Alain De Botton Quotes
Alain de Botton, FRSL (/d??b?t?n/; born 20 December 1969) is a Swiss-born, British-based philosopher, writer, and television presenter. His books and television programmes discuss various contemporary subjects and themes, emphasizing philosophy's relevance to everyday life. At 23, he published Essays in Love (1993), which went on to sell two million copies. Other bestsellers include How Proust Can Change Your Life (1997), Status Anxiety (2004) and The Architecture of Happiness (2006)
Read more about this author on Wikipedia
The Arab-Israeli conflict is also in many ways a conflict about status: it's a war between two peoples who feel deeply humiliated by the other, who want the other to respect them. Battles over status can be even more intractable than those over land or water or oil.
I was foreign and Jewish, with a funny name, and was very small and hated sport, a real problem at an English prep school. So the way to get round it was to become the school joker, which I did quite effectively - I was always fooling around to make the people who would otherwise dump me in the loo laugh.
On paper, being good sounds great but a lot depends on the atmosphere of the workplace or community we live in. We tend to become good or bad depending on the cues sent out within a particular space.
There are people who say, 'Oh this guy is quite thick.' I think the reason is that, increasingly, I don't mind being simple in terms of literary expression. Others say, 'No, no, no. He went to Cambridge. He got a good degree. He must be Einstein.'
A city like London is sociable in a sense that there are people gathering in bars and restaurants, concerts and lectures. Yet you can partake of all these experiences and never say hello to anyone new. And one of the things that all religions do is take groups of strangers into a space and say it is OK to talk to each other.
It's very hard to respect people on holiday - everybody looks so silly at the beach, it makes you hate humanity - but when you see people at their work they elicit respect, whether it's a mechanic, a stonemason or an accountant.
The arrogance that says analysing the relationship between reasons and causes is more important than writing a philosophy of shyness or sadness or friendship drives me nuts. I can't accept that.
Status anxiety definitely exists at a political level. Many Iraqis were annoyed with the US essentially for reasons of status: for not showing them respect, for humiliating them.
I am not a foodie, thank goodness. I will eat pretty much anything. A lot of my friends are getting incredibly fussy about food and I see it as a bit of an affliction.
I assemble my ideas in pieces on a computer file, then gradually find a place for them on a piece of scaffolding I erect.
There are few more effective ways to promote tolerance between suspicious neighbours than to force them to eat supper together.
My greatest joy comes from creativity: from feeling that I have been able to identify a certain aspect of human nature and crystallise a phenomenon in words.
When work is not going well, it's useful to remember that our identities stretch beyond what is on the business card, that we were people long before we became workers - and will continue to be human once we have put our tools down forever.
Work is a way of bringing order to chaos, and there's a basic satisfaction in seeing that we are able to make something a little more coherent by the end of the day.
What bothers me is that there is so much emphasis on food, rather than gathering and meeting - so that there is all this effort in creating the right food, whereas the food is only a small part of whether the encounter is successful or not.