed and the wife for never coming back. It was like a badly written soap opera with no ending.
I found myself staring at my water at the end of my thought process and when I looked up I was a bit startled to find him looking coldly at me. “You’re probably thinking that she won’t come back, correct?”
I was taken aback by the abruptness of the question. I stammered, “W-Well, I mean it just seems like, well, y’know-“
“She’ll come back.”
The certainty of his voice silenced me. He looked out the window again and a warmth and a twinkle returned to his eyes, and his lips curled into that familiarly sorrowful smile. It was a tragedy, and I felt sad for him, but at the same time there was a beauty amidst all of this. I have to admit, I’ve never encountered a love as persistent as his in circumstances as dire as his. It was a beauty made pure by the harsh conditions it was cultivated in.
As he brought the coffee up to his mouth I sensed it was time for me to go. We exchanged formalities again, and I thanked him for sharing and told him I would drop by next time I was in the city. I left him at his table and before I stepped out of the little cafe into the busy streets, I took one last glance at him sitting calmly and waiting. And I prayed with all my heart that the one he was waiting for would come back soon.
Startups are run by people who do what’s necessary at the time it’s needed. A lot of time that’s unglamorous work. A lot of times that’s not heroic work. Is that heroic? Is that standing on a stage in a black turtleneck, in front of 20,000 people talking about the future of phones? No. But that’s how companies are built.Twitter Board Member, Jason Goldman