A pink taxi

A pink taxi

October 7, 2012

Rousseau Le Genevois

At the bookstore, I didn't find Rousseau under R with Rabelais and Rahimi. I asked, with shy hesitation, lest I seem like I am asking for the most obvious cliche: "madame, where can I find JeanJacques Rousseau?"

The book keeper sighed with deference at my ignorance: "Swiss literature section my dear!"

As you can see, Geneva is proud of Jean Jacques Rousseau. I have pointed to his statue when my kids and I cross the footbridge with his name, on bikes, over the Leman lake. Thus, my kids have heard about the philosopher before reading his texts.

On the occasion of his 300 birth anniversary, I took the eldest to a play that celebrated JJR the botanist,philosopher,writer and political theorist. As we rode our bikes to the park where the play took place, I shared my own knowledge of the thinker. "He wasn't a sculptor and artist as well" asked my son, now recognisant of the Michael Angelos and the DaVincis of this world.

I reminded him of the Confessions, one of the earliest autobiographies. I also told him that JJR was a humanist, that he developed the concept of citizenship. He was also religious but he despised institutionalized religion and preferred to find God through his meditation in Nature. He was a walker and an amateur botanist and this play would be interesting because it address the writer in the context of a walk with the actors through the park, by night!

The park's doors were thus locked behind us as we strolled "after-hours". It felt like we were intruders at Night at the Museum, only this museum was open-air. The small crew of actors walked with torch lights and led the way. Five scenes were prepared, of which a wonderful one, reminiscent of a Fragonard or Watteau painting!

I learned many small details about the life of the writer. I listened to some of his texts recited and I better understood his philosophy. They explained his rapport with his city Geneva, which maltreated him in his old age. Geneva today, while very proud of the prodigy, remains critical of JJR, pointing to his over-sensitive nature, or to his sexism as he wasn't fair in the realm of female education.

My 12 year old caught on most of the play, didn't complain at all (kudos to him for his patience) and credit to the acting that kept him attentive. As we sat listening to poetic recitations, it began to rain. Neither the actors, nor the audience flinched as my son and I wondered if we should leave. They were caught up in the story of their ancestor. Being in touch with nature is certainly a piece and parcel of Swiss culture.

Most important was the renewed idea of the Renaissance man, in the XVIII century: Rousseau believed in a well educated person, a well rounded one, interested in the arts and sciences, fascinated by the theoretical and immersed in the practical. It is up to us to look for answers in Nature, walk in the gardens, which is also an athletic pursuit.

I share his philosophy and introduced my children to it this summer of Rousseau celebration.


  1. Hello my name is Clara i'm from USA i want to testify of a great and powerful spell caster my husband left me and the kids for 2 weeks when i called him he didn't pick up when he came back home the 3rd week he told me he wanted a divorce i was so sad i cried all night he left again i was so lonely the next day i was searching for something online when i found a spell caster called Priest Dr Ogudugu who have helped so many people with their problems so i contacted him with my problems he told me it will take 24hrs/48hrs and my husband will be back to me i did every thing he told me to do and the next day my husband came back kneeling and begging he canceled the divorce, we are now happy together Priest Dr Ogudugu can help you too Email him at greatogudugu@gmail.com https://greatogudugu.wixsite.com/website


  2. نقل عفش الكويت شركة نقل عفش الكويت
    فني صحي الكويت فني صحي الكويت
    شركة تسليك مجارى الكويت شركة تسليك مجارى الكويت
    سباك الكويت سباك الكويت

  3. krasnodar-hot.pro Спасибо что делитесь нами!