A friend of mine is coming to visit the US and as usual, the first thing that came to my mind is to look for a great place to eat.
I don’t have any specific diet. Some of my friends have very strict diet. Some of them have strong conviction about what they should eat or not. I respect that and when we eat together, I want to make something they love.
No, I don’t complain. No, I don’t think they are making everyone’s life harder. And no, I don’t want to debate wether their choice is right or wrong. I only care about what we are going to eat.
Because food is meant to be shared.
“Partager”, sharing in French, comes from the latin “partes”, to make parts or portion, and “agere”, to do, to make or to grow.
In ancient Rome, “partes agere” is defined in the theater when somebody contributes to the chants.
Caeser, himself, made a clear distinction between “partes” (the party) and “divisa” (division).
The party is more than just a division of a certain, higher level, entity. The party is independent, lives and grows by itself.
As French, “partager” has always been one my fundamental values. And I spent many years to really understand its meaning.
Recently, when Uber or AirBNB are leading whats called the “shareconomy”, sharing becomes quite confusing for many people.
What does it mean exactly?
When I was about 12, I heard an entrepreneur saying that if he has only a cup of water, he’d probably keep it to himself. If he had a bottle, he’d share with his family. If he has a river, he’d share with the entire village.
I remember that many people strongly disagreed and, some people, hated him for saying this.
I didn’t know why exactly but I liked the idea.
Over the years, growing in a socialist country, I heard all the arguments about taxing rich people more and giving back to the community because “we must share”.
Obligation, to must, contradicts the very purpose of sharing.
When people tell that “we must share”, I don’t hear “partager” but “diviser” (to divide). In the case above, taxing somebody isn’t asking somebody to contribute but forcing somebody to pay. Plus, just taking from the rich to give to the poor is basically taking a portion of the money generated by someone to give to another one without doing, making or growing anything new together from it.
What I really like in the word “partager” is the notion of “growing together”and the notion of contribution.
In ancient Rome, when the word is used in the Theater, everyone has a part, a role, and bringing a clear value so the entire play exists, lives and grows. Without the rest of the party, the voice itself is useless, or at least not as important.
I think the reason companies like Uber and AirBNB are great is because they help people to work together, create new values together and do something beautiful together. They don’t force anybody to do anything. Instead, they offer people an option. They give the home owners a way to generate revenue by sharing something they own to solve a problem somebody else has. And if home owners don’t want to share, it’s OK.
What I found inspiring in what this entrepreneur pitched wasn’t the fact that he won’t share a cup of water. But that he decides to share the bottle and the river when no one forces him to.
Here I am before the restaurant menu. Looking at all these incredible dishes. I immediately see something I’d like to have. Unfortunately, my friend won’t be able to taste it.
I really want to choose something my friend will like. I don’t want to eat alone. I don’t want to eat something that he cannot taste. I want to share this moment because what we will create is unique.